Los Peñasquitos Ranch Mohnike Adobe Barn Historic Structure Report


Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve


In 1910, Charles Frederick Mohnike purchased Rancho de Los Peñasquitos, a reported 9,380 acres from Adolph Levi. Charles Mohnike, originally from Nebraska, moved to Chula Vista, San Diego County, California along with his wife Ruth A. and their two eldest children around the turn of the 20th century.  Mohnike became a prosperous citrus grower and real estate dealer. Mohnike along with their nine children lived at Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, where they raised sheep, horses, and Hereford cattle.  Charles Mohnike introduced new agricultural technologies through the implementation of a combined harvester that was pulled by twenty horses in order to cut and bail grain. After a fire at the Peñasquitos Ranch House reported around 1910-11, Charles Mohnike designed a new modern adobe house (the Mohnike Adobe) for he and his family in the upper eastern portion of the Rancho. During this time, he incorporated non-mortared fieldstone footings and an unreinforced concrete stem wall as the foundation for his new adobe home, a concrete cistern, barn, and three sheds, while also rebuilding portions of the old Peñasquitos Ranch House and Adobe Barn for his ranch hands. The Mohnike Adobe is currently owned by the County of San Diego.

Period of Significance: 1910-1915

After the 1910-11 fire, the Adobe Barn was erected by Charles F. Mohnike.  During this time, the building assumed the character it still has today.  The current arrangement has been minimally altered in the decades since.  The period of significance for the Adobe Barn begins in 1910 with the commencement of the Mohnike family ownership of Los Peñasquitos and ends in 1915 when the Mohnike family sold the property.

Construction History and Alterations

The Mohnike Adobe Barn, built ca. 1910-11 was erected by Charles F. Mohnike.  The building is still intact today and has been minimally altered in the decades since. The most substantial alterations occurred in 2000, during the restoration efforts led by AmeriCorps*NCCC (AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps).  The AmeriCorps removed the existing exterior adobe plaster and re-applied a cement plaster (Keene’s Plaster) on the exterior surface. They built and installed doors for the former vent areas over the doorways and the wooden portions of the barn, which had always been white, were painted red at this time.  In 2009, the Barn doors were replaced on the north and south façades, the doorjambs were replaced on the south façade and the northeast jamb underwent a partial replacement.

Purpose of the Report

The purpose of a Historic Structure Report is to research the history of a property in order to select the appropriate treatment for the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, or reconstruction of the historic resource. The Historic Structure Report provides a historical overview and setting, review of existing conditions, various methods of historical architectural analysis and the establishment of a Period of Significance, as well as a photographic survey of the Mohnike Adobe Barn.  The Period of Significance is the recommended point in time and physical configuration the restoration should focus upon, as outlined in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration. The Historic Structure Report provides a project architect, or others involved with the restoration and maintenance of a historic resource, the information necessary for making appropriate decisions on restoring or removing fabric; based on a determination of the recommended Period of Significance.