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Local docent becomes best friend of San Miguel’s Rios-Caladonia Adobe

Posted: Monday, Feb 27th, 2012

OLD FRIEND – Friends of the Adobe president Ron Domingos is a docent for the Rios-Caledonia Adobe as well as a docent for the Carnegie Museum in Paso Robles. Pictured, the adobe shines with the help of its many friends and supporters.

Friends of the Adobe, a nonprofit organization, recently held its annual meeting and announced Ron Domingos as their new president.

Domingos, who not only acts as a docent for the Rios-Caledonia Adobe, is also a

docent for the Carnegie Museum in Paso Robles.

A multi-talented individual who has produced a CD of his own guitar music, Domingos serenades guests at the Adobe with pleasant guitar music during their tours.

And that's not all that is new at the Adobe.  

The 106 jars of cactus jelly that made recently by the Friends of the Adobe have sold out, so they quickly heated up the stove

and made more. A fresh, new batch of 83 was completed this past week and is ready for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or whatever the user may choose.

The tours of fourth-graders visiting the Mission San Miguel and the old Adobe have kept the docents busy. New signage at the Adobe is being addressed. In addition, future events such as a Car Show on June 2 with displays and sales by Santa Lucia Rockhounds and the "Candlelight Tour of the Old Adobe, With Ghost Stories" on Oct. 27 are in the works.

Visit the historic adobe, built in 1835 – just off Highway 101 at the first San Miguel exit. Volunteers are always welcome at the adobe. Please call 467-3357 to leave a name and phone number if interested.

History of

the adobe

Built in 1835 by local indians, it was initially part of the properties of Mission San Miguel de Archangel. Petronilo Rios supervised the construction of the two-story adobe covered with white plaster made from lime, river sand and animal hair. At the time, he was a corporal who commanded the artillery detachment of eight men from the San Francisco Military District to guard the mission and commander of artillery at the presidio in Monterey.

The timbers for the fourteen-foot rafters were sawn from trees transported to the site from Cambria and tied together by leather straps.

In 1846 William Reed, Miguel Garcia, and Rios bought the San Miguel rancho from Pio Pico, Governor of the Mexican Nation. It was an interesting transaction because the purchase was several days before California became part of the United States. Rios and his wife, Catarina Avila, had 12 children and moved into the adobe in 1851. In 1862 German-born Warren C. Rickard purchased the property from the state of California on a possession claim.

In 1868, George Butchard named the adobe the Caledonia, a Scottish word meaning Scotland. He operated a stagecoach stop, tavern and inn. According to local legend, Jesse James, the Dalton Brothers, and Tiburcio Vasquez visited the inn. Morgan, Brians, and sons, along with Jude Jeffries, were the next occupants. In 1886, following the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad service to San Miguel, the Rios-Caledonia Adobe was utilized as a residence, school, post office, mattress making/upholstery shop and a dressmaking/tailor shop.

In 1895, the Fred Telford family lived in the adobe and operated a dairy farm on the property. In 1903, Alfred Nygren, his wife and two children were in residence until the adobe and six acres sold to real estate broker and Spanish-American War veteran Charles Dorries. He developed plans to restore the building and open it to the public. He built walls and added a garden court with cacti and shrubs. In 1915 the original stagecoach road became Highway 101. In 1964 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors purchased the adobe. The Rios-Caledonia Adobe is now California Historical Landmark No. 936 and a San Luis Obispo County Park.

In 1968, the Friends of the Adobes, Inc. was formed to promote the restoration and maintenance of the adobe as well as the Estrella Adobe Church. The group spent 10 years of planning, raising funds and obtaining historical furnishings.

The building was formally dedicated in December 1972 after major construction was completed. In June 1978, the adobe, museum and gift shop were opened. The work continues, following as faithfully as possible the design and

appearance of the original structure.

The restoration of the Rios-Caledonia Adobe has been a continuing cooperative effort between the Friends of the Adobes, Inc. and the County of San Luis Obispo working though the Parks and Recreation Department.

For the complete article see the 02-28-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-28-2012 paper.

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