This Adobe was primarily owned by two families throughout its long history: the Olivas family and the Fleischmann family. It is one of the few two-story Monterey style California Adobes still in existence.
Not unlike the Adobe Catalina Verdugo, the original owner of the Adobe, Don Raymundo Olivas, was a soldier with the Mexican Army. When he retired from his service at the Presidio of Santa Barbara, he requested a land grant and was awarded half of Rancho San Miguel, a 4694-acre ranch in Ventura county.
The other half went to his friend and business partner Felipe Lorenzana who later sold the portion to Dixie W. Thompson (1865), a well known Californian personality who turned the land into the world’s largest bean farm (and made millions).
For many years, Don Raymundo Olivas raised sheep and cattle and made fortune through some rather shrewd business deals. During this period, the Adobe was known for the lavish and energetic parties hosted by the Olivas family.
In local legend, storytellers tell of one such party where guests were attacked by robbers who came looking for a chest of gold that was hidden somewhere in the house. These robbers made off with $75,000 in $20 gold pieces that they later buried and lost. Treasure hunters still speculate about the whereabouts of this lost chest of gold even today.
The Olivas family sold the Adobe in 1899 and it eventually made its way into the hands of millionaire Max Fleischmann (of Fleischmann Yeast and Margarine fame); he used the Adobe as a hunting lodge. Most of the furniture in the building comes from the Fleischmann era, who donated the house to the City of San Buenaventura in 1963.
When once questioned why he was so generous with his wealth, Fleischmann responded, “A millionaire doesn’t deserve a damn bit of praise for using whatever money he has to help other people. He deserves a lot of discredit if he doesn’t.”
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