Jose Manuel Machado, a corporal in the soldados de cuera (leather-jacket soldiers) at the presidio, built an adobe here in the early 1830s. It was originally L-shaped, with two large rooms. Machado and his sons framed the house with ridgepoles, fastened with rawhide strips. The roof was covered with a tule thatch called Carrizo.
Jose Manuel and his wife Maria Serafina (Valdez) raised a large family here, including their youngest daughter Rosa who inherited the casa in 1861. Rosa and her husband Jack Stewart, El Piloto (The Pilot) of San Diego Bay and one-time shipmate of writer Richard Henry Dana, Jr., raised eleven children in the home.
Like their neighbors, Rosa and Jack were practicing Roman Catholics. One bedroom had an altar where family members gathered and prayed by candlelight. An end room had a fireplace for cooking. The interior furnishings, especially Jack and Rosa’s prized camphor wood chest, reflected their social position.
Descendants of the family lived on the premises until 1966. In 1973, California State Parks restored the home, and converted it into a house museum representing a Mexican era adobe. It is one of five historic adobes in the park.
All of Old Town State Park is said to be extremely haunted. I do not doubt for one second that this old adobe is part of the supernatural lore. Although I do not know any specific stories, if you have one to share, please leave a comment!
One of my favorite community gardens is here: