Rodgers Ranch: Pleasant Hill’s Historic Treasure*
by Michael G. Harris, OD Vice Mayor, City of Pleasant Hill
Aug 01, 2013 | 449 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rodgers Ranch is Pleasant Hill’s oldest landmark. Once part of a Mexican land grant, the original 149-acre property was built by Dr. Hiram Smith in 1866 and sold to Patrick and Mary Rodgers in 1868.

Patrick’s brother Edward purchased the adjacent 137 acres, which became the location for one of the first Pleasant Hill schools and a portion of which was deeded to the school district. Built in 1920, the Pleasant Hill School still stands and has gone through various incarnations as the Pleasant Hill Police Department, Onstage Theatre, Pleasant Hill Historical Society, and a popular meeting place for the community.

In 1915, Rollo Hough, a partner in the Luther Burbank Company, found the soil at Rodgers Ranch to be the best in the county and wanted to develop a demonstration farm, but his investors did not come through. In 1926, the ranch was sold to John and Maria Calleri who farmed the land until 1937, when Alice and Earle Hobart purchased the property. Alice was fascinated with Asian culture and incorporated Western and Eastern designs when they build a house, behind the existing farmhouse, subsequently featured in Sunset magazine in 1939.

The ranch was sold in 1942 to an East Bay doctor, Dr. Kaho Daily, and his wife Helen. In 1978, the Dailys sold the ranch to Bob McAdam, Jr., who sold it to Davidon Homes for residential development. The Pleasant Hill Historical Society took action to have the property deeded to the city as dedicated parkland so it could be protected and restored.

In 1987, the city council approved the Davidon housing development and recommended developing the dedicated parkland into a heritage park. The property was passed to the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District, and in 1991 the Friends of Rodgers Ranch (FORR) was formed. After a lot of research and hard work, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

FORR continues to work to preserve and maintain the Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center and raise funds to rebuild the wheat barn, which could be used for meetings, classes, displays of local crafts and art, and small functions. The enclosed granary could become an open stage with an instructional garden area built behind the barn.

The Friends of Rodgers Ranch strives to educate the community about the history of Pleasant Hill and the surrounding area, as well as promote nature and gardening program for adults and children. FORR is looking for volunteers to help in its ongoing efforts to preserve and upgrade Rodgers Ranch and maintain its important place in Pleasant Hill history. If you’d like to join in this worthy effort, please contact FORR at rodgersranch@yahoo.com or 925-937-3677. Become a member of FORR, as I did, and you’ll become part of Pleasant Hill’s rich history and its exciting future.

* My sincere thanks to Denise Koroslev for providing the information in this column.

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