California RV Park Offers Glimpse Into State’s Past

September 13, 2010
Filed under RV Parks

RVers typically stay at campgrounds and RV resorts in some of the most scenic locations in the country. But at Rancho
Los Coches RV Park
in Lakeside, Calif., camping enthusiasts not only have a chance to enjoy majestic oak trees and rugged California hillsides, but they can also get in touch with early California history.

Los Coches campground dog walkThe 142-site park is bordered by a river that still has rock morteros used by Native Americans to grind acorns and other grains. The park’s original ranch house “was a stop for the Jackass Mail and the Butterfield Stage,” said Bill Milligan, general manager of Rancho Los Coches RV Park.

The RV park is situated on the site of the smallest Mexican land grant in California, which Mexican Gov. Manuel Torena granted to Dona Apolinaria Florenzana in 1843, seven years before California became a state.

In those days, the property was part of a ranch that provided food supplies for the San Diego Mission. But Florenzana did not hang on to the property and it changed hands several times until it was acquired in 1859 by Perfecta and Wilbur Ames.

Los Coches logoThe Ames family built an adobe house on the property, which has been featured in several published accounts of early San Diego history. They also erected a rock wall and planted cactus plants around the property to keep their cattle in and to discourage garden thieves. The cactus plants and remnants of the 150-year-old rock wall can still be seen today, although the adobe house is no longer there.

Windmill at Los CochesA writer named W.W. Wheatley acquired the property in the early 20th century and built a self-sufficient home, complete with a windmill to generate electrical power and a water storage tank.

But when the property’s current owner, George Ramstead acquired the property in 1973, he refurbished the home and found newspapers inside the walls dating back to 1925, which discussed a controversy surrounding a woman who was about to be hanged in Arizona. “We couldn’t find other papers
indicating what happened to her,” he said.

For more information about Rancho Los Coches RV Park, call Milligan at 619-443-2025 and visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Content

Last 5 stories in RV Parks

Other stories that might interest you...


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Get a FREE issue of Motor Home Magazine

Sign up for your trial subscription and you'll receive a FREE issue. If you like Motor Home, pay just $19.97 for 11 more issues (12 in all). Otherwise, write "cancel" on the invoice, return it and owe nothing.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

© 2016 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.