Dos Pueblos Ranch, one of Santa Barbara County’s most historic ranches, was just sold to the family of Roger Himovitz for an as-yet-undisclosed sum by its longtime owners, the Schulte family. The 214-acre property, which spreads along the Gaviota Coast on the ocean side of the freeway, will be operated by the Dos Pueblos Institute as an outdoor classroom teaching sustainable agriculture and as a site for Chumash bands to use for ceremonies, according to the Institute representative Geoff Alexander. The property, on the market for many years, listed for $40 million.
“Dos Pueblos” refers to two Chumash villages that existed across the creek from each other. Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo first wrote about seeing them in 1542. Later, in 1769, when members of the Portolá expedition arrived, the Chumash reportedly greeted the colonists with enthusiasm and generosity. By 1842, the land was part of a much larger holding — 15,000 acres — given by the Mexican government to Nicolas Den, an Irish immigrant and doctor who is credited for saving the Santa Barbara Mission from terminal neglect.
Himovitz, a politically liberal developer who has lived in Santa Barbara for more than 25 years, helped start the El Capitán campground — famous for its luxury yurts. It sold last year to a publicly traded company specializing in senior living communities and RV parks. According to Alexander, Himovitz has no plans to open Dos Pueblos to camping, or to commercial development, or to building a private home. The existing structures — about 10 — date back to the 1920s and are in need of serious work. “In many ways, the property’s a magnificent wreck,” he said. Current renters will be allowed to remain, and he suggested the property could become part of California’s network of Coastal Trails. Any development would have to comply with the county’s recently passed Gaviota Coast Plan and could be appealed to the California Coastal Commission.