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Hope Ranch (Not Bad, Not Bad At All)




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Hope Ranch is located in the southeastern region of Santa Barbara and is bordered by Highway 101, the Pacific Ocean, Arroyo Burro Beach and More Mesa. It consists of an expansive flat mesa and low rolling hills broken by a beautiful valley and covered with impressive live oaks. Well known for some of Santa Barbara’s most impressive estates, the area also has a very notable history.


The first written reference of Hope Ranch dates back to 1769 by Captain Gaspar de Portola who was greeted by friendly Indians from the Cieneguitas tribe. (In fact, there is evidence of Indian life in Hope Ranch that dates back six to ten thousand years.) The first private owner of Hope Ranch was Lt. Narcisco Fabregat of the Santa Barbara Presidio. He received the land in a grant from Governor Manuel Micheltorena on May 16, 1843.


Soon after, Thomas Hope, for whom the land was ultimately named, purchased the Ranch in 1861 to raise his flock of 5,000 sheep to meet the increased demand for wool production necessary for military uniforms stemming from the Civil War. Then in 1876, the Southern Pacific Railroad purchased the land from Hope. Originally, they’d thought of building a large tourist hotel comparable to the Hotel de Coronado del Monte.


Execution of this plan never occurred, though, and it wasn’t until Harold Chase bought the Ranch in 1923 that any substantial development actually took place. Chase progressed with the installation of roads, utilities and bridle trails and laid the groundwork for the design of a residential community. He then began the course of selling lots in the Ranch to people who wished to make it their home.


Hope Ranch is now a community of 773 lots embodying 1,863 acres. In 2012, there were a total of 33 properties that sold in the area, with a low of $980,000 and a high of $18,101,063. There are currently 27 properties actively for sale in the Ranch, 5 of which have recently gone pending. Here are three of those; they are all good deals by Hope Ranch standards.