Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society walking tour focus of unique Nativity School project


By Karen Billing

Nativity School fourth graders launched an eight-week project at the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society on Sept. 5. The youngsters will be filming a narration of the center’s walking tour.

Their work will be accessible on the Historical Society’s walking tour pamphlet as a QR (quick response) code—visitors will be able to scan the code and listen to narration and history provided by the fourth grade students.

Several schools around the country have been doing these kinds of projects with their local historical societies.

“We like to do anything that will get kids to look at something that will be educational, understand Lilian Rice architecture, the Spanish colonial revival and understanding and gaining an appreciation for what a historical society does,” said Dana Evanson.

Teacher Daniel Costa was the brains behind the project, looking for ways to make his instruction of California history a little more interactive and exciting.

“They’re all just bouncing off the walls, they’re so excited to learn,” Evanson said.

The Historical Society’s walking tour starts at the historic La Flecha house and leads visitors to the original Santa Fe Land Improvement Company office, the Lilian Rice rowhouses, the original school, the original garden club and The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, just to name just a few stops. The students will learn all about each location and provide history and interesting information.

“In eight weeks, they should all be veterans,” Evanson said.

The students’ first visit last week had them taking a look at the archives, seeing how delicate some of the material is and understanding that if they don’t take good care of it, it won’t exist.

“This Historical Society is theirs,” said Evanson. “The buildings in Rancho Santa Fe are theirs and they are going to have to be the ones who help preserve it.”