Plan your visit
Step into the past with weekend docent-led tours
While the Olivas Adobe grounds are open daily and free from 10 am to 4 pm, the Adobe, Exhibit Hall and Gift Shop are open only on Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 4 pm
Last tour begins 3 pm
Admission: Adults $5, Child under 12/Senior 65+ $3
Child under 4 Free
Family of four $10, each additional member $3
Special Group Tours by Appointment Contact: 805/658-4728
Before your visit download Olivas Adobe brochure and take a virtual tour of the house and grounds below
Take a Virtual Tour of the Olivas Adobe & Historical Park
The Olivas Parks Grounds are open daily - free admission
Enter Olivas AdobeHistorical Park by the fountain gate. The fountain is a beautiful place to view the house, the rose garden, the exhibit building and memorial grove.
Richard Senate Exhibit Building
The Olivas Adobe visitors center, named after the veteran local historian and author of numerous books, houses rotating displays of the Rancho Period of California history and the gift shop, which is open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm, and where tickets may be purchased to tour the adobe.
The Ray and Jessie Monk Volunteer Rose Garden
"To our many constant gardeners who keep the Olivas Adobe in bloom"
The Ventura Rose Society hosts a free celebration of the garden every year on Mothers Day (2nd Sunday in May) as part of the Murals & Roses special event.
Memorial Grove & Bell Gate
The memorial grove of 76 trees, located outside the courtyard and beyond the bell gate and courtyard, was planted in 1976 during the nation's bicentennial.
The Olivas Owls
Each year from February to May, a pair of great horned owls returns to nest in an eucalyptus trees. A display regarding the owls is located in the Richard Senate Exhibit Hall. Click this link for a PHOTO GALLERY of the owls and other park birds taken by visitors to the Olivas Adobe.
Why was this large courtyard built? For protection? Possibly. But, it also provided the Olivas family with privacy and provided an ideal setting for parties - fiestas! Photo Credit: Jim Greaves
The Olivas herb garden is representative of the kind of garden the Olivas family would have maintained. It is divided into five sections:
CULINARY - For flavoring foods
STREWING - To freshen clothes, floors and carpets
UTILITY - For dyes and pest control
MEDICINAL - For relief and healing
FOOD - To grow edible vegetables
Click links below for more information on the plants in the historically accurate herb garden as well as recipe favorites by the Olivas Adobe Historical Interpreters:
Horno, Cauldron and Fire Pit
Most of the cooking for the family and staff was done out-of-doors rather than in the indoors kitchen. Much of the cooking was done on the open fire pit, including the use of a cauldron for industrial purposes such as rendering animal fat or candlemaking.
The horno or outdoor oven served the baking needs for the Olivas family. On days when baking was required, a fire was built in the oven early in the morning. When the fire had burned down to coals, the coals were raked out and the dish to be baked was placed inside. The wooden door was set in place to trap heat until the dish was cooked. Once heated, the horno could be used to bake bread, enchiladas, and other dishes all day long.
The Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 4 constructed the courtyard replica of an outdoor baking oven (horno) as a community service project for the union's apprentice program (apprentice craftsmen: John Anderson, Sean Marshall, and Alfonso Morales under the supervision of Field Representative Marcelo Crespi). Ron Bach Construction and Newton Building Materials donated materials and supplies.
The mud pit, source of the abobe bricks that built the Olivas Adobe. Today, the mud pit is used for brick making during school outreach programs.
Historic Olivas Fuchsias
Rebecca Olivas de la Riva, the adobe founders’ twenty-first child and last member of the Olivas family to live in the Adobe, planted five fuschsias in the front of the house in 1899, three of which still thrive. The British Fuchsia Society has documented them as the world's oldest, still flowering fuchsia – a hardy “Schiller” variety with white petals around a magenta sepal. The shrub found from Mexico to South America was named fuchsia after the botanist Leonhart Fuchs in 1703. Click here for the Olivas historic flowers panels.
Olivas Grape Arbor
Olivas planted these descendants of original Mission San Buenaventura vines, by way of Ojai’s Tico Ranch in the 1860s, as promised in the petition for his land grant. The small, sweet, purple and thick-skinned Mission grape may be of Chilean or Mexican origin.
Iva Reeder, Olivas Adobe housekeeper to Max Fleischman, planted this unknown variety of Asian origin in 1928. It blooms from spring to autumn.
Cecil Bruner Rose
In 1928 Iva Reeder, Olivas Adobe housekeeper to Max Fleischman, planted this ever blooming hybrid tea variety, also called a “Sweetheart Rose” for its large sprays of small light pink buds.
Farm implements at Olivas Adobe
Chisel Plow -Prepared soil for planting - Pulled by mule team
Walnut Sheller - Removed nut husks or hulls
Water Tank - Provided water to the cattle and sheep - Originally made from wood
Forge - For heating iron for horseshoes
Four-Bar Spring Tooth Harrow - Prepared seedbeds for beans, lettuce and celery - Pulled by mules
Van Brunt Grain Drill - Planted seed at controlled depths in specified amounts - Lever settings could adjust spacing of furrows for a variety of crops
Buck Rake - Comb device to gather hay, wheat, barley and Sudan grass (Sorghum) 1870-80s - Pulled by mule team
Four-Row Bean Planter - Dug furrows, planted seeds and covered them with soil - Built by Ventura Manufacturing and Implement (VMI), Front Street, Ventura - Pulled by mule team
Two-Row Seed Planter
Adobe House - Admission Fee Required
The Olivas home is a nine-room, Monterey style house. Construction was begun in 1841, with a one story structure and continued over the years until 1852. The home is open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm: Purchase tickets in the Gift Shop.
Every hacienda on every rancho had a room devoted to sewing. All of the clothing worn on the rancho had to be hand made. Imagine women sewing here, mending and embroidering -- all under the watchful eye of Doña Teodora, Don Raymundo's wife. Sewing was hard, monotonous work, and required a great deal of time and effort.
This room is believed to be the main dining room for the Olivas family. However, it was also the entertainment center of Max Fleischmann, the last man to own the house and maintain it as a private residence. Mr. Fleischmann bought the property in 1927. After his death in 1951, the Fleischmann Foundation gave the Adobe to the City of Ventura with the provision that it be used as a living history museum. Therefore, this room is kept as Mr. Fleischmann left it as a memorial for his gift to the city.
Parlor or La Sala
In the parlor or "La Sala" visitors were greeted and entertained with polite conversation and music. Here Don Raymundo played cards, his daughters conversed with their suitors, and travelers exchanged the latest news, such as the price of cattle and wool, world affairs, and local politics.
Although much of the cooking was done out of doors, the kitchen was a room of constant activity. The meals of the day would have been prepared by skilled Chumash servants. Beef, mutton, chicken, vegetables and fruits were important parts of the menu, as well as breads and stone ground corn tortillas. During fiestas, hundreds of meals were served, and the kitchen was a place of nonstop preparations.
Don Raymundo's eight daughters slept in this room. It was accepted in those days that more than one person slept in a bed, and custom dictated that daughters slept near their parents. Young marriages were common, so it is unlikely that all eight girls would have been present at one time. Don Raymundo's 13 sons may have slept in rooms enclosed on each end of the balcony or in the small adobe building across the courtyard.
This room was carefully attended by the servants and family. Here the pacing footsteps of Don Raymundo echoed as he pondered the effects of the floods of 1860 and the terrible drought and economic depression of 1861 - 1862. It is believed that Don Raymundo died in this room on February 24, 1879 at almost 70 years of age.
The family chapel was the spiritual center of the Rancho. Weddings, baptisms and daily prayers made this an active room, where the flicker of votive candles and the hushed whisper of prayer would fill it each night before the family retired.