The Stow House was once the headquarters of Rancho La Patera, on the original Rancho La Goleta. 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 Carpenter Gothic Victorian 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. The house was occupied by three generations of Stow descendants. Stow House is a rambling two story house and is the oldest frame house in the Goleta Valley.
Visitors can experience historic Rancho La Patera by walking through the gardens, taking a guided tour of the Stow House, exploring the Visitor Interpretive Center, and by hands-on exhibits in the History Education Center.
The Goleta Valley Historical Society welcomes group tours, commercial tours, community groups, youth groups, and school classes. The parking lot is accessible to tour buses and RVs. Exploring local history in a historic home brings many community groups to Rancho La Patera. Tours of Stow House can be tailored to meet various interests. Light refreshments, wine & cheese or a boxed lunch may be arranged to complement your group experience.
The Museum Store features a wide selection of local gifts, including historical publications, cards, crafts, old-fashioned toys, original lemon labels, t-shirts, iron work, Goleta memorabilia and other items.
This wonderful park is a unique combination of history and rustic charm. Ideal for children who might learn history the fun way and for many busy professionals who take their lunch breaks here. The Stow House has been restored and outfitted with beautiful period furnishings, clothing, toys, and memorabilia by the Goleta Historical Society.
Facilities: Stow House, South coast Railroad Museum housed in the restored rail depot, a 25-acre lake with walkways all around it. Creature comforts are scarce, restrooms and picnic areas available.
Directions: From the 101 exit on Los Carneros, which is about 10 miles west of Santa Barbara. At the top of the ramp, turn towards the mountains. If you continue past Calle Real, you will find the parking lot to your right.