January 25, 2002

"Do You Know Mr. California?


Friends of Carrillo (Leo) Ranch

Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotarian, Tom Freese, Community Director, presented a check to Gene Chartier, board member of the Friends of (Leo) Carrillo Ranch, for $1,000.00. The money will help them in their innovative teaching of "Art & California History," to all the students in Carlsbad's fourth grades.

The Carlsbad schools do not provide art for this age child but through the Friends program, just last year, one thousand students in 10 local schools in three school districts received the lessons. Thirty-one "Best-Of-Class" children's winning artworks are shown at www.carrillo-ranch.org, "Student Art 2001."

Gary Dotson, Youth Committee of the Carlsbad High-Noon Rotarians, with art students Jason Bernardino and Jaclyn Wolfe. Class is provided by Friends of Carrillo Ranch.

People are more interested in their history and heritage since 9-11. Only we, with strands of white hair, remember the much loved movie star, Leo Carrillo as Poncho on the, "Cisco Kid." We remember the warmth with which he always gave his love and time to be available for parades and being with the people of this state.

But, most people, even older ones, do not know these things about Leo Carrillo:

1. He was California's first, most dedicated and influential environmentalist, conservationist and historic preservationist.

2. Governor Edmund G. Brown designated him "Mr. California," an ambassador of goodwill.

3. Carrillo was Earl Warren's campaign manager in the successful race for Governor (later a U.S. Supreme Court Judge).

4. Warren appointed Carrillo to the State Beaches and Parks Commission where he served vigorously for 18 years.

5. His favorite projects included the purchase and restoration of the Olvera Street Adobe in Los Angeles and the creation of the Anzo-Borrego Dessert State Park in San Diego County.

6. Carrillo was a Founding Director of the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum in Arcadia.

7. Commissioner Carrillo's greatest socio-cultural achievement was the acquisition of San Simeon - the truly awesome Hearst Castle - north of Cam-bria. He leaned heavily on old, strong ties with the Hearst empire, and urged family members to go forward with this magnificently generous gift.

8. For many years, Carlsbad was his home and it was here, he built his version of the "Rancheros" and Haciendas of the Spanish days in San Diego County.

9. Few people knew at the time that one of Leo's adobe cottages was a secret retreat away from the prying lens of Hollywood photographers for lovers Clark Gable and Carole Lomard. At the time, Gable was married, and MGM's Louis B. Mayer tried everything to keep the two stars apart, fearing a public scandal and backlash.

10. Fifteen Black and White Photo's of the Carrillo Ranch are in the Carlsbad Historical Society.

11. Carrillo's contributions were recognized forevermore by a stretch of beach near Malibu being named in his honor.

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