By Lindsay Taub
In a day and age when private beachfront property is virtually non-existent in California, one of the state’s most historic ranches is on the market for the first time in decades. One of the last large tracts along the Gaviota Coast, the Royal Rancho descends from the Santa Ynez Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. On its 2,200 acres can be found 15 homes, including the elegant five-bedroom Casa Grande.
The rancho’s storied past dates back to 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo captained two ships to the shores of Rancho Dos Pueblos just 50 years after Columbus discovered the New World. Ranch owners include financier John H. Williams, oil baron Herbert G. Wylie, and Samuel Mosher of the Signal Oil and Gas Company, a meticulous steward who transformed the ranch into a world-class showpiece and welcomed President Harry Truman as well as Hollywood luminaries such as Hal Roach and Walter Pidgeon.
After Mosher’s death, the property sold to German-born Rudolf “Rudi” Schulte, who converted Rancho Dos Pueblos into a private family compound, planting groves of avocado, cherimoya, and macadamia trees among the ranch’s rolling hills, grassy meadows, and trout-filled streams.
“This is more like selling art than real estate,” said Kerry Mormann, the Santa Barbara broker who has the listing. Mormann has brokered numerous trophy properties in Santa Barbara County, including the historic Cojo/Jalama Ranch in 2006, which listed for $155 million and ranks as the largest non-commercial real estate transaction in California history. Says Mormann, “We are looking for a lifestyle buyer, someone who understands the magnificence of the property and how rare coastal real estate like this is.”