Built between 1842 and 1846, the Sanchez Adobe is home to a rich history of the Bay Area. Francisco Sanchez, a native Californian and descendant of the first Spanish settlers, built the home for his family on what was then called Rancho San Pedro.
In his lifetime, Sanchez saw the evolution of California through three governments. As members of the Anza party, Sanchez’ father and grandfather came to the area under the Spanish flag. Following Mexico's movement toward independence in 1822, the 17-year-old Francisco pledged allegiance to Mexico and served in leadership roles through the years, including 3 terms as mayor of Yerba Buena (present day San Francisco).
Spanning nearly 9,000 acres, Rancho San Pedro was granted to Sanchez for his military service to Mexico as Commandante of the San Francisco Presidio. The ranch traded meat and hides with the growing number of Americans coming west, and it made Sanchez very wealthy.
After Sanchez’ death, the adobe saw use as a hotel and later a speakeasy in the Prohibition era. Late 20th-century excavations revealed the site’s uses prior to the construction of the adobe. The Ohlone Indians first called the San Pedro Valley home, and a village named Pruristac once sat where the adobe stands. The arrival of the Spanish terminally altered the indigenous way of life, and farming techniques were introduced alongside Christian conversions. Crops that were grown in the fertile soils of the San Pedro Valley by the padres and Natives fed much of San Francisco’s Mission Dolores. In 1792, an epidemic swept through the farm, killing most of the Ohlone tribe.
Ohlone artifacts and remnants of the farming operation are on display at the adobe. Visiting school groups learn to make candles and adobe bricks with traditional techniques. Each September, the adobe hosts Rancho Fiesta Day, a celebration of California’s Mexican heritage during which the public can experience the food, music, and crafts of the era.