According to Forbes, one of the most expensive ZIP codes in the United States, Rancho Santa Fe, in San Diego County, combines rich history with contemporary comforts to make this a residential area of exceptional charm and beauty. Notable for its many exquisite large-lot planned communities, including The Bridges, The Groves, The Farms, Cielo, The Covenant, and Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe is in fact quite small, with just 3,117 residents (2010). Some of the communities are gated and some estate properties are privately gated; many homes have swimming pools.
What it lacks in population numbers it amply makes up for in affluence, with a median income more than twice that of the entire state of California. Within this area of roughly ten square miles, there are several acclaimed golf courses, and many of its estate-size residences have stunning panoramas of fairways, rolling hills, or, just beyond, the Pacific Ocean.
The traditional home of the Kumeyaay Indians, the area now known as Rancho Santa Fe was later a Spanish pueblo and a Mexican land grant before it was purchased, in 1906, by the Santa Fe Railway. Planted with eucalyptus – intended for railroad ties – and later with citrus, the area was subdivided and began its most ambitious growth in the early 1920s.
Designed by master architects Requa Jackson and Lilian J. Rice, the community was envisioned as a development of country estates centered on the hub of the “Village,” with shops, restaurants, other commercial businesses and the historic Rancho Santa Fe Inn. Their vision provides a context for many of today’s home designs. In 1989, “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe was registered as California Historical Landmark #982 for its status as a historic planned community. A very active Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society profi les the region’s development and early residents.
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