Rancho Santa Fe
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known locally as ″The Ranch″, is one of the most exclusive and affluent communities in Southern California. It is one of the highest income communities in the United States with at least 1,000 households. The population was 3,117 at the 2010 census. It is primarily residential with one shopping avenue as well as several private schools, and single family residential areas situated on uncommonly large lots.
Rancho Santa Fe has many strict architectural design codes as can be exemplified by several attempts from local residents to improve upon or build new residences. Forbes reported Rancho Santa Fe as having the third most expensive ZIP code in the United States, and most expensive in California, with a median home sale price of $2,585,000.
In 1906, the Santa Fe Railway initiated a project of growing eucalyptus trees for railroad timber at the Rancho San Dieguito which constitutes present-day Rancho Santa Fe. At that time about 93% of the property was under one ownership, but the balance of the acreage was vested in a number of separate owners.
In August 1906, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company acquired the several tracts, taking title in its affiiliate, the so-called “Santa Fe Land Improvement Company”.
Additional small parcels were added including the original properties owned by the Mexican settlers of the area, the Osuna family who had been recipients of a Mexican Land Grant under Mexican rule of California called "Rancho San Dieguito". A survey in 1922 showed that the new land Company owned 8,796.23 acres.
Officials of the Santa Fe Railway needed satisfactory material for railroad ties, and since the Rancho San Dieguito could be supplied with sufficient water from wells and the nearby river, Eucalyptus seedlings were imported from Australia and planting began in January 1907.
While the Company planted about 3,000 acres, the experiment proved a failure.
A drought in 1912, followed by a severe frost in 1914, killed about 60% of the remaining trees and all seedlings. Experiments with redwood and other materials at other locations brought abandonment of the project in 1915, and eucalyptus planting was discontinued on Rancho San Dieguito.
While the experiment proved the eucalyptus lumber too hard for railway ties, the eucalyptus and additional planting of other non-native trees and shrubbery were seen as an enhancement to the environment of Rancho Santa Fe until the disastrous California wildfires of September and October 2007.
In the state legislature Rancho Santa Fe is located in the 38th Senate District, represented by Republican Mark Wyland, and in the 74th Assembly District, represented by Republican Martin Garrick. Federally, Rancho Santa Fe is located in California's 50th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3 -- that is, in recent presidential elections its voters have voted Republican somewhat more than the national average—and is represented by Republican Brian Bilbray.
Schools located within the Rancho Santa Fe School District:
In Rancho Santa Fe near gated community of Fairbanks Ranch (Solana Beach School District)
Rancho Santa Fe is located within the San Dieguito Union High School District which includes the schools:
Rancho Santa Fe has its origins as Rancho San Dieguito, a Mexican land grant made during 1836–1845 to Juan María Osuna (the first mayor or alcalde of the San Diego area). In 1906 it was sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, which renamed it after the second transcontinental railroad to reach California. As previously mentioned, the Railway planted extensive groves of eucalyptus trees in the hope of having a near-inexhaustible supply of raw material for the railway ties they needed to expand their Western American market. Eucalyptus wood, however, proved too brittle; unable to hold railway spikes. One Sydney Nelson, about whom little else is known, helped finance the purchase of the ten square mile plot, as well as the construction of a golf course (today the main course of the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club). Nelson also drew up rudimentary community plans.
Rancho Santa Fe gained popularity between World War I and World War II, especially following the construction of the Del Mar Racetrack. Bing Crosby is credited as an "early settler", hosting annual clambakes on the golf course at the Club. The present-day luxury tract home development "The Crosby Estates" stands on the site of his former estate.
In addition to many notable Hollywood figures (Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford) who played important roles in the founding and popularization of the resort town, Rancho Santa Fe has been the scene for a good deal of San Diego County's high social dramas. In March 1997, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult, committed mass suicide in a rented house at 18241 Colina Norte. Due to the publicity surrounding the case, the street name was changed to Paseo Victoria.
Rancho Santa Fe is in the 50th congressional district. Their representative, Randy Duke Cunningham, resigned from the House on November 28, 2005 after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004. Cunningham's corruption first came to light when he bought his Rancho Santa Fe house largely with the proceeds of the sale of his Del Mar home for an inflated price. He was replaced by Brian Bilbray in the 2006 elections, who beat Democrat Francine Busby.
The public library in Rancho Santa Fe is a branch of the San Diego County Library system, and is open to all California residents. The Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild owns the building and land that house the Rancho Santa Fe Library, as well as providing the staff for the children's room.