Land Grant Era
El Rancho Simi was the earliest Spanish colonial land grant within Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. in 1795 it was given to members of the Pico family, likely to Santiago Pico and a partner, Luis Pena. It was one of the largest land grants ever made, approximately 113,000 acres. Later when Mexico became independent from Spain, land was handed out much more freely. The most prominent name in connection with El Rancho Simi was that of Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega of Santa Barbara, who at one time owned about one quarter of a million acres in the two counties. He was captain of the presidio at Santa Barbara and was also a good friend of the mission fathers.
Our Simi Adobe was built at the beginning of the Spanish period, likely soon after the grant in 1795, as the local residents had to have some place to live while they operated the rancho. A part of that adobe still exists and is the focal point of our historical park. This was a stopover place between the Missions San Fernando Rey and San Buenaventura. In later years there was a stage stop nearby as well. There is little doubt this adobe was on the main route throughout all those early years.