Monday, April 6, 2015

Bancroft Rock House & Bancroft Ranch House Museums in Spring Valley

I was easy spinning home on my road bike from a group ride down in Bonita a few weekends ago on the inland route through La Presa and Spring Valley when I happened to look right into a narrow lane off Kenwood Dr and spotted a rather magnificent looking stone house that, despite there being no sign around pointing to one, had got to be some sort of a historical structure. What to do but to veer in to investigate?

Bancroft Rock House Museum.
St James Ct is a nondescript dirt lane and skirts by a fenced in park that I suddenly recognized as the spring that gave Spring Valley its name. I was on the east side of the Bancroft Ranch House museum and the stone structure that perched on the high ground above it is the Bancroft Rock House, an unmanned museum on the ground of Bancroft County Park with wide dirt parking lot and lots of information boards and even an automated voice-box curator, so to speak.

The spring that gave Spring Valley its name.
It's pretty cool in a rather impersonal way. After a while I decided to scoot around the corner to 9050 Memory Ln to see if the Bancroft Ranch House Museum was open (I had stopped by there a few times before and it was always closed). This time, I was in luck! A local couple was unlocking the gate as I rolled in. They turned out to be past presidents of the Spring Valley Historical Society, the keeper of the museum!

Bancroft Ranch House Museum.

The Bancroft Ranch House Museum doesn't get many visitors, though, so they were quite pleased that I decided to look in and made me feel quite at home while one scooted off to look for the resident groundkeeper, the walking encyclopedia of all things Spring Valley by the name of Mr Jim Van Meter. The Ranch House Museum is not affiliated with the Bancroft County Park & the Rock House Museum next door. It is a community run place manned by volunteers with a passion for local history and preservation. A wonderful place to visit between 1-4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
It's a well preserved ranch house with lots of artifacts and stories to be told.
I even got this nice tote bag for a souvenir!
I only meant to drop in for a quick look around before scooting on home, but ended up staying for over two hours and had a lovely time chatting and hanging out with Mr Van Meter and other volunteers who dropped in to deposit stuff for the upcoming fundraiser sale.

Spring Valley Historical Society's friendly volunteers at the Bancroft Ranch House.
Thanks a bunch, guys and gals, I had the best visit and will definitely come back again!

No comments: