The site of the Rancho Buena Vista adobe was once the site of an ancient Native American Village. The Luiseno and Diegueno tribes called this area their home. After white folks took over and attempted to push Christianity on the Natives, the tribes were eventually taken over. By 1845, Felipe Subria petitioned Pio Pico for the Buena Vista land.
Previously Subria had squatted on the land for a decade. In 1846, he was granted 1184 acres of land that eventually became known as Rancho Buena Vista. He built a small adobe and barn initially where he raised sheep and cattle. Sadly, nothing of the original foundation remains today.
In 1852 a man named Jesus Machedo purchased the home for $3,000. He is responsible for constructing the Spanish-style adobe that we see today. He also constructed the first irrigation system for the ranch. He dammed the creek so he could have a reservoir of water year-round. He also dug a well. On the land, he grew orchards, and engaged in small scale farming along with raising some livestock.
Eventually Ysidora Bandini, of the famous Bandini family, was given the home as a wedding gift. Ysadora and her husband, George, made many changes and upgrades to the home. After George passed away the home was sold to Helen Knight, an heiressto the Mary McKinney Gold Mine. Later MGM producer Harry Pollard purchased the home with his wife Margarita Fischer Pollard. Harry owned Pollard Pictures that produced several silent films. Margarita was a well known actress in silent films and they often worked together.
The final owner sold it to the City of Vista for $1 million. After the purchase, a core of volunteers built a museum from scratch. It was proposed to use the property as a wedding venue, and other events, for most of the income to offset maintenance costs. To this date, the Friends of Rancho Buena Vista, a volunteer non-profit group manages the gift shop and museum for tours.
We were told when we visited that this home is allegedly haunted with many creepy stories. There is said to be a body buried in the walls of one of the rooms! Visit the place and see if you feel anything!