Sikes Adobe Farmhouse

Project Name: Sikes Adobe Farmhouse
Project Owner: San Dieguito River Park
Project Location: San Diego, CA
Year Completed: 2003/2010

Awards/ Recognition

  • 2004 SOHO People in Preservation Award
  • 2005 California Preservation Design Award
  • 2011 San Diego Historic Resources Award
  • 2011 SOHO People in Preservation Award
  • 2011 California Preservation Design Award
  • 2011 California Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

Project Description

The preservation and restoration of the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse is one of the more interesting in California. In 2003 MSC completed the first restoration project on the Farmhouse. It served as a museum and landmark in the San Dieguito River Park.

In 2007 the wild fires that devastated much of San Diego County also took the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse. After the fire, all that remained were the four walls of the original adobe. MSC immediately shored the adobe walls. The same team of designers and contractor from the 2003 restoration was assembled and the reconstruction began. Since all the historic fabric except for the adobe walls was gone, everything was rebuilt from scratch. All the details were recreated and the building was rededicated in 2010.


In July 1853, Zenas Sikes and Eliza Burrell were married in California. In 1868 they purchased a 2,400 ½ acre portion of the former Rancho San Bernardo for $2,500. With their 6 children, they moved on their property by 1872 and built a one-room adobe structure to live in. Additional rooms in the Greek revival style, popular during the Victorian era, were soon added to the one room structure. These additions were of wood, not adobe. We know that the farmhouse reached its final outer dimensions by 1881.

Zenas Sikes died in surgery in April 1881 as a result of being kicked by a horse on his leg twice. Eliza used the insurance payments in part to remodel the house extensively and upgrade the furnishings. In 1917 the house was purchased, along with the buildings in the Bernardo community, as part of the Lake Hodges Dam project.