Education & Advocacy
In 1985, a hidden treasure was discovered in an undeveloped valley in southeast Carlsbad. An old Spanish-style rancho, owned by the City of Carlsbad, was waiting its turn to be developed as a community park. It was received by the city in 1977 under the Quimby Act, which requires developers to dedicate acreage per capita for parkland.
Anxious to learn more about this sleeping beauty, a group of citizens asked for an opportunity to see it. The site was closed to the public for safety reasons but a Parks Department employee graciously agreed to give them a tour.
The old rancho had been built by Hollywood Actor and Preservationist Leo Carrillo, and its future potential was instantly obvious. In 1989, as word spread and interest developed throughout the community, the Carlsbad City Council appointed a volunteer curator to research the history of the property and its owners. The rich story of Rancho de los Quiotes, now called Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, began to unfold.
In 1990, Carlsbad resident Alan Kindle established a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational corporation called the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc. Its mission was designed to help the city plan and develop Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park.
Alan’s vision for the Friends included public outreach, education and a special program for fourth grade students to learn California history through hands-on art projects. He also recognized the value of establishing a working relationship with the city as advocates concerning promotion of park development and fundraising. The city would be able to pursue large Federal, State and County grants and the Friends would be in a position to seek smaller funds from individuals, businesses and private sources unable to offer grants to municipalities. This two-pronged campaign could be helpful toward reaching a common goal.
In the same year the Friends was created, the city established The Carrillo Ranch Trust Fund under Section 2.36.090(d) of the Carlsbad Municipal Code. This would allow gifts of cash, artifacts and memorabilia to be accepted for purposes relating to the development, operation and maintenance of the Carrillo Ranch.
In 1992, the Friends published an informative 28 page booklet, titled “An Introduction to Carrillo Ranch.” Many reprints have been produced over the years and it is still available today for purchase at the ranch Visitor Center. Four years later in 1996, the story of Carrillo Ranch reached the World Wide Web when the Friends launched its first website.
The Friends, along with its supporters, continued to work toward the goal of allowing the entire community to enjoy this historic treasure. Despite some inevitable setbacks and disappointments, an attitude of patient persistence prevailed. In 1996, the Friends Board and the city’s volunteer curator, along with other interested members of the community, were invited to participate in the drafting of the award-winning Leo Carrillo Ranch Park Master Plan.
Thanks to Alan’s foresight, and the advocacy efforts of the entire Board of Directors, the Friends continue to be actively involved in educational programming, project funding and historic structure restoration today.
The Friends serve as the preservation easement holder on the barn, and provided guidance and feedback to city staff on the recently completed stables restoration and chicken coop reconstruction.
In 2015, the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc. proudly celebrated more than 25 years of education, outreach and community service.