Sespe Ranch, Bunkhouse, 2896 Telegraph Road, Fillmore, Ventura County, CA
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2896 Telegraph Road, Fillmore, CA
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS CA-2687-A
Building/structure dates: 1911 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1937 subsequent work
This structure was relocated in 1937.
Significance: The Sespe Ranch Bunkhouse is an historically significant structure due to its association with the Ventura County citrus industry between 1910-1940. As a structure designed to house the ranch's unmarried Caucasian male citrus laborers, it represents one of the very earliest facilities to include such modern amenities as indoor plumbing, cooking facilities, and electric lights. As such, it represents a major turning point in the evolution of housing for Southern California's citrus laborers. The Bunkhouse is a very good, and perhaps the last, remaining example of the historical evolution of citrus workers' housing during the early decades of the twentieth-century. The Sespe Ranch Bunkhouse is also historically significant for its association with Sespe Ranch owner Keith Spalding, who commissioned the design and construction of the structure. Heir to the Spalding family of baseball and sporting goods fame, Spalding served as the head of several industrial corporations with ties to the East Coast, as well as influential cultural associations in Southern California. Perhaps influenced by the ideas of Progressivism and the County Life Movement which contributed to the industrialization of agriculture from 1900-1930, Spalding was one of the most prosperous and successful agribusiness men in Ventura County between 1910-1911, when the bunkhouse was designed and constructed, until his death in 1961. At the time the bunkhouse came into existence, the Sespe Ranch, under Spalding's direction, had become one of the largest privately owned producers of lemons in the state, as well as one of the largest private producers of citrus in the country. The Sespe Ranch Bunkhouse can also be considered historically significant due to its design and association with the Pasadena architectural firm of Greene and Greene. As undisputed master craftsman and renowned Southern California architects, Charles and Henry Greene were pioneers among the Arts and Crats and Craftsman styles. Although not directly designed by the Greene brothers, the Bunkhouse's significance in this regard is only slightly diminished, as it was a product of a highly respected and innovative architectural firm. In an architectural context, the bunkhouse is a good example of a Greene and Greene utilitarian design, created for citrus workers' housing during the first decade of the twentieth-century.
Gohlich, Edward, Photographer
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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