A CLASSIC PIECE OF SIMI HISTORY
Robert P. and Mary Gray Lamb Strathearn purchased about 15,000 acres of the old Spanish Rancho and built their Victorian-era farmhouse into the front of the Simi Adobe in 1892. Possibly the thick walls of the old adobe reminded them of their home country, Scotland. The adobe rooms were used for kitchen and dining room, and the framed structure contains a double parlor, office and four bedrooms.
There were once corrals, barns, a blacksmith shop and many other ranch features nearby. This was called the Home Ranch, and the part of the Strathearn lands toward Moorpark was called the Middle Ranch.
Robert Perkins Strathearn came from Scotland in 1873, at 21 years of age, settling first in Carpinteria. Robert married Mary Gray Lamb on November 7, 1879. They moved to Piru, where they had an orange grove and also began to raise cattle. Strathearn introduced the first polled Angus cattle to Southern California. They bought their Simi Ranch in 1889 (approximately 15,000 acres of El Rancho Simi) and moved over to Simi from Piru in 1891. The front (Victorian) section of the house was then built onto what remained of the old Simi Adobe.
Mr. Strathearn was a cattle rancher, dealing largely in Mexican type cattle, which did well in this climate.
There were seven children: four sons and three daughters, born from 1881 through 1895. Their names were Bert, Jim, Jessie, Marion, George, Isa and Dave. Dave (Sr.) was the only child born here in this house.
The grown-up sons continued in ranching, though the eldest son, Bert (also names Robert Perkins Strathearn), worked in Los Angeles as a newspaper cartoonist for many years. We have many of Bert’s western paintings on view in the house and in the Visitor Center.
Marion became a nurse, coming back home to live out her years after retirement.
Isabella (Isa) lived here at the ranch in this house for her entire life.
As they got older, Marion and Isa decided to modernize the old kitchen. That redecoration (1959) is what you see today. There are two excellent family portraits in the dining room as well as much earlier ancestors on the walls in the parlor and music room.
The Strathearns were mostly known as cattle ranchers. All the generations were community leaders.