It was 1868 when Patrick and Mary Ann Rodgers moved with their children from the gold fields of California to the 149-acre ranch in Contra Costa County. There they grew wheat and other crops, were active in community affairs, supported their church, and promoted public education. Patrick Rodgers died in 1891. 16 years later, when the property was divided among the heirs, Alice and James Rodgers received the 38 acre section containing the house and barn, both of which had been constructed in the 1860s.
In 1915, the ranch was sold to Rollo Hough, a partner in the Luther Burbank Company, to become a demonstration farm, but because of financial difficulties it never came to be. A few years later the property was reduced to 18 acres and remained that size until the area was developed.
Alice and Earle Hobart purchased the property in 1937. Alice Hobart, a noted author, is best known for her novel, "Oil for the Lamps of China." While living at the ranch, she wrote "The Cup and the Sword," a book about the California wine industry during prohibition. In 1959, the novel was made into the movie "This Earth is Mine," starring Rock Hudson.
In 1942, the ranch was sold to Dr. and Mrs. Kaho Daily who maintained it as a working ranch until 1978. A development for single family homes was approved in 1987. It was at this time members of the Pleasant Hill Historical Society recommended saving the buildings and developing a heritage park.
An Interview with Louis Mangini
about the history of Rodgers Ranch
This two-part video interview is available on our Facebook page: