Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society sees boost in demand for community tours


By Karen Billing

There has been a recent boost in Rancho Santa Fe tourism, according to the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society. The group is putting its new walking tour brochures to steady use.

The recently updated brochure features photos of what the buildings on the RSF tour looked like in the past and present, and a handy map of the 16 sites and destinations.

“[The brochures] enable us to handle tours,” said Joanne Fishman, vice president of the Historical Society board. “Dana (Evanson, the society’s administrator) can take people on group tours but people can also go on a self-guided tour with the brochures. We’ve had an influx of tourism into the village which is exciting to see.”

Evanson said they have had tour participants from Orange County and Los Angeles, snowbirds from Del Mar and even some San Diegans.

One of the first stops on the tour is the home of the Historical Society itself, the La Flecha House built in 1923, one of architect Lilian Rice’s first designs. Visitors can also check out the original RSF Garden Club location, the board and batten building on the corner of El Tordo and Avenida de Acacias, and Rancho Santa Fe’s old post office, which is now the RSF Association’s office.

Many sites, such as the Hilton House (current home of the RSF Senior Center) and The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, appear largely untouched and well preserved in their original state.

Recent visitors have sent notes of thanks to Evanson. One visitor, Linda Sommer, stopped by the Historical Society and learned all about Rice before taking a tour with her friend.

“We walked all over town and ended up eating at The Inn,” wrote Sommer. “We had a very leisurely lunch, which was lovely, and enjoyed looking at all the beautiful plants. I did end up buying two books at the library too.”

Sommer wrote that she aims to visit the Covenant again with her husband, as well as other friends, one of whom is an architect and was interested in Rice.

Evanson said another group of visitors from Redlands are planning a family reunion trip to learn all about the area’s history.

The RSF Historical Society will again host its home tour on July 12 from 1-4 p.m. The tour will feature looks into the five “Row Houses” on Paseo Delicias.

To arrange a group tour, visit To take a self-guided tour, simply stop by the Historical Society and pick up a brochure at 6063 La Flecha.