Barrett Ranch House

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Barrett Ranch House Family History

Barrett ranch house family- William Harrison Barrett was born June 1844 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Mr. Barrett was one of San Diego’s pioneers. He served three years in the Civil War. Barret (23) married 25 year old Mary Jane of New York in 1867. They moved their family to San Diego (Bear Valley) from New York in 1875.

They lived in several areas including the Cottonwood Valley on land that later became the Barrett Reservoir formed by the first Barrett Dam built in 1893. William Barrett worked as a cattleman and beekeeper eventually moving the family to Jamul in hopes of better education for his children. George Barrett, Williams brother also came to live in San Diego in 1868. William Barrett continued his work as a ranchman and in 1885 became the postmaster for Jamul, California. The 1990 Census confirms the Barrett’s had 9 children 5 of which were still living at that time.

George Barrett passed away in April of 1906 from a stroke. In December of 1906, William and Mary Barrett travelled to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with their daughter Eva F. Kehn. While there both became ill with pneumonia. William Berrett passed away at midnight Christmas Morning 1906. Mrs. Barrett passed away 4 hours and 54 minutes later. They had four surviving children, Eva Kehn, Wiliiam H. Berrett, George N. Barrett, and Charles F. Barrett.

Barrett Family Ranch House History

In 1885, William Barrett established the Jamul homestead and built a one story family ranch house. The Barrett family house was moved, expanded and upgraded in 1897 into a two story ranch house. William and Mary Barrett moved into the city of San Diego from Jamul around 1899. The house was then left to their son William and his family which included his wife Clara Frances, and three children; William H. jr. , Melvin D., and Stephen G. Barrett. Mr. Barrett passed away in the family home March, 1938. Clara Barrett continued to live in the house till her death in 1967. The Barrett ranch house went up for sale after Clara Barrett’s death. The property was sold to Hal and Verna Simpson in 1968.

Simpson Family Comes To Jamul

Hal Simpson had established the Garden Town Nursery and Bird Farm in Pasadena California in 1928. The business included a nursery, florist, lawnmower shop, garden center, materials supply, and pet shop. The operation encompassed parts of Colorado Boulevard and stretched beyond to where the 210 freeway runs. 

In 1959 a fire broke out destroying many parts of the property including business records. Some people believe when the fire broke out caged parrots were release into the surrounding landscape. Those parrots continued to breed. They are believed to be the relatives of current day flocks seen and heard throughout southern California and into Mexico.

Determined Hal along with loyal patrons eventually rebuilt the business. Simpson’s success however was short lived. The state would eventually use “eminent domain” laws to purchase the Simpson property for use as the 210 freeway. In 1968, Hal and his wife Verna retired and purchased 168 acres in Jamul that also included the Barrett Ranch house.

The Simpson Family At The Barrett Ranch House

Barrett ranch house
Barrett ranch house Fair Use Newsworthy San Diego Union 9/7/1969 Clyde V. Smith

The Barrett house and ranch had a history that enamored Hal Simpson and his wife. Hal decided to save the old ranch house and spent two years renovating it. The remodel included interior room expansion, adding a upstairs section with balcony terrace, renovation of the kitchen with a separate dinning-living space with a huge fireplace wall feature and updating the downstairs bathroom. The end result was a modern and updated home.

Boredom eventually drove Mr. Simpson out of retirement. Hal started his nursery business back up on his property in Jamul, California. Simpsons Garden Town Nursery in Jamul was a success. Hal Simpson eventually passed away in 1987 leaving the business to his grand daughter Cathy and her husband Lee Smith. The Smiths lived in the Barrett ranch house until 2011 when they retired and closed the nursery permanently. The house and property have remained vacant since then.

Barrett Ranch House Abandoned and Vandalized

The Barrett Ranch House has been an abandoned structure since 2011 to 2021. Trespassers, squatters, and curious spectators have ransacked the house and ranch barns leaving behind graffiti, destruction and even human feces. The wiring and copper pipes have even been stripped from the house. Local citizens worried about the state of the dilapidated House reached out to Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO). The 1891 Victorian style Ranch house has been listed by SOHO on their, “most endangered” list since 2014. The Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group has wanted to turn the ranch into a community park however funds would need to be raised to purchase and maintain the property. The current owner is Latif Z. from Chula Vista California, and is private property.

Barrett Ranch House Ghost

Several websites forums have guests commenting about the Ranch House being haunted. Proctor Valley has a long history of urban legends, it isn’t surprising that some people claim the Barrett house is haunted. The area is private property and trespassing isn’t allowed so it is unlikely we will ever know. What we do know is at least two owners did die in the actual Ranch House.

4 thoughts on “Barrett Ranch House

  1. This property and estructures still beautiful and magical is so sad see people graffiti with bad words and live people there make dangerous place for anyone …

    1. It real is , I don’t understand why dumb asses have to be so senseless and mess it up for others who would even have taken care of , (still can) properly in a righteous manner. For free …
      If many knew to treat anything like it was their own or how they would want people to treat their belongings then it would be such a much better place .. then others would enjoy the amenities of the household and property.

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