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Rancho Santa Fe Subdivision

The Covenant

Rancho Santa Fe derives its name from the Santa Fe Railroad Company.  In 1906, the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company (a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railroad Company) purchased the San Dieguito Land Grant—a 9,000 acre tract nestled in rolling hills just north of San Diego—from the Don Juan Maria Osuna family, owners of the land since the 1830s.  Intending to use the land as eucalyptus groves to provide wood for railroad ties, the company planted millions of non-native eucalyptus trees which remain a distinctive feature of this master-planned community.

The eucalyptus tree proved too soft for railroad usage, and by the 1920s the Santa Fe Railroad decided to subdivide the ranch and create a community of orchards and estates which would reflect the ranch’s beauty and character.  Their development would be one of the first in the nation to be developed according to a cohesive plan.  In 1922, San Diego native Lillian Rice, one of the first women architects to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley, was commissioned for the project.  Rice created a Spanish-colonial styled village, rechristened "Rancho Santa Fe," where residential, commercial, and natural open spaces quietly interact with miles of equestrian trails.   Her Rancho Santa Fe Inn, civic center, library, school, and other structures remain seamlessly integrated into today’s Rancho Santa Fe Village due to the protective covenant entered into by all Rancho Santa Fe Covenant property owners.

Recorded in 1928 on most of the former San Dieguito Land Grant areas, the Rancho Santa Fe Protective Covenant was created to maintain the beauty and architectural character of Rancho Santa Fe.  The “Covenant” is a term also used to distinguish the properties governed by the Protective Covenant.  Owners of Covenant property are entitled to the services of the Rancho Santa Fe Association in return for compliance with the Protective Covenant’s aesthetics.  Benefits of Covenant ownership include access to 45 miles of private equestrian riding trails, and eligibility for membership approval in the esteemed Rancho Santa Fe Golf and Tennis Club, Rancho Santa Fe Riding Club, and Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club.

At the 2000 census, the total population of Rancho Santa Fe was 3,252 persons with a median household income in excess of $200,000 per annum.

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