The Journal of San Diego History
Fall 1983, Volume 29, Number 4
Thomas L. Scharf, Managing Editor

by Lucinda Liggett Eddy

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Lilian Jenette Rice

Lilian Jenette Rice was among the first women to graduate from the University of California School of Architecture.

eucalyptus trees  
Vast wooded areas of eucalyptus trees – left from an unsuccessful program to provide suitable wood for railroad ties – greeted Lilian Rice when she first saw Rancho Santa Fe.

Rancho Santa Fe construction  
Rice at the driver’s seat during Rancho Santa Fe construction. The other women are identified as Mrs. Norman McLean (on hood), Virginia Smith (standing) and Bertha Kreuziger.

Rancho Santa Fe  
Originally, Rancho Santa Fe began as the San Dieguito Land Grant, a 9,000 area tract deeded in the 1830s to Don Juan María Osuna. Open fields and orchards still characterize it today.

business district  
An early view of the main business district of Rancho Santa Fe. Lilian Rice worked to design a community in keeping with region’s natural beauty.

Main Street  
A view of Main Street from the Inn.

members of the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company  
Lilian Rice (center, with watch) and members of the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company, May, 1923.

renderings for Rancho Santa Fe homes  
Posing on the steps of the Inn, opposite, are Rice (holding hat) and several friends.

renderings for Rancho Santa Fe homes  
Several of Rice’s renderings for Rancho Santa Fe homes.

renderings for Rancho Santa Fe homes  
A romantic tradition built around California’s Spanish-Colonial heritage provided a colorful historical backdrop for an architectural idiom that captured the flavor of a by-gone era.

renderings for Rancho Santa Fe homes  

Rice on the porch  
Rice on the porch of a Rancho Santa Fe residence.

Rice near the old Osuna house  
Rice sitting on the bumper of a car near the old Osuna house.

building at the corner of Paseo Delicias and La Granada  
Lilian Rice kept an office upstairs in this building at the corner of Paseo Delicias and La Granada.

Rancho Santa Fe interior  
A fairly typical Rancho Santa Fe interior, c. 1923.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe  
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Rice remained true to the concept of a regional architectural style based on the area’s natural beauty and historical associations. Adobe walls complemented tiled roofs, while patios and courtyards abounded with lush foliage.

Rice found “real joy at Rancho Santa Fe. Every environment there calls for simplicity and beauty — the gorgeous natural landscapes, the gently broken topography, the nearby mountains.”

THE PHOTOGRAPHS are from the San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection.

This article received the Kamerling Award at the San Diego Historical Society’s 1983 Institute of History.