Sikes History

Built around 1870, the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead features one of the oldest surviving structures in North San Diego County, and one of the few remaining adobes in the region. The farmstead represents both a legacy of 19th Century California and our pioneer farming history.

Located in San Diego, at the gateway to the San Pasqual Agricultural Preserve, the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is State Point of Historical Interest No. SDI-013, and a registered City of San Diego Historical Landmark. It is part of the San Dieguito River Park, a 55-mile open space greenway and trail system that runs the length of the San Dieguito River watershed from Volcan Mountain in Julian to the ocean at Del Mar.

Zenas Sikes and his family were among the earliest families to come to California during the Gold Rush. Zenas Sikes married Eliza Burrell in 1853 and settled in Santa Clara County, becoming established farmers. In 1870, they moved into San Diego County along with their six children, to settle on 2,400 acres parceled from the former Mexican Land Grant, Rancho San Bernardo.

The Sikes family turned their purchase into productive farmlands, instrumental to the growth of the town of Bernardo, and later the community of Escondido, as well as the infant city of San Diego. “King Grain,” the cash crop of 1880’s and 1890’s, was wheat. Along with other wheat farmers of San Diego County, the Sikes shipped their “California White Velvet” variety of wheat from San Diego to England. As the families fortunes improved, the rustic adobe was expanded into a seven-room, Victorian farmhouse.

A wealth of information exists about the Sikes family, their daily activities, their personal histories, their possessions and their farm implements, making the site rich with interpretive opportunities. The house is open to the public through docent tours. Our goal is to interpret the family’s daily life at the farmstead, from 1870 to 1899.

Based on archaeology and research, the adobe and farmhouse were restored in 2004. Following the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, only the adobe walls survived and the farmhouse was reconstructed. The farmhouse now has a reconstructed Adobe creamery, as well as an interpretive orchard and kitchen gardens. Hikers can take the Coast to Crest Trail from Sikes Adobe to nearby Mule Hill, the site of an 1846 Mexican-American War battle and California registered landmark.