After the gardens are fully restored visitors to the Ranch will be able to stroll throughout the grounds and experience gardens as they were in the late 1800s when Sherman Stow and his bride, Ida, settled in the Goleta Valley. The grounds surrounding the house were landscaped with exotic trees such as palms from South America, Mexico, Asia, and the Canary Islands, as well as Eugenia, Star Pine, and Bunya Bunya trees from Australia.

“This is very exciting! You will be able to experience the arboretum and gardens as the Stow family once did” says Amanda De Lucia, Director, “In recognition of their historical significance the gardens will be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for cultural landscape.” (The Stow House was appointed to the Registry in September 2000.)

Several years of meticulous inventory, documentation, and landscape design took place before the construction groundbreaking. Historians Dr. Pamela Post and Timothy Hazeltine and landscape architect Sydney Baumgartner created a plan that took into account the property’s history and significance as well as current and future uses, public education, and protection of this important cultural resource. The contractor for Phase I of the Arboretum Project is Arroyo Seco Construction, under the supervision of Adam Graham.

The studies and first phase of the Arboretum Restoration Project have been funded through grants from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, the Goleta Valley Land Trust, and individual donations. The Society is grateful for the support and cooperation from the City of Goleta as we continue to fundraise for the remaining phases of the Arboretum Restoration Project.

The Society has recently joined the Santa Barbara Public Gardens Partnership to inspire the community to appreciate the diversity of our local natural treasures with corresponding events, offers, and specialty tours during the entire month of May. As part of this county-wide celebration, the community is invited to enjoy complimentary tours of the Arboretum Project and gardens each Sunday in May at 2pm at Rancho La Patera & Stow House.

About us/ Visit the Ranch:

Stow family home following remodel, 1915.

Rancho La Patera is located in the heart of the Lake Los Carneros Natural & Historical Preserve. Visit on Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment. Suggested donation is $8 for adults, free for children under 12. For more information contact the Goleta Valley Historical Society at (805) 681-7216 or

The Goleta Valley Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and foster research of Goleta Valley’s history through exhibits, programs, and stewardship of the historic Rancho La Patera, home to the Stow family. The vision is to restore and preserve Rancho La Patera, Goleta Valley’s treasure from the golden era of California ranching; to share the history of Goleta Valley and provide the community with a unique and historic gathering place.

The Society was named “Non-profit of the Year” by Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2012. Rancho La Patera hosts tours and educational programs as well as various public events, such as the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, Fiesta Ranchera, Music at the Ranch, and Holiday at the Ranch. The Society is celebrating our city’s quality of life with an exhibit this year, Capturing The Goodland: Picturing The Beauty & History of the Goleta Valley.


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