Holler Ghost Ranch~

There is a ghost ranch adjacent to The Holler.

It’s in a nature preserve and is named Rancho Lilac.

Rancho Lilac has a interesting history.

It was originally settled as a 2300 acre homestead in 1865.

It passed through several owners over time who turned it into a working cattle ranch.

In 1945 it was purchased by Col. Irving Salomon, an undersecretary to The United Nations who built an extensive rancho home where he hosted rural retreats for world leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Ghandhi, and Golda Meir.

This is the Salomon home ranch complex . There is an abandoned pool and tennis court and a caretaker living on the property. The rancho is currently preserved as an historical landmark.

There is a year round creek running through the property making the habitat critical for wildlife sustenance.

1600 acres of the ranch property have been set aside as a permanent nature preserve.

This is the old road that connects The Holler to the Rancho.

The Rancho is like a time capsule, unique, pristine, and full of precious and vulnerable wild life. We hope it stays protected into the future.

Cheers to you & be careful and safe~

216 thoughts on “Holler Ghost Ranch~

    1. I mixed up the dates, so I am correcting this. We were not affected by the 2017 fire. We evacuated during the 2007 fire in Poway when something like 1000 homes burned, and we saw the devastating effects of another fire that year near The Holler while we were looking at property. We moved into The Holler in June of 2008, after multiple devastating fires in the region the year before.

  1. Spectacular colours – love seeing the world through your lens, Cindy. So much history in this location. If the walls could only speak, what stories they would tell.

    1. I have peeked inside some of it and been inside the Salomon buildings. It is fascinating because it is undisturbed. There are Tiffany fireplaces in some of the houses!

        1. There is another preserve not open to the public in California named Cleary Preserve. It had furniture in the houses and a painting of the family’s daughter still hanging on the wall. I researched and found out the story of the family. Fascinating stuff….. I hope it didn’t burn. It was full of black bears and rattlers.

  2. Timothy Price

    It’s interesting how places like Rancho Lilac are abandoned. We have Ghost Ranch in New Mexico that was the home and studio of Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s on 21,000 acres in north-central New Mexico and is a retreat and education center.

    1. Oh yes! You are a perceptive spotter. The preserve is riddled with wildlife trails, scat and tracks. We pay attention to all of it, and often take the trails as they tend to help us avoid rattlers and poison oak. დ

    1. I do too. I love exploring them and guessing about the history and residents. They are several I have seen in California, like Rancho Lilac, that are closed to the public and left exactly “as is.” These are especially interesting to me because they are authentic დ

    1. Thank you Sheree. It is a really different sort of place to live, and it took a few years to understand and get comfortable with. I think we all, in my family, are grateful we landed here. დ

    1. We are such a different ecosystem than the gorgeous emerald green UK. It is semi-desert here, and the drought is at it’s peak this time of year. Dry as a bone, and worrisome until the November rains come, when everything turns green for Christmas დ

      1. Oh its all very green in the British Isles, when we have any sort of drought (a couple of years ago it was very drey for a couple of months) the grass goes yellow and it all looked very strange.

        1. Yes. I always am amazed by the green especially from the air. It goes on forever and is so beautiful. I was there one summer in a heat wave. It was interesting to see how everyone reacted. დ

    1. You are very smart. I would too. Thankfully it is not for sale and is protected. Salomon’s relatives were going to sell it to developers, but the state bought it from them and set it up as a permanent nature preserve. I am immensely grateful the state did this დ

    1. Someone else mentioned it would make a good movie set. Interestingly, a lot of old time movie stars bought property near here back in the day, John Wayne, June Allison, a bunch more I can’t remember…. I went to an event at June’s house. It is an old classic adobe დ

  3. If those walls could talk. I love places like this and you are lucky to have one next door. Looks like a safe place to be right now. Ghosts don´t carry the virus!

  4. That must be a fascinating place! Looks really like a place, which keeps lots of stories (ghostly?) 👻 It would be lovely to visit there – at night -time 😄 Thank you for sharing lovely photos^^

    1. It would certainly be very scary, but way too dangerous! There are truly tons of rattlesnakes, packs of aggressive coyotes, poison ivy, scorpions and black widows. You definitely need to see where you are going out here and even then it can be dicey. You’d have to make it through all that before you got to the ghosts! 😉 😉

  5. This is so….quietly magical. As if the clock stopped and you can simply absorb all of the history, as well as the stillness of the present. It must have felt like having one foot in the past, and one in the present simultaneously. Great experience to read about, thanks!!

    1. You summarize the feeling of being there perfectly. What a wonderful imagination and writing ability you have. You should come with me for a tour and write about it! დ

      1. Deal! I love an adventure….and as soon as we all feel confident and safe to venture forth beyond “the necessities” we will meet up and discover the mysteries this site will share. Thank you for the lovely compliment! Take good care.

  6. These kind of stories and history always leave me asking more questions. It’s great that the ranch is now a preserve. Beautiful landscape and I’m sure a great place to live especially these days.

  7. You live in a beautiful pocket of nature Cindy. And how fun to have friendly ghosts next door, along with such a large nature preserve. You’re living in my dream setting. ❤ Thanks for sharing the views!

  8. Fascinating bit of history, Cindy. Part of me hates that it was abandoned like that, but I suppose the wildlife is better for not having visitors, ha!

    1. I need to add some more close up photos. I realized I only included distance shots, but my wifi is being difficult with upload now. It is not safe to go into any of the buildings, but I did peek into most of them. They are spooky დ

  9. I have a tendency to want to read all the comments as they are interesting too but there are always so many here and so little time. I loved this. I would be so tempted to want to go look in all the windows and doors. Abandoned places fascinate me especially with so much land around them. Rattlers scare me more than bears. I’m glad you weren’t affected directly by fires but I know everything gets affected indirectly. Ghost towns are interesting and make great stories. I can’t imagine anyone like an Undersecretary abandoning that much of an investment. Interesting!

    1. He didn’t really abandon it. It was inherited by his family who no longer occupied it. Various people lived here and ran cattle herds. The family explored selling it to a developer, and may have succeeded, when the state stepped in and bought it, and set it aside as a nature preserve.
      I have looked in the windows and it is fascinating დ

    1. There is this amazingly dilapidated shack with a satellite disk on it! Cow hands lived in some of these places up until the cows were forced to leave for constantly breaking through the one strand barb wire fences and chewing up entire orchards, including ours! დ

  10. I can only wonder if it is a ‘working’ ghost ranch, Cindy. On dark, stormy nights do you occasionally hear Ghost Riders in the Sky. Like the international retreat part of the story, too. I can imagine some very interesting conversations took place there. –Curt

    1. I actually would brave the rattlers, coyote packs, poison oak and black widows to go there at night if I could talk with the ghosts of Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi! დ

  11. It looks like a lot of places around the World are abandoned. The modern life is concentrated mostly in the huge cities. Sometimes ago I’ve met very interesting thought – in the nearest future countries and states are disappeared and all the life will concentrate in the mega polices.

      1. Cindy, it happens everywhere, not only in US. If you go to blog China Dream or Smartphoto 78, you can find plenty of abandoned places in Canada (Ontario only, I do not say about all huge country) and Germany. It is common tendency in the World.

  12. Wonderful to have silent neighbors, and interesting history here, too, Cindy. Thank goodness for nature preserves, and how pleasant to be next door to one.

  13. Thank you for the very interesting post complete with wonderful photos. It is a place I could very easily live in. Too bad it is now a ghost town. But what a neat place to take a walk and be in nature. Have a great weekend. “”__””

      1. What a beautiful place to live, Cindy. I often think of those former days but a buckboard and horse don’t appeal to me much. We have a tourist town called Buckskin Joe near the Royal Gorge bridge near Canon City, CO. It was originally built as a movie set in the 1950s to film Western films. The boardwalk, the jail, shops, etc. I recall taking a ride in the stage coach – so bumpy and dusty. But it was cool to conjure up life there with the “bad” guys walking into the saloon by the swinging doors! We traveled to many ghost towns when I lived there. A slice of history. Thanks for your post replete with memories!

        1. There are so many fascinating old west ghost towns in the American west. I have been to many, but so many more beckon. They are all magical places to visit and to step back in time to the days of the pioneers. Happy you have experienced this my friend & cheers to you დ

          1. Cindy, we used to camp and hike in the mountains about 45 min. away in Pueblo, CO and even hiked up to an abandoned silver mine and went inside. My mother was not happy to know this when she found out. Pregnant with her 4th child at the time, she opted to stay in the car. However, my Dad’s sense of adventure brought us back to the silver mine a few times but not inside since it had been abandoned. That spirit of adventure remains with me today. Happy hiking to you. oxox

                  1. Cindy, my Jeep could drive the dirt road and over pot holes. I imagine you have something similar. The Holler is a wonderful refuge from life too. Do you have issues with WiFi in such a remote area? I imagine you protect yourself from those rattle snakes which can be mean. Your photos are gorgeous. Be well. oxox

                    1. Thank you Maryann. Your jeep would like it here. We do have four wheel drive, but don’t bring vehicles in the preserve. It is all on foot. Funny, you should mention wifi. It used to be horrendously bad with ATT. But now we are connected with line of sight service connected to a mountain which works well until the snows come and ice things up. It was off yesterday however with no snow on the horizon! 😉

                    2. Cindy, when it works, technology is great. You really rough it when you don’t have wifi, don’t you. As long as I have a good book, it am fine. I assume tv reception is also not the best. Be well. oxox

    1. Yes. It is bittersweet, but thankfully it didn’t get turned into a housing development which was in the plans before the state took it over and turned it into a nature preserve დ

  14. What a beautiful area and such an interesting story behind the ranch. It seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere. How in the world did those famous people get to the ranch?

  15. Looks like the settlers have just arrived there. Wonderful preservation work. Lets hope it will stay this way. Thank you for sharing the information about another nature gem, Cindy. Best wishes, Michael

  16. Oooh! A ghost ranch! Would love to have had chance to visit that! I have a thing for abandoned (and sometimes slightly illegal lol) places. The pandemic has put a stop to much of my in-person exploring and adventuring unfortunately. You get to see some amazing places in your part of the world though!

    1. I also, “have a thing for abandoned, and sometimes slightly illegal places.”
      How did you know this was, “slightly illegal?”
      We should definitely hike together, and do slightly illegal stuff, as long as Wolfie & Herbert (the cat) are there to protect us.
      It is so good to hear from you დ

  17. It has been sad to see so much farm land go missing. But at least one of the older buildings is being turned into (I think a realtors office). Sorry has it that a child who lived there couldn’t go out, so a sort of 360 view Widow’s Walk room was built on top of the house. I’m not sure if the child had to be carried up the stairs… I wonder if they’ll also allow folks a little look see when it gets renovated and back in use?

    Stay safe and sane, Jules

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