STOW HOUSE is one of the oldest landmarks in the Goleta Valley. It was once the headquarters of Rancho La Patera. In 1871, William Whitney Stow, a legal counsel for Southern Pacific Railroad in San Francisco, purchased 1,043 acres costing $28,677 for his son, Sherman P. Stow. Sherman Stow built a Gothic Revival home on the site and moved into the house with his bride, Ida G. Hollister, in 1873. The family expanded the house in two major renovations in the 1880s and 1910s. You can visit the house, see family photographs and furniture, and hear the stories of Sherman and Ida and their descendants.
In 1875, 3,000 lemon trees were planted in the first commercial lemon planting in California. Goleta's earliest commercial irrigation also took place on the ranch, and you can still visit "Lake Los Carneros," the pond created by the Stows. Sherman Stow's son, state senator Edgar Whitney Stow, set up a research laboratory at the ranch and developed disease resistant lemon rootstock of great value to local ranchers. The house was occupied by three generations of Stow descendants. Today, Stow House is open for public viewing on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. (Tours begin at 2 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and on demand on Sundays, with the last tour starting at 3:30 p.m. Special weekday and school tours are available by appointment.)
The Stow House and associated museums are open every weekend except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, the month of January, and rainy days.