To many eyes, Rancho Santa Fe is a very much new and contemporary neighborhood. Its territory is occupied by trendy homes, exclusive clubs and first-class amenities. While indeed the community possesses many displays of affluence and exudes a modern flair, it also has a rich history.
In recognition of the community’s past, the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society has sought to preserve that history through exhibitions, historic sites, special events and educational programs.
The RSF Historical Society’s official mission is, “to collect, preserve, research and interpret the documents, photos and artifacts that connect us to Rancho Santa Fe and its past.” Established in 1985, the society has hosted countless events and tours to recognize the importance of RSF history and share knowledge about an interesting past.
This Saturday, the RSF Historical Society will be hosting a lecture on “Kachina Dolls and Dances.” Native American expert Dr. James Kemp will be discussing the topic from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM on the 25th of October at the RSF Historical Society, located at the corner of Via de Santa Fe and La Flecha.
The land that Rancho Santa Fe now rests upon was originally occupied by Kumeyaay Indian communities. Saturday’s lecture will be a chance for residents of the community to learn about Native American culture and its relationship to the origins of Rancho Santa Fe.
The kachina dolls were typically carved from cottonwood root by the Hopi people. They were used to instruct young girls and new brides about the katsinas, the immortal beings that were believed to bring rain, control the forces of nature, and act as messengers between humans and the spirit world.
Kemp, who has been fascinated by Native American culture since moving to the Southwest, will be bringing some of his kachina dolls and pottery from his collection.
In the past years, the RSF Historical Society has also been able to engage in its past by acquiring physical pieces of it. Last month, the society revealed that it had acquired the ledger of Barton Millard, a founding member of the Rancho Santa Fe Association.
The RSF Historical Society delivered the exciting news at a Coffee on the Patio Event, where Millard’s grandson Pete Ragan discussed recollections of his grandfather.
The ledger is currently on display at the RSF Historical Society’s La Flecha House and headquarters.
If you are interested in learning a little bit of RSF history yourself, check out Saturday’s lecture, or sign up for the popular community tours. The tour starts at the home of the RSF Historical Society, and takes participants to many sites, including the Hilton House and The Inn.
Anyone interested in a self-guided may pick up a brochure during the RSF Historical Society’s normal office hours or visit the website. Guided group tours are also available for those who are less familiar with the area.
Whether you are just visiting or have been a local Rancho Santa Fe resident for many years, there is always the opportunity to take a step back in the past and learn about the community’s unique history.