The Verlaque House


Ramona's oldest structure, the Verlaque House, and other historic buildings dating back to 1870s and 1880s are the venue of Guy B. Woodward Museum, maintained by the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society as a way to preserve the history of the early West. The historic Verlaque House, an adobe of French provincial design, was built in 1886 by French immigrant Theophile Verlaque who moved to San Diego in 1870.  The Verlaque House was built as a country house and was the first permanent residence in the community of Nuevo, later known as Ramona. It is one of the oldest and best preserved buildings in the San Diego backcountry and is closely associated with a noted Ramona pioneer family. The Verlaque House remains a rare example of an adobe French Colonial style residence in the Western United States. It stands as a monument to the vision and character of the pioneer settlers of San Diego County.

The Verlaque House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places August 7, 1991.

A monument with a brass plaque was installed in front of the house in April 2011 commemorating it's placement on the California Register of Historical Landmarks.


The house, with its 12-foot ceilings, includes several period displays including a doctor’s office, research library and 19th century kitchen. The basement has a tribute to Ramona’s turkey days and a display honoring world champion cowboy Casey Tibbs, who spent his later years living in Ramona and was instrumental in bringing professionalism to the Ramona rodeo.  Beyond the Verlaque house, explore the shops, antique exhibits, and even browse through the special artifacts.

Historical Marker of the Verlaque House 

 Verlaque House (1886) Marker

Theophile Verlaque (1823-1913), a French immigrant, was a successful San Diego entrepreneur, saloon keeper, vintner and real estate speculator.

Verlaque was a friend of Bernard Etcheverry, a French Basque immigrant, who by 1880 owned 16,700 acres of the original Santa Maria Rancho land grant and had a thriving rancho. Verlaque and Etcheverry decided that a store and post office could be a successful venture. Verlaque's son Amos purchased two acres from Etcheverry along the stage and freight wagon road connecting San Diego and Julian. The younger Verlaque built a store and post office (1883) and the town of Nuevo (later Ramona) was born.

Verlaque decided to build a country home reminiscent of the homes of his youth in southern France and his many years spent living near the French community of St. Genevieve, Missouri. He had the home erected next to his son Amos' mercantile.

The Verlaque House is a rare example of traditional French Provincial architecture in the Western United States. The home is built on a 2 foot thick fieldstone foundation with 18 inch adobe walls, has a 45 degree truncated hip roof, an elevated veranda surrounding the house and a basement wine cellar with 7 ft. ceilings and a ramp for wine barrels.

This home was continuously owned by Verlaque descendants up until 1962 when it was purchased by Leona Ransom who wanted the home restored and preserved as a museum. In 1984, the Ransom family donated the home to the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society and it is now the centerpiece of the Guy B. Woodward Museum.
Erected 2011 by The Ramona Pioneer Historical Society, by the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, John P. Squibob Chapter #1853.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus, and the Postal Mail and Philately marker series.
Location. 33° 2.711′ N, 116° 51.8′ W. Marker is in Ramona, California, in San Diego County. Marker is on Main Street, on the left when traveling east. Marker is at this postal address: 645 Main Street, Ramona CA 92065, United States of America.