The Branciforte Adobe
, also known as the Craig-Lorenzana Adobe, is the only remaining dwelling from the Villa de Branciforte, the settlement that was established in 1797 at the time of the Mission Santa Cruz
Mission Santa Cruz was established in 1791 and named for the feast of the Exultation of the Cross, the name that the explorer Gaspar de Portolà gave to the area when he camped on the banks of the San Lorenzo River on October 17, 1769, and erected a wooden cross...
The only remains from the settlement of the Villa de Branciforte is the two room Craig-Lorenzana Adobe which stands on the corner of Branciforte and Goss Avenues in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California in the US. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 59,946...
. It is the oldest single-family dwelling in Santa Cruz.
Description of structure
The Branciforte Adobe has 2 foot (0.6096 m) adobe mud plastered walls which are still remaining, a tile roof classic to the Spanish era later changed to redwood shake, and a veranda on the front rebuilt in the eighties. The original adobe structure surviving from the Villa de Branciforte was one large rectangular room with two covered corridors (porches) on both length wise sides of the house. The rear corridor ended adjacent to the fire pit and cooking area.
Over the years the house was modified many times; the most significant modifications were done by Jose Lorenzana in 1848. Lorenzana partitioned a small bedroom from the main room so that he and his wife could sleep separately from their reported 21 children. He "fancied up" the house adding doors, hinges, wallpaper and molding. Jose Lorenzana lived in the house until his death in 1863 ending the reign of Spanish inhabitants.
In the early 1870s Andrew Craig lived in the house. He became the district attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...
and opened a law school in it. Craig was followed by the Winchester family who covered the adobe walls with Redwood. After the Winchester family two men, Jim Hawley and Jim Hammond, resided in the Branciforte Adobe. They rebuilt the exterior and porch, and altered the roof to a redwood shake one.
The house was then bought in the 1980s by Edna and Joe Kimbro who continued the restoration by stripping chicken wire and plaster from the exterior and restored the original adobe. This gave her the opportunity to examine the adobe and the wooden pieces used in the construction. At this point they added two additional bedrooms and two functional bathrooms. Edna Kimbro became very interested in preserving examples of early California History. She sold the Branciforte Adobe and moved on to restore the Castro Adobe
The Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe was the governing seat of the Castro family. It also served as a fiesta house.-History:The house was built in 1848–1849 by Juan José Castro. His father Jose Joaquin Castro , came to California as a 6 year old with his family from Sinaloa Mexico on the 1775–1776...
, a two story adobe in the Watsonville area which was built in the mid-19th century.
Edna Kimbro's work on the Branciforte Adobe was a very deliberate and detailed restoration which yielded information compatible with other classic adobe structures as well as revealing other unique characteristics. The Branciforte Adobe remains a private residence.