Ray Ford

Scherpa, Sherpa, or Chirpa?

The real name of the ranch where this week’s 4,000-acre wildfire originated was neither La Scherpa Ranch or La Sherpa Ranch, as has been hotly contested in various blogs, but La Chirpa. The ranch got its name in the 1930s when Daniel and Juliette Sattler bought the 215-acre property to live and raise peacocks. The Sattlers named the ranch La Chirpa, which means “Lucky Strike.” La Chirpa is an expression rooted in California’s gold rush origins.

The Sattlers built a large sandstone home there, which they sold after the death of their young daughter to the Presbyterian Church, which used the ranch for retreats. All this information comes courtesy of the Sattlers’ granddaughter, Jill Sattler, who noted that Madam Gana Walska — now famous for having created Lotusland — lived on the ranch during World War II. At that time, Sattler noted, Lotusland was instead known as “Tibetland.”

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