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Carlsbad Wins State Historic Preservation Award

The award was given to the city for work done transforming a historic barn at Leo Carrillo Ranch into a theater for park visitors.

The City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department received a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award at a ceremony held in Sacramento Nov. 29, for its work to restore a barn at the city’s Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park.

The department was honored by the state’s Office of Historic Preservation for the project, which turned the barn into a theater for park visitors to experience cultural programs related to the ranch’s rich history.  

The barn, originally constructed in 1943, was repaired and restored primarily through grant monies and volunteer support, incorporating as much of its original material and infrastructure as possible. It was then retrofitted with audio and video equipment and furniture to create a theater.

Restoration construction costs were $485,307, and the project was completed in August, 2011. 

Once a 2,538-acre working rancho, the ranch was the former home of actor and State Parks Commissioner Leo Carrillo. Carrillo saw the ranch as a connection to his Spanish ancestry and realization of his dream to be a real vaquero (cowboy) like the ones he played on screen. The ranch is now owned and managed by the City of Carlsbad as a 27-acre historic park, and many of its original adobe structures remain intact. It is toured by thousands every year, including hundreds of children from local schools who will now have the chance to learn even more about Leo Carrillo and the history of the property through exhibits and film screenings in the new theater. 

“It is a great honor to accept this award on behalf of all of the City of Carlsbad staff and volunteers who worked so hard on this restoration project” said Chris Hazeltine, director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department. “The renovated barn and theater will serve as a historical and cultural resource for Carlsbad residents and visitors young and old.” 

Established in 1986, the Governor's Historic Preservation Awards are presented annually under the sponsorship of the State Office of Historic Preservation and California State Parks to individuals, organizations, companies and public agencies whose contributions demonstrate notable achievements in preserving the heritage of California. The purpose of the awards is to recognize meaningful achievements in historic preservation through increased public awareness, appreciation and support for historic preservation throughout the state. 

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free docent led tours are held Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Sunday at noon and 2 p.m. To find out about upcoming events at the park, including programs in the historic barn theater, visit the city’s website at carlsbadca.gov/parksandrec.

–City of Carlsbad

JC December 11, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Thank you, Alan (may you rest in peace) and Joan Kindle. Without your tireless, tenacious efforts to preserve this historic spot, it would likely have been razed and become a gated community called...(drum roll)...Carillo Ranch.
Christine Bevilacqua December 11, 2012 at 03:28 PM
This is a great success story of the preservation of Carlsbad's history for future generations! BUT...WE WILL NEVER SEE A STORY LIKE THIS ABOUT THE HISTORIC MARRON ADOBE OR QUARRY CREEK PRESERVE AND WATERFALL IF THE CITY ALLOWS DEVELOPERS TO CRAM HUNDREDS OF HOMES (TWICE AS MANY AS IT IS ZONED FOR) DON'T LET OUR HISTORY BE BULLDOZED!! HELP PUSH CITY COUNCIL TO AGREE WITH THE PROPOSED COMPROMISE BY PRESERVE CALAVERA FOLKS!!
Andrea Bearden-Kuhns December 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM
As a local, I took an out-of-town friend here last month. We both enjoyed the theatre, the movie and a cool place to duck in out of the heat. Many photo opportunities here, but you must register when you first arrive and state whether you are an amateur of pro with a model. You will be given a badge/number to be returned at the end of your stay. Quiet, peaceful and a joy to visit.
Andrea Bearden-Kuhns December 11, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Preserve Calavera does a great job - at least El Salto won't be contained underground. This waterfall is such a unique treasure as is the historic adobe - not to mention the wonderful fields and trails in that area. As a dog owner, the loss of open space in Carlsbad is unfortunate - still hoping to get Village H trail open.

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