Rancho Bernardo high school football plays San Pasqual next week
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Torrey Pines High School
Rancho Santa Fe (Spanish: santa—holy, fe—faith) known locally as ″The Ranch″, is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Diego County, California and an unincorporated bedroom community of San Diego County. With an estimated (2010) median income of $188,859, it is on the list of highest income communities in the United States with a population of at least 1,000. The population was 3,117 at the 2010 census, down from 3,252 at the 2000 census. The CDP is primarily residential with a few shopping blocks, a middle and elementary school, several restaurants and single family residential areas situated on primarily 1-3 acre parcels.][.
In 2011, Forbes reported Rancho Santa Fe as having the fourteenth most expensive ZIP code in the United States (down from second place in both 2006 and 2007), and fourth most expensive in California (most expensive California ZIP in 2007), with a 2011 median home sale price of $2,585,000. Some homes in ZIP code 92067 but not within the CDP are valued at more than the median home-value within the Master Planned Community that makes up the official CDP, and many people who live within the 92067 ZIP code cite their community as Rancho Santa Fe even though they do not live within the strict boundaries of the Master Planned Community known as "The Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe. The United States Postal Service (USPS) refers to all homes in the 92067 and 92091 ZIP codes, as well as many of the communities in the 92127 ZIP code, as "Rancho Santa Fe". In 2012, CNN Money / OnBoard LLC reported Rancho Santa Fe, with 96%, rated number one in the US ZIP code list of neighborhoods with the highest percentage of million-dollar homes.
"Rancho San Dieguito" as it was called in 1841, included 8,824 acres, and was acquired by the first political "alcalde" of San Diego, Juan Maria Osuna, under a land grant from the governor of Mexico, Pio Pico. In 1906 the Santa Fe Railway, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, purchased the entire ancestral grant of the Osunas thinking this would be good land to plant eucalyptus trees for railroad ties. The experiment of planting Eucalyptus trees for railroad ties came to a halt when it was determined that the wood was too soft to hold railroad spikes. In an attempt to recoup losses, the railroad formed the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company. The goal was to develop a planned community of country estates.
During 1917 through 1918 the Santa Fe Land & Improvement Company under the supervision of its president, W.E. Hodges, constructed a dam to capture the waters of the San Dieguito River and form Lake Hodges. Without ample water for irrigation, Rancho Santa Fe could never become a reality. A village plan was adopted, roads were laid out and properties were plotted. The 6,200 acres carved from the original "Rancho San Dieguito" land grant, was named in 1922, "Rancho Santa Fe." The company chose a San Diego-based architectural firm called Requa and Jackson, noted for their expertise in Spanish and Mediterranean architecture, to develop the master plan. Lilian Rice, an employee with the firm, worked from 1920’s through the 1930s designing, supervising, and constructing the village center, as well as several homes throughout the Ranch. Her philosophy in architecture was to "create unity between buildings and their surroundings in a simplistic blend of picturesque romantic charm." Her architectural influence can be seen throughout the village today.
In 1923 the Santa Fe Land Company started residential development and constructed a guest house called "La Morada" to house potential land purchasers. In 1941 the name was changed to "The Inn", when it was purchased as a guest resort by Col George Richardson from Chicago.
An important part of the Rancho Santé Fe history is Fairbanks Ranch. Previously known as Rancho Zorro as it was purchased and developed by Douglas Fairbanks and his wife Mary Pickford. From 1975 up until 1978 a group of young adults enjoyed 1200 acres, two lakes and miles of trails at less than $125 a month rent for a home. The main house (near the dam on the lower pond) was occupied by the caretaker, Arthur Cicchese. Another group of homes were near the stables and on the top of the entrance (Paseo Pintoresco), there was a full size family home occupied by Patricia House, a smaller home occupied by Jane, Priscilla and Leslie, and a bunkhouse that had many and various persons who would come and go. This lifestyle existed from 1975 through 1978. Just before Watt finally got the go ahead for one home per two acres versus the two homes per one acre he sought.
From 1923-1929 large parcels of land were sold for citrus and avocado groves. Homes were constructed, many on hilltops with fabulous views of the mountains, ocean and valleys. Although building and landscaping requirements were a part of the purchase contract in the early years, Charles Cheney, a noted city planner, suggested that the residents of the area form a mutual organization for the administration of the community. In 1927 a non-profit association was formed called the Rancho Santa Fe Association. The Rancho Santa Fe Association adopted a Protective Covenant to insure the "preservation, maintenance, development, and improvement of property" in accordance with the wishes of property owners and in conformance with the general community plan. And as a result of this this historic part of Rancho Santa Fe became known as “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe, or simply, “The Covenant”.
Today “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe has become the home of country estates and was declared the wealthiest community in the nation in the 2000 census. The Rancho Santa Fe Association is still pursuing the dreams and goals of its far-sighted developers. This pleasant oasis covers approximately 6,200 acres with approximately 1,700 households just four to six miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful residences on lots averaging two acres or more are set back from the picturesque roadways which wind around the town. “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe is governed by the Rancho Santa Fe Association which also oversees the RSF golf club, a 6800 yard, par 72, 18 hole course, and RSF tennis facility. “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe also enjoys a riding club, garden club, community center, art guild, library guild, book club, and 50 miles of horse trails which weave throughout the rolling hills of this community.
The centerpiece of “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe is “The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe”, designed by Lilian Rice, and situated on a grassy knoll at the western end of the main street. The focal point of activity is the central village, where businesses and shops dot the few blocks of commercially-zoned property. Since there is no mail delivery to homes (by popular demand), residents stop at the post office every day. The Village serves as a meeting place where one gathers for morning coffee, or strolls down the street to greet neighbors and friends, and to enjoy the ambiance of the town itself.
In 1989, “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe was registered as California Historical Landmark #982 for its status as a historic planned community. It also received "Cultural Landmark Degniation" which is an amendment to California State Landmark for its roads, water features, landscaping, natural contours.
Rancho Santa Fe is located at (33.023943, -117.200110).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.8 square miles (18 km2). 6.7 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.07%) is water.
The climate of Rancho Santa Fe is, for the most part, typical of the San Diego metropolitan area, though its higher elevation and inland location lends itself to larger temperature variations. Notably, Rancho Santa Fe is one of only a few places in suburban San Diego to receive snowfall, the last of which occurred on February 26–27, 2011.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Rancho Santa Fe had a population of 3,117. The population density was 459.2 people per square mile (177.3/km²). The racial makeup of Rancho Santa Fe was 2,910 (93.4%) White, 10 (0.3%) African American, 1 (0.0%) Native American, 87 (2.8%) Asian, 4 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 45 (1.4%) from other races, and 60 (1.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 176 persons (5.6%).
The Census reported that 3,117 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 1,195 households, out of which 364 (30.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 848 (71.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 62 (5.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 33 (2.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 23 (1.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 9 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 213 households (17.8%) were made up of individuals and 124 (10.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61. There were 943 families (78.9% of all households); the average family size was 2.93.
The population was spread out with 724 people (23.2%) under the age of 18, 142 people (4.6%) aged 18 to 24, 332 people (10.7%) aged 25 to 44, 1,178 people (37.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 741 people (23.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.
There were 1,391 housing units at an average density of 204.9 per square mile (79.1/km²), of which 1,010 (84.5%) were owner-occupied, and 185 (15.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.3%. 2,674 people (85.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 443 people (14.2%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,252 people, 1,204 households, and 947 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 476.2 inhabitants per square mile (183.8/km²). There were 1,339 housing units at an average density of 196.1 per square mile (75.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.33% White, 0.46% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population.
There were 1,204 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.4% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 17.7% from 25 to 44, 33.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was in excess of $200,000, as is the median income for a family. Males had a median income of over $150,000 versus $86,933 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $113,132. 3.5% of the population and 2.0% of families were below the poverty line. None under the age of 18 and 5.5% of those 65 and older was living below the poverty line.
Rancho Santa Fe is a stronghold of the Republican Party in San Diego County. In the 2008 Presidential Election, it voted for John McCain over Barack Obama with 66.61%, significantly higher than the county-wide average of 43.79%. The community approved of California Proposition 8 with 57.57%, while Proposition 4 passed with 53.06% of the vote.
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 Darrell Issa.
Schools located within the Rancho Santa Fe School District:
Solana Beach School District
Rancho Santa Fe is located within the San Dieguito Union High School District which includes the schools:
At times the term "Rancho Santa Fe" refers to the original planned community which is known as "the Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe.
Communities adjacent to or near "the Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe:
Rancho Santa Fe (RSF) 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 when Bing Crosby bought the storied Osuna Ranch in 1936. He invited all of his Hollywood cronies down to enjoy the peace and quiet of the country, and play the Rancho Santa Fe golf course. In 1937 he launched the First Bing Crosby Pro Am Tournament. The same year Bing Crosby, movie director for Douglas Fairbanks, Ted Reed, and Pat O'Brien opened the Del Mar Race Track. His "fun golf tournaments", which included Hollywood celebrities matched with owners, jockies, and trainers from the area, drew great crowds to the Ranch. Rancho Santa Fe became a popular destination.
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 Sante Fe was chosen to host the equestrian events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.
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.
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Torrey Pines High School is a high school in the North County Coastal area of San Diego, California. The school is named after the Torrey Pine tree that grows in the area. Torrey Pines High School is a member of the San Dieguito Union High School District and serves the communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carmel Valley in San Diego county.
Before the school opened, students in the district attended San Dieguito High School—now known as San Dieguito Academy. Now students who come from middle schools such as Carmel Valley Middle School, Earl Warren Middle School, and Rancho Santa Fe have four public high schools to choose from: Torrey Pines High School, San Dieguito Academy, Canyon Crest Academy, and La Costa Canyon High School.
The school is a three-time National Blue Ribbon School and California Distinguished School. In 2005, Torrey Pines was ranked as one of the 100 Best High Schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine. In 2012, Torrey Pines appeared as 110th and in 2011, as 90th. Torrey Pines offers thirty Advanced Placement courses and had a 2006–2007 API score of 852, the highest of any high school in San Diego county that year.
In December 2006, Torrey Pines received the Claes Nobel School of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS)
In 2007, Torrey Pines had numerous students who were designated AP scholars by the College Board. Torrey Pines is well known for AP advanced students. Students at TPHS take 6 classes per year: fewer classes, more instructional minutes per class than the Academy format of other San Dieguito High School District schools. Torrey Pines has block scheduling; students have a total of six classes, alternating three per day for 120 minutes each.
Torrey Pines has also consistently done well at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, placing many students in 1st or 2nd place. In addition, in 2011, a senior at Torrey Pines High School placed 8th in the Intel Science Talent Search.
Prior to 1936, students in all of coastal North County went to high school in Oceanside, California.
In 1936, the San Dieguito Union High School District was created and San Dieguito High School in Encinitas opened to serve students living in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Olivenhain, Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia. It remained the only high school in the district until Torrey Pines High School opened in 1974.
Based on the large amount of growth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as projected growth in the area, it was determined that a second high school was needed. At the time, San Dieguito High School and Earl Warren Jr. High School were forced to do double sessions to deal with the shortage of schooling space. Earl Warren at the time also had the ninth grade freshman class attending its school.
In the early 1970s after two defeats, a bond issue placed on the ballot finally passed. A location was chosen at what seemed out-of-the-way at the time; however the location was based on the projected growth of what was then known as “North City West” – commonly known today as Carmel Valley
Torrey Pines High School was built and opened in the fall of 1974. The opening relieved the over-crowding at San Dieguito High School, as well as at Earl Warren Jr. High School. When initially opened, access was from the original alignment of two-lanes only Black Mountain Rd. Later when Del Mar Height Rd was extended east, the access road was modified.
It was considered very modern at the time, being built with an open courtyard, classrooms with no windows, and many of the classrooms had no doors. Another design feature was wide hallways with large carpeted podium-like benches one could sit on. The library (the Media Center) was considered state-of-the-art at the time. It also had its own Black Box Theater.
For all its fanfare, there were some noticeable discrepancies: There was an immediate shortage of classrooms – portable classrooms had to be brought in; there was a shortage of lockers, students had to double or triple up; there was no food service building – instead a bank of vending machines provided the only source of lunch items. Finally, there was no football stadium; games were played at San Dieguito High School.
In the 1980s, the school was expanded: the building containing the Media Center was expanded towards Del Mar Heights Rd, creating rooms 41 – 62; a new parking/bus/student drop-off area was added; a football stadium built; the original portable classrooms were converted to a weight room and other sport-related uses; and the original black box theater is now used as a lecture hall (with a second black box theater, a converted machine shop, being added in the Arts building). In 2003, Building E and G were built. Furthermore, stairs were added leading up to the main building at this time. During the summer of 2008, more stairs were constructed which lead from the parking lot nearest Del Mar Heights Road to the English building in response to students running down the hill instead of using the stairs.
Torrey Pines High School has a primarily Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic student body. The student body is largely reflective of the surrounding area, which is characterized mainly by a high level of affluence; most adults in the area are married and close to 50% of household incomes are over $100,000, although 5% of the students qualify for the free lunch program. Most adults in the area are educated, and a strong majority have either a Bachelor's or a Professional/Graduate degree.
Torrey Pines High School's academic teams include Speech and Debate, Academic Team, and Science Olympiad. Approximately 100 students participate in Speech and Debate, 90 in Science Olympiad, and 35 in Academic Team. The Speech and Debate and Academic teams require interested applicants to try out for membership. As of 2010, the TPHS Academic Team had 10 Freshmen Team members, 17 JV Team members, and 10 Varsity Team members. The teachers currently involved with the academic team are Barbara Swovelin, an English teacher on campus, who has been teaching for over 27 years, and Brinn Belyea, a chemistry and physics teacher.
Torrey Pines is a long-standing athletic powerhouse of the Palomar league. Notable programs include Football, Wrestling, Basketball, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Softball, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Track & Field, Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Baseball, Lacrosse, Swimming and Water Polo. On October 11, 2007, Torrey Pines football was featured in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. Fall sports are: Cross country, Girls golf, Boys water polo, Field hockey, Football, Girls Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Winter sports are: Basketball, Soccer, Girls Water polo, and Wrestling. Spring sports are: Baseball, Softball, Boys Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Swimming, Boys Tennis, Track and Field, and Boys Volleyball.
As of February 28, 2006, Torrey Pines High School has 116 Associated Student Body sponsored clubs.
A few of these clubs have websites, available at http://tpasb.net/
The school offers a club day in which students are shown the meaning and aspects of each club. Students are allowed to choose as many or as little clubs as they desire. Clubs range from community service and art to theatre and religion. Students are allowed to start their own clubs as well.
Torrey Pines has a large and growing music program, including two orchestras, a wind ensemble, symphonic band, and a jazz band. These groups win numerous awards each year at competitions throughout California. Bands receive a Superior rating on average at each competition that they compete in. In 2012, Symphonic Band received an excellent while Wind Ensemble received a Superior at both competitions. The TPHS Advanced Orchestra has been rated #1 in Southern California since 2008. Amy Willcox, Music Director has been at the school since 2004.
The Falconer is the school newspaper. It placed first in the 1984 JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Diego and again in March 1999 at the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Phoenix. It placed first once again at the 2009 JEA/NSPA Convention and received a Pacemaker Award at the 2010 convention in Kansas City, Missouri. It also placed first at the spring 2012 JEA/NSPA Convention in Seattle, Washington. A new issue is put out at the end of each month. All articles are written, photos are taken and graphics are made by the staff of the Falconer. Mia Boardman Smith is the current adviser to the staff. The Falconer receives no school funding, and instead relies on money from advertisers the staff members find.
The newspaper features News, Opinion, Entertainment, Feature, Sports, and Focus sections, specializing on different topics in their field from issue to issue. The back page of every issue is a satirical page written by staff members.
First Flight is the school literary magazine. Its 2005–2006 edition placed first in the 2006 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, Illinois and the 2006–2007 edition won first place Best in Show at the 2007 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. First Flight again won first place Best in Show at the 2010 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Mia Boardman Smith is the faculty adviser.
FreeFlight is the school yearbook. Mia Boardman Smith is the adviser. Freeflight 2006–2007 yearbook with the theme of IMPACT placed 4th at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2008 in Anaheim, CA and Freeflight 2007–2008 yearbook with the theme of LAYERS placed 3rd at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2009 in Phoenix, AZ.
The Torrey Pines black box theater program (TP Players), under the directorship of Marinee Payne, is widely recognized for achievements in the theatrical field. It received awards for best play in the region from the California Educational Theater Association for Metamorphosis in 2003 and Inherit the Wind in 2005. TP Players performed at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in the summers of 2006 and 2009.
Rancho Bernardo High School
Rancho Santa Margarita is an affluent city in Orange County, California. One of Orange County's youngest cities, Rancho Santa Margarita is a master planned community set upon rolling hills. Most neighborhoods in Rancho Santa Margarita are within various homeowners associations. The population was 47,853 at the 2010 census, up from 47,214 at the 2000 census.
Although it is named for Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, which was in San Diego County, the city limits fall within the borders of Rancho Mission Viejo.
The city seal has the brands of Rancho Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita and Las Flores on the border, with artwork containing Santiago Peak in the background. The tower in the foreground symbolizes the Rancho Santa Margarita Lake Tower.
Hughes Aircraft Company's Microelectronic Systems Division moved to Rancho Santa Margarita in May 1988 from Irvine. In August 1992 the Hughes plant closed its facilities and moved the division to Carlsbad, California due to budget constraints in the aerospace industry.
La Cañada Flintridge had the longest city name in California with 18 letters until January 1, 2000, when the title was ceded to Rancho Santa Margarita (20 letters) upon the latter's incorporation.
Where schools, shopping centers and residential neighborhoods now stand, Native Americans once lived. On July 23, 1769, they were visited by a Spanish expedition under Captain Gaspar de Portola, who camped near the site of Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Rancho Santa Margarita.
On July 24, the expedition headed inland to avoid the many streams and swamps in the area. They found a large plateau area and camped that night on its western edge by a canyon, which the Franciscans named San Francisco Solano. This was on the eastern side of Trabuco Creek about three miles downstream from the present site of Trabuco Oaks.
While camped here on July 24–25, one of the soldiers lost his trabuco, or musket, a most valuable possession to any soldier. To mark this loss, the stream was named Trabuco. The name has been associated with the mesa, the canyon, and the entire area ever since. The Spaniards founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, and ruled the region until 1821, when California became part of Mexico.
The Mexican governors carved the area around the mission into three large ranchos: Rancho Trabuco, Rancho Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita. James L. Flood and his partner Jerome O’Neill purchased the combined ranchos in 1882. The huge estate was run as a working ranch into the 1920s. In 1940, the ranch was divided, with the Flood family taking the lower portion, in today's San Diego County, with the upper portion retained by the O'Neill family. In 1942, the Navy annexed the Flood family’s portion of the ranch for use as Camp Joseph H. Pendleton.
In 1948, the O'Neill family donated 278 acres of canyon bottom land to the County of Orange for park purposes. The O'Neill family donated an additional 120 acres of parkland in 1963, the same year they founded the Mission Viejo Company and drew up plans for a master-planned community of the same name.
By the 1960s, a rural cluster of homes had been present in Trabuco Canyon for decades. The area's first tract developed homes didn't arrive until late in the decade in what would become Coto de Caza, which started out as a hunting and fishing resort. The area remained fairly remote until 1986, when the first homes in the new master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita were sold. The economic boom of the 1980s also fueled home construction in nearby Dove Canyon, Robinson Ranch, Wagon Wheel and a handful of smaller developments. The area became better linked to the rest of the county in 1992, when extensions of Oso, Antonio and Alicia Parkways were completed.
In 1989, the people of the community of Rancho Santa Margarita established a Community Civic Association (CCA) for the purpose of providing a political voice for the community. The CCA, later known as the Rancho Margarita Civic Association (and still later as the Civic Council), briefly explored self-governance, but it was in 1995 that the RSM Cityhood Committee, a separate community organization, began the official drive for cityhood. Rancho Santa Margarita was planned to be an “Urban Village”, offering the best of two worlds: all of the elements and advantages of a small city plus the quality of life of a small village.
In November 1999, area voters opted to incorporate the Rancho Santa Margarita Planned Community and the neighboring Robinson Ranch, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Trabuco Highlands and Walden Communities. The newly formed City of Rancho Santa Margarita incorporated on January 1, 2000, and became the 33rd city in the County of Orange.
The City is a general law city and operates under the council-manager form of government. Rancho Santa Margarita is a contract city. Police services are provided through contract with the Orange County Sheriff. Fire Protection services are provided through the Orange County Fire Authority.
Rancho Santa Margarita is located at (33.641518, -117.594524). It occupies much of a high plateau known as Plano Trabuco.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.0 square miles (34 km2). 13.0 square miles (34 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.27%) is water.
Rancho Santa Margarita is bordered by the city of Mission Viejo on the west, the census-designated Coto de Caza and Las Flores on the south, Trabuco Canyon on the north, and the Cleveland National Forest on the east.
The Rancho Santa Margarita Landscape and Recreation Corporation, or SAMLARC, is often referred to as the master association in Rancho Santa Margarita because other smaller sub associations fall within its membership and it encompasses the original footprint of the master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita. SAMLARC comprises roughly 13,000 units and maintains most streetscapes, medians, parks and trails within the community. In total, SAMLARC runs and maintains 13 parks, 4 pools, a lagoon, a lake, and numerous trails within the community. One of SAMLARC's most popular parks, Central Park located next to City Hall, contains a large amphitheater where a number of community events are held each year. Central Park is also home to an arena soccer rink that was converted from a roller hockey rink. SAMLARC also maintains a popular skate and dog park that are located within SAMLARC's Canada Vista Park.
Dove Canyon is a private residential community located in eastern Rancho Santa Margarita. It is a small enclave of approximately 1,200 homes and 5,000 residents. Included within the guard-gated entry is a Jack Nicklaus signature golf club, pool, tennis courts, a small child's park, a wide field, a shopping center (just outside the entry), and a reservoir. The majority of its residents are upper middle class residents of Orange County, and all of the homes in Dove Canyon are single-family residences. It is located in the Southeasternmost foothills of Orange County. Major roads include Dove Canyon/Bell Canyon and Sycamore Canyon. A horse trail starts at the waterfalls outside of the community and continues until the end of Sycamore Canyon. From there, hikers, horse riders, bikers, etc. can continue into Dove Canyon's neighbor community, Coto de Caza.
Robinson Ranch is a mid-sized residential community located northeastern Rancho Santa Margarita south of Trabuco Canyon. It is one of the older communities in Rancho Santa Margarita. It has several condominium areas closer to Plano Trabuco Road and two large parks. Major Roads include Robinson Ranch and Shadow Rock. Like Dove Canyon and Rancho Cielo it is assigned with a Trabuco Canyon zip code even though the areas were annexed into Rancho Santa Margarita when the city incorporated in 2000. The street at the bottom of the hill is the entrance into O'Neil National Park.
Rancho Cielo is a smaller residential community located in eastern Rancho Santa Margarita. It includes gated entry with security guard. It is near the intersection of Plano Trabuco Road and Dove Canyon Drive. All of the homes are all single family residences and the majority of its residents are upper-middle class. Major Roads include Rancho Cielo and Camino Del Cielo.
Rancho Santa Margarita, like most of coastal Southern California, generally has a Mediterranean climate. The name derives from its similarity to the climate of areas along the Mediterranean Sea. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool, rarely falling below freezing. Precipitation in Rancho Santa Margarita occurs predominantly during the winter months. The average January temperature in Rancho Santa Margarita is , while the average August temperature is .
According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top 11 employers in the city are:
ǂ As of June 2012
The 2010 United States Census reported that Rancho Santa Margarita had a population of 47,853. The population density was 3,683.1 people per square mile (1,422.0/km²). The racial makeup of Rancho Santa Margarita was 37,421 (78.2%) White, 887 (1.9%) African American, 182 (0.4%) Native American, 4,350 (9.1%) Asian, 102 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 2,674 (5.6%) from other races, and 2,237 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,902 persons (18.6%).
The Census reported that 47,851 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 2 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 16,665 households, out of which 7,699 (46.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 10,144 (60.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,703 (10.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 700 (4.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 747 (4.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 103 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,199 households (19.2%) were made up of individuals and 761 (4.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87. There were 12,547 families (75.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.33.
The population was spread out with 13,879 people (29.0%) under the age of 18, 3,793 people (7.9%) aged 18 to 24, 13,706 people (28.6%) aged 25 to 44, 13,764 people (28.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,711 people (5.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.0 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.
There were 17,260 housing units at an average density of 1,328.4 per square mile (512.9/km²), of which 11,906 (71.4%) were owner-occupied, and 4,759 (28.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.6%. 35,737 people (74.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,114 people (25.3%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 47,214 people, 16,253 households, and 12,417 families residing within the city. The population density was 3,847.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,485.7/km²). There were 16,515 housing units at an average density of 1,345.9 per square mile (519.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.59% White, 1.75% African American, 0.42% Native American, 7.40% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 4.49% from other races, and 4.15% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race were 13.00% of the population.
There were 16,253 households out of which 51.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.6% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 41.4% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 3.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $95,061, and the median income for a family was $110,799. Males had a median income of $61,314 versus $40,799 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,531. About 1.5% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over. Most of the neighborhoods in RSM are maintained by larger homeowner's associations including Melinda Heights, town center, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Robinson Ranch, and Trabuco Highlands. Dove Canyon, Trabuco Highlands, Robinson Ranch, and Rancho Cielo were all established before Rancho Santa Margarita was an incorporated community. East of Plano Tabuco Road is designated with a Trabuco Canyon (92679) zip code even though the area falls within the City of Rancho Santa Margarita boundary.
The city is served by Saddleback Valley Unified School District and the Capistrano Unified School District.
The television series The Real Housewives of Orange County, although based in Coto De Caza, is mainly filmed in Rancho Santa Margarita where many of the housewives do business, shopping, commuting, and dining.
The city's name often creates confusion: people in the Las Flores, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, or Robinson Ranch neighborhoods, for example, can receive mail addressed to them at Rancho Santa Margarita, Dove Canyon, Coto de Caza, Robinson Ranch or Trabuco Canyon.
A map of Orange County seen in season four of Arrested Development places the fictional Bluth Company-developed community of Sudden Valley northeast of Mission Viejo and Las Flores, in the approximate location of Rancho Santa Margarita.
Poway High School
Rancho Bernardo High School, or RBHS, is a public high school in the Poway Unified School District of San Diego County, California. Rancho Bernardo High School opened in September 1990 as the district's third high school. There are approximately 2,300 students in grades 9 through 12, and approximately 101 faculty members.
The school computes grades on an A-F system. Starting with the 2007–2008 school year, the high school stopped providing rankings on school transcripts.
According the California Department of Education and a Channel 8 news report (October 2012) Rancho Bernardo High School is considered the third safest high school in San Diego county. The report based the rankings on the schools with the lowest violence and drug rates based on suspension statistics.
Rancho Bernardo is a Division I school competing in the Palomar League against Poway High School, Mount Carmel High School, Westview High School, Torrey Pines High School, and Canyon Crest Academy. The school's sports teams go by the name "The Broncos". Their school colors are blue, silver, and white.
Some famous athletes to come from Rancho Bernardo are MLB baseball players Cole Hamels, and Hank Blalock. Rancho Bernardo High School has a reputation for being heavily focused on baseball. According to the book Moneyball, Rancho Bernardo is known in baseball circles as "The Factory" due to the consistent quality of players being produced from its program and later going on to either college, minor, or major leagues. MLB First round draft picks include Cole Hamels (2002), Danny Putnam 2001 graduate (2004 out of Stanford University), Allan Dykstra (2008), and Gosuke Katoh 2013 graduate (drafted 66th overall by the New York Yankees).
Belying the reputation of the school's baseball team is a 1997 incident in which three baseball players pleaded guilty to sodomizing a new teammate with a broom handle laced with medicated ointment in the locker room after a game. The school district paid $675,000 to settle the claim—one of the highest payments in high school hazing cases to date. The incident revealed a hazing culture that stretched back at least two years, in which older team members would threaten to rape incoming freshmen players, or would perform simulated rape.
In April 2002, Rancho Bernardo received media attention when one of the school's assistant principals forced female students at a school dance to lift their clothing and expose their underwear, in search of G-strings and thongs. The district said the reason for the check was to "ensure appropriate school dress." Rita Wilson, the assistant principal involved in this incident, was later demoted to a teaching position.
In November 2007, a noose along with written racial slurs were found inside the school's performing arts center. As of December 2007, Poway Unified School District administrators have confirmed that a student has been identified and now the hate crime has been recognized as a misunderstanding and no action has been taken.
In April and May 2008, eight students were identified for hacking into the school's website, downloading teacher files, distributing tests to students, and altering transcripts. Assistant Principal Keith Koelzer issued a memo to teachers regarding the moral depravity of the Rancho Bernardo High School students involved. The memo was later released to The San Diego Union-Tribune for printing.
Westview High School (San Diego)
Poway High School (PHS) is a public, comprehensive high school located in the city of Poway, California. Established in 1961, it serves ninth through twelfth grade students from the communities of Poway and Rancho Bernardo. The school mascot is the Titan. Poway is the oldest high school in the Poway Unified School District.
Poway High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. First granted in 1965, the current accreditation is valid through 2008. Poway High School is both a California Distinguished School Award winner (1999) and a National Blue Ribbon School (1990/91).
The campus is in northern San Diego County, approximately 35 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. The campus covers 59 acres (238,765 m²).
Poway's athletic teams, the Titans, compete in the Palomar League and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section.
The school fields teams in 19 sports: gymnastics, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, roller hockey, soccer, softball, swimming, diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, wrestling, and rugby.
The wrestling program has won four state championships, 57 different CIF division awards, and numerous Palomar League awards.
The 2007 football team finished the season 12-0 and were the CIF Division I champions. They again won the CIF Division I championship in 2011 with a record of 12-0-1.
The 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 baseball teams won back to back Palomar League and CIF Division I Championships. Over the last four years the Titan's baseball team has been consistently ranked among the top twenty teams in the nation.
The 2007-2008 Boys Soccer team finished with a record of 23-2-5 and were the Palomar League and CIF Division I Champions. They were also finalists in the first annual Southern California Regional Soccer Championships.
Boys Tennis won CIF in both 2007 and 2008
The Girls Golf team won the 2006 CIF State Championship and the 2006 CIF San Diego Section Championship.
Also, the Marching Band has won many competitions throughout the years. Most recently they were crowned MBOS (Marching Band Open Series) champions, over 26 other competing groups, in Corona California, in November 2009.
The 2000 Boys Cross Country team placed third at the CIF State Championship.
The music program consists of several bands all directed by Sylvester Sybilski and Mike Cook: Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and the top band Wind Symphony, as well as the marching band, The Emerald Brigade. String Ensembles include Symphony Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra. Also, Poway has a Jazz Band and a Concert Percussion Ensemble. The Percussion Ensemble replaced the percussion Winterline shows in 2007. All groups consistently receive Superior ratings at the El Camino and district Festival competitions.][ In 2006, the Poway High School music program was designated a Grammy Signature School by the Grammy Foundation.
Poway High School also boasts one of the most successful choral programs in Southern California, and the entire United States, under the direction of Nancy Gray. The school has 4 choral groups, of which 2 are audition-only. The choirs, from more novice to more advanced are:
The Concert and Die Lieder Singers Choirs are co-Ed, while the Beginning Choir and Women's Ensemble are Women-Only choirs.
In 2006, Poway's chamber group, the Die Lieder Singers won the annual Festival of Gold in San Francisco, CA, scoring a 94.67 on a 6-song festival set adjudicated by 3 judges. The Die Lieder Singers and Women's Ensemble often score superior ratings and place first in many prestigious competitions and festivals, and send many students to Southern California and California All-State Honor Choirs.
In March 2010, both the Women's Ensemble and the Die Lieders singers were selected by audition to participate in the National Youth Choir on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Four Poway High singers were selected to sing solos for songs composed by the conductor, Dr Jeffrey Ames. Also the Die Lieder Singers were selected to be the featured choir and to sing their own set of songs on stage. They dedicated this performance to Chelsea King.
Poway's choral music department is also known for its extremely successful musical productions every spring, usually performed in February or March of the school year. For each one Nancy Gray is the music director, and they bring in a director and choreographer from the community. The last few shows have been:
In 2012, the musical Bye Bye Birdie were nominated for seven National Youth Theatre Awards and ultimatly won three; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical (Luke Castor as Albert Peterson), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (Jackie Foster as Rose Grant), and Outstanding Ensemble.
Poway's stage productions, under the direction of Rollin Swan, are well known for being the most successful in the district; the Theatre Guild stages a Shakespearean play every fall ("Taming of the Shrew" in 2009,A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2008, Twelfth Night in 2007, King Lear in 2006, etc.) and puts up one or two smaller-scale productions every winter, with the spring play often a large-scale play written and directed by a senior for a senior project (2008 brought senior Marcus Kevorkyan's highly acclaimed Internal Bliss). In 2010, Theatre Guild performed "Triangle Factory Fire Project" to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Factory Fire disaster.
On April 22, 2004, Poway junior Tyler Chase Harper came to school wearing a t-shirt with masking tape on the front and back, upon which was written "Homosexuality is shameful - Romans 1:27" and "Be ashamed, our school has embraced what God condemned."  The incident occurred one day after the Day of Silence, a national protest staged by high-school students against homophobia and sponsored by several state and national gay rights organizations. Harper was sent to the principal's office by a teacher, where he was asked to remove the tape; he refused.. He then was forced to stay in the school's office until the end of the school day.
The incident garnered a minor amount of attention in local and national media as an example of tensions in schools arising from homophobia and religious freedom. California, at the time, was in the process of reforming domestic partnership laws (see Domestic partnership in California).
Backed by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian legal group, Harper eventually sued the district, claiming a violation of his right to free speech. The case was eventually heard before a federal judge, but was thrown out, with the judge in the case ruling that the message was disruptive and needlessly offensive.
A film called "Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech" from HBO Films uses this case as an example of a violation of the 1st Amendment rights.
Ranchos of California
Westview High School is a public comprehensive high school located in Torrey Highlands, a community of San Diego, California in the United States. It is part of the Poway Unified School District.
Westview uses a 4 by 4 block schedule for each school year. Under this system, the school year is divided into four quarters, as opposed to other schools' semester and trimester systems. Each student takes up to four classes per quarter, allowing a student to complete up to sixteen classes each year—four classes more than under a semester schedule and one more than under a trimester schedule. Classes at Westview last an average of 82 minutes a day.
Westview is accredited by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Its CEEB school code is #052-986.
Westview is divided into three "hubs," each with a separate administration system and cadre of homeroom teachers, designed to cultivate intraschool competition and camaraderie. The combined staff consists of 85 teachers, 4 administrators, 5 counselors, 2 librarians, 1 school psychologist, and 39 support staff.
Originally, Westview incorporated a "standards" system into its grading policy. These standards were based on the content standards set by the California Department of Education and all classes were required to implement them. Each course included a set of standards that students had to pass in order to obtain a passing grade. Each standard had to do with a particular concept taught in the course, and a student passed the standard after demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the concept, usually by way of in-class examination. One effect of the standards system was that a student was guaranteed a passing grade if he or she passed all the standards of the class. Irrespective of a student's overall grade, a student could not receive credit for the class absent completion of even one standard at the end of the quarter. This was especially problematic in math and science courses, which generally had a large amount of standards. This system was dropped at the end of the 2004–2005 school year.
As of the 2011–2012 school year, 2,372 students were enrolled at the school. Of these, 567 of the students were enrolled in 9th grade, 620 in 10th, 581 in 11th, and 604 in 12th. The school's student body is 51.3% White, 34.9% Asian/Filipino, 8.6% Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% African American, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 0.1% Native American, and 2.5% Other.
Of the 586 graduates of the school in 2011, 94% decided to attend college. Of these, 73% went to 4-year colleges and the remaining 27% to 2-year colleges.
A 4x4 block learning schedule is implemented at Westview, meaning that over the course of a year a student will take up to eight courses, or four each semester. Each course is broken into two nine-week quarters each worth five credits. In addition to the four daily classes, there are various other periods such as Homeroom, Silent Sustained Reading (SSR), and Wolverine Time, a tutorial period, which occur only on specific days of the week. School begins at 8:05 AM on all days except Wednesday, when it begins at 9:15 AM. School ends at 3:10 PM except on "minimum days" on final exam dates where only half the classes exist.
Graduation from Westview requires meeting of PUSD's course requirements. They include a biological science course, a civics and economics course, a fine arts course, two math courses, a physical science course, one English course in each grade, and one course in each of U.S. History and world history. In addition to the required ninth-grade physical education requirement, one other physical education course is needed. Students also need to pass the California High School Exit Exam.
Grade point averages are computed with each quarter receiving either an A, B, C, or F, which correspond to 4, 3, 2, and 0, respectively. In addition to one Honors course, all Advanced Placement courses are assigned values of 5, 4, 3, and 0, for these grades.
Rancho Bernardo High School
San Diego metropolitan area
Rancho San Bernardo
San Pasqual High School
Rancho Bernardo, San Diego
Geography of California
The Spanish and, later, Mexican governments encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by the establishment of large land grants called ranchos, from which the English word ranch is derived. Land-grant titles (concessions) were government-issued, permanent, unencumbered property-ownership rights to land called ranchos. Devoted to raising cattle and sheep, the owners of the ranchos attempted to pattern themselves after the landed gentry of Spain. Their workers included Californian Native Americans who had learned to speak Spanish, many of them former Mission residents. Of the 800-plus grants, Spain made about 30 between 1784 and 1821. The remainder were granted by Mexico between 1833 and 1846. The ranchos established land-use patterns that are recognizable in the California of today. Rancho boundaries became the basis for California's land survey system, and can still be found on modern maps and land titles. Ranchos were partially based on geography, such as access to river water. Land development in the 20th and 21st century often follow the boundaries of the ranchos, and often retain the original name. For example, "Rancho San Diego," an unincorporated 'rural-burb' east of San Diego, or "Rancho Bernardo,", a masterplan suburb in the city of San Diego.
During Spanish rule (1769–1821), the ranchos were concessions from the Spanish crown, permitting settlement and granting grazing rights on specific tracts of land, while the crown retained the title. The ranchos, that is, the settlement by individuals of tracts of land outside presidio, mission, and pueblo boundaries, began in 1784, when Juan Jose Dominguez got permission from Spanish Governor Pedro Fages to put his cattle on the 48,000-acre (190 km2) Rancho San Pedro. The land concessions were usually measured in leagues. A league of land would encompass a square that is one Spanish league on each side – approximately 4,428 acres (18 km2).
(Listed chronologically by date of concession)
It was not until the Mexican era (1821–1846) that the titles to the plots of land were granted to individuals. In 1821, Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, and California came under control of the Mexican government. The 1824 Mexican Colony Law established rules for petitioning for land grants in California; and by 1828, the rules for establishing land grants were codified in the Mexican Reglamento (Regulation). The Acts sought to break the monopoly of the missions and also paved the way for additional settlers to California by making land grants easier to obtain. The procedure included a 'diseño' – a hand-drawn topological map - to define the area. The Mexican Governors of Alta California gained the power to grant state lands, and many of the Spanish concessions were subsequently patented under Mexican law.
Through the Secularization Act of 1833, the Mexican government repossessed most of the lands provided to the missions by the Spanish crown. Secularization was implemented between 1834 and 1836. The government allowed the padres to keep only the church, priest's quarters and priest's garden. A commissioner would oversee the crops and herds, while the land was divided up as communal pasture, a town plot, and individual plots for each Indian family.
The number of Mexican land grants greatly increased after the secularization of the missions in 1834. Although the original intent of the secularization legislation was to have the property divided among former mission Indians, most of the grants were made to influential Californios of Spanish background.][
The Mexican grants were provisional. The boundaries had to be officially surveyed and marked. The grantee could not subdivide or rent out the land. The land had to be used and cultivated. A residential house had to be built within a year. Public roads crossing through the property could not be closed. If the provisional conditions were not met, the land grant could be 'denounced' by another party who could claim the land.][
The United States (US) declared war against Mexico on May 13, 1846. Action in California began with the Bear Flag Revolt on June 15, 1846. On July 7, 1846, US forces took possession of Monterey, the capital of California, and terminated the authority and jurisdiction of Mexican officials that day. Armed resistance ended in California with the Treaty of Cahuenga signed on January 13, 1847. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the war, was signed February 2, 1848 and California became a Territory of the United States. Between 1847–1849, California was run by the U.S. military. A constitutional convention met in Monterey in September 1849, and set up a state government. It operated for 10 months before California was admitted to the Union as the 31st State by Congress, as part of the Compromise of 1850, enacted on September 9, 1850.
While the end of the 1840s saw the close of Mexican control over Alta California, this period also marked the beginning of the rancheros’ greatest prosperity. Cattle had been raised primarily for their hides and for the tallow, as there was no market for large quantities of beef. This dramatically changed with the onset of the Gold Rush, as thousands of miners and other fortune seekers flooded into northern California. These newcomers needed meat, and cattle prices soared with demand. The rancheros enjoyed the halcyon days of Hispanic California.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the Mexican land grants would be honored. In order to investigate and confirm titles in California, American officials acquired the provincial records of the Spanish and Mexican governments in Monterey.
Sponsored by California Senator William M. Gwin, in 1851 the United States Congress passed "An Act to Ascertain and Settle Private Land Claims in the State of California". The Act required all holders of Spanish and Mexican land grants to present their titles for confirmation before the Board of California Land Commissioners. Contrary to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, this Act placed the burden of proof of title on landholders. In many cases, the land grants had been made without clearly defining the exact boundaries. Even in cases where the boundaries were more specific, many markers had been destroyed before accurate surveys could be made. Aside from indefinite survey lines, the Land Commission had to determine whether the grantees had fulfilled the requirements of the Mexican colonization laws. While the Land Commission confirmed 604 of the 813 claims it reviewed, most decisions were appealed to US District Court and some to the Supreme Court. The confirmation process required lawyers, translators, and surveyors, and took an average of 17 years (with American Civil War, 1861–1865) to resolve. It proved expensive for landholders to defend their titles through the court system. In many cases, they had to sell their land to pay for defense fees or gave attorneys land in lieu of payment.
Land from titles not confirmed became part of the public domain, and available for homesteaders, who could claim up to 160-acre (0.65 km2) plots in accordance with federal homestead law. Rejected land claims resulted in claimants, squatters, and settlers pressing Congress to change the rules. Under the Pre-emption Act of 1841, owners were able to "pre-empt" their portions of the grant, and acquire title for $1.25 an acre up to a maximum of 160 acres (0.65 km2). Beginning with Rancho Suscol in 1863, special acts of Congress were passed that allowed certain claimants to pre-empt their land – without regard to acreage. By 1866 this privilege was extended to all owners of rejected claims.
The rancheros became land rich and cash poor, and the burden of attempting to defend their claims was often financially overwhelming. Grantees lost their lands as a result of mortgage default, payment of attorney fees, or payment of other personal debts. Land was also lost as a result of fraud. A sharp decline in cattle prices, the floods of 1861–1862, and droughts of 1863–1864, also forced many of the overextended rancheros to sell their properties to Americans. They often quickly subdivided the land and sold it to new settlers, who began farming individual plots.
A shift in the economic dominance of grain farming over cattle raising was marked by the passage of the California "No-Fence Law" in 1874. This repealed the Trespass Act of 1850, which had required farmers to protect their planted fields from free-ranging cattle. The repeal of the Trespass Act required that ranchers fence stock in, rather than farmers fencing cattle out. The ranchers were faced with either the high expense of fencing large grazing tracts or selling their cattle at ruinous prices.
The ranchos established land-use patterns that are still recognizable in contemporary California. Many communities still retain their Spanish rancho name. For example, Rancho Penasquitos, the first land grant by the Spanish in today's San Diego County, is now a suburb with in the city of San Diego. Modern communities often follow the original boundaries of the rancho, based on geogrpahic features and abstract straight lines. Today, most of the orgional rancho land grants have been dismantled and sold off to become suburbs and rural-burbs. A very limited amount of ranchos are still owned by descendants of the original owners, retain their original size, or remain undeveloped.