Connecting with history of a place

I’m having yet another experience where I’m struck by what was…and what is. I’m in southern California for a leadership workshop staying at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Not knowing much about this area of San Diego (except for the Heaven’s Gate suicides in the late nineties), I’ve been delighted being here.

The history of this place is considerable (more here). Out of all towns or cities in the U.S. that are 1,000 homes or above, this is the wealthiest per capita (so it’s pretty nice). On the Rancho Santa Fe association history page it sums it up nicely:

In 1906, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, through its subsidiary Santa Fe Land Improvement Company, acquired the majority of the original Rancho San Diegu to land grant. Through many of its actions, the Company was to leave an indelible mark on the Rancho. Intent on developing a tree farm as a source for railroad ties, the company planted millions of eucalyptus seedlings on the rambling land grant. Frost, drought and the unsuitability of the wood for ties led to the abandonment of the forestry experiment. However, the eucalyptus plantings forever changed the character of the area. What was once a typical Southern California terrace, sage scrub environment was now heavily wooded, rolling hills.

Looking to recoup their losses on the failed timber venture, the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company began the development of a planned community of gentlemen’s ranches with a thematic unity of architectural style and an ambiance evocative of the Spanish and Rancho eras.

The smell of the eucalyptus trees are incredible. That said, I’m struck by the change in the topography over the last 75-100 years (which was mostly barren before the millions of trees were planted) and how even an enclave as exclusive as this is still packed with people (and, curiously, there’s ubiquitous wifi throughout the Inn grounds which is complimentary…and fast).

Being here makes me wonder about where people will go to get peace, quiet, and connect with nature as the United States continue to add people and build over most areas. I’ve believed for most of my adult life that disconnectedness from natural surroundings causes dissonance and the lack of internal peace. Something to think about as we all rush headlong in to the future…

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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