Olivas Adobe - Exterior

Fountain Gate

Enter Olivas Adobe Historical Park by the fountain gate. The succulent filled fountain is a beautiful place to view the house, the rose garden, the exhibit building and memorial grove.

Succulent Fountain

Richard Senate Exhibit Building

The Olivas Adobe visitors center, named after the veteran local historian and author of numerous books, houses rotating displays of the Rancho Period of California history and the gift shop.

Exterior of the Exhibit Building

The Ray & Jessie Monk Volunteer Rose Garden

"To our many constant gardeners who keep the Olivas Adobe in bloom."

The Ventura Rose Society hosts a free celebration of the garden every year on Mothers Day (2nd Sunday in May) as part of the Murals and Roses special event. Visit the Olivas Adobe - Events page for details.

Rose garden shaded by trees

Memorial Grove & Bell Gate

The memorial grove of 76 trees, located outside the courtyard and beyond the bell gate and courtyard, was planted in 1976 during the nation's bicentennial.

A landscaped lane with an architectural door frame

The Olivas Owls

Each year from February to May, a pair of great horned owls returns to nest in a eucalyptus tree. A display regarding the owls is located in the Richard Senate Exhibit Hall.

Two great horned owls


Why was this large courtyard built? For protection? Possibly. But, it also provided the Olivas family with privacy and provided an ideal setting for parties - fiestas! Photo Credit: Jim Greaves.

Olivas Adobe Courtyard with benches

Herb Garden

The Olivas herb garden is representative of the kind of garden the Olivas family would have maintained. 

It is divided into 5 sections:

  1. Culinary - for Flavoring Foods
  2. Strewing - to Freshen Clothes, Floors and Carpets
  3. Utility - for Dyes and Pest Control
  4. Medicinal - for Relief and Healing
  5. Food - to Grow Edible Vegetables

Find more information on the plants in the historically accurate herb garden as well as recipe favorites by the Olivas Adobe Historical Interpreters:

Plants fenced in rows

Horno, Cauldron & Fire Pit

Most of the cooking for the family and staff was done out-of-doors rather than in the indoors kitchen. Much of the cooking was done on the open fire pit, including the use of a cauldron for industrial purposes such as rendering animal fat or candlemaking.

The horno or outdoor oven served the baking needs for the Olivas family. On days when baking was required, a fire was built in the oven early in the morning. When the fire had burned down to coals, the coals were raked out and the dish to be baked was placed inside. The wooden door was set in place to trap heat until the dish was cooked. Once heated, the horno could be used to bake bread, enchiladas, and other dishes all day long.

The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union Number 4 constructed the courtyard replica of an outdoor baking oven (horno) as a community service project for the union's apprentice program (apprentice craftsmen: John Anderson, Sean Marshall, and Alfonso Morales under the supervision of Field Representative Marcelo Crespi). Ron Bach Construction and Newton Building Materials donated materials and supplies.

Olivas Adobe Horno - courtyard with leaves and flowering bush

Mud Pit

The mud pit, source of the adobe bricks that built the Olivas Adobe. Today, the mud pit is used for brick making during Interpretive Outreach Programs for area schools.

Children playing in a mud pit

Historic Olivas Fuchsias

Rebecca Olivas de la Riva, the adobe founders' 21st child and last member of the Olivas family to live in the Adobe, planted 5 fuchsias in the front of the house in 1899, 3 of which still thrive. The British Fuchsia Society has documented them as the world's oldest, still flowering fuchsia - a hardy "Schiller" variety with white petals around a magenta sepal. The shrub found from Mexico to South America was named fuchsia after the botanist Leonhart Fuchs in 1703.

Fuschia flowers on surface

Olivas Grape Arbor

Olivas planted these descendants of original Mission San Buenaventura vines, by way of Ojai's Tico Ranch in the 1860s, as promised in the petition for his land grant. The small, sweet, purple and thick-skinned Mission grape may be of Chilean or Mexican origin.

Olivas Hydrangea

Iva Reeder, Olivas Adobe housekeeper to Max Fleischman, planted this unknown variety of Asian origin in 1928. It blooms from spring to autumn.

Cecil Bruner Rose

In 1928 Iva Reeder, Olivas Adobe housekeeper to Max Fleischman, planted this ever blooming hybrid tea variety, also called a "Sweetheart Rose" for its large sprays of small light pink buds.

Farm Implements at Olivas Adobe

Chisel Plow

Prepared soil for planting - Pulled by mule team.

Walnut Sheller

Removed nut husks or hulls.

Water Tank

Provided water to the cattle and sheep - Originally made from wood.


For heating iron for horseshoes.

Four-Bar Spring Tooth Harrow

Prepared seedbeds for beans, lettuce and celery - Pulled by mules.

Van Brunt Grain Drill

Planted seed at controlled depths in specified amounts - Lever settings could adjust spacing of furrows for a variety of crops.

Buck Rake

Comb device to gather hay, wheat, barley and Sudan grass (Sorghum) 1870-1880s - Pulled by mule team.

Four-Row Bean Planter

Dug furrows, planted seeds and covered them with soil - Built by Ventura Manufacturing and Implement (VMI), Front Street, Ventura - Pulled by mule team.

Two-Row Seed Planter