Sanchez Adobe History


The Ohlone village of Pruristac was located on the site. The San Pedro Valley provided the Ohlones with an abundance of food and raw materials. Hunters and gatherers, they used tools made from stone, shell, wood and plant fibers. They built dwellings of willow poles covered by tule.


In 1786, padres found it difficult to grow enough food at Mission Dolores. They created an asistencia in the San Pedro Valley named San Pedro y San Pablo. This mission outpost was a support farm where crops such as corn and wheat were grown. The asistencia building included living quarters for the padres, a chapel, workrooms and storage for grain. Food production slowed after an epidemic in 1792. Archeological excavations in 1978 and 1990 uncovered the foundations of the asistencia building.


In 1839, Don Francisco Sanchez was granted Rancho San Pedro. The boundaries of his land grant roughly parallel those of the present-day City of Pacifica. Sanchez raised cattle for the hide-and-tallow trade. When ships came to California, Sanchez could trade his hides for manufactured items. Known as the “California Bank Notes,” hides could be made into clothes, shoes, and saddles. Tallow or cow fat was made into soap and candles. He built the Sanchez Adobe as a home for his family between 1842-1846. It is the second oldest building in the county.

Early Americans

After Francisco Sanchez died, General Edward Kirkpatrick purchased the adobe. He extended and remodeled the house with wooden additions creating a total of 20 rooms. In 1908, the adobe became the Hotel San Pedro. It was a popular stop for tourists traveling on the Ocean Shore Railroad. During Prohibition, it became a speakeasy with whiskey stills hidden in the nearby artichoke fields.

Recent History

In 1947, the County of San Mateo purchased the present five-acre Sanchez Adobe site. Restoration was completed in 1953. The San Mateo County Historical Association operates the site. Planned renovations to better interpret the history of the site can be found in the Master Plan.