Bandy Canyon History


Spanning over 144 acres, Bandy Canyon Ranch is nestled in the heart of San Pasqual Valley. Set deep in Bandy Canyon, this Southern California ranch is adorned with rustic cabins, a dramatic pool for lounging and entertaining, and an authentic 1930’s adobe lodge with two kitchens, antique stoves, and multiple fireplaces. A charming terrace and wedding ceremony site are also available for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and special events.


The Main Lodge was the first Weir Brothers structure in San Diego County, built with adobe bricks produced here on the ranch. It is equipped with two kitchens containing antique stoves and fireplaces and has catered to hundreds of guests over the years. The ceiling features original beams from the historic San Diego pier. The lodge has three patios with outdoor fireplaces. The main patio features an outdoor kitchen and bar to accommodate private events.

    • 1870 — John D. Bandy, staked his homestead by filing for 80 acres of land in the mouth of the canyon and perfected his claim on December 12th, 1882, at age of 29.
    • 1875Bandy sold his homestead to William H. Thompson, from Nova Scotia. Thompson eventually developed the property into a 450-cow dairy and a 1,000-head cattle ranch.
    • 1881Thompson had a cook, Emma Fenton, a widow from Iowa, who had three children. She was unable to care for them so was forced to put them in a San Francisco orphanage. Emma and her frail and ailing daughter, Laura, moved to San Pasqual, where she was hired on as a cook and housekeeper on the W. F. Thompson ranch, which was then about 1,000 acres. When Thompson needed another ranch hand, at the urging of Emma, who assured Thompson her son could earn his keep, he sent to the San Francisco orphanage for Emma’s son, seven-year-old Henry Fenton.
    • 1887The land boom went bust. And so did Thompson. The bank took back the property in foreclosure.
    • July 4th, 1890The largest party known to have been thrown at the property. Over 3000 attendees. A couple of ranchers contributed a cow/steer each for barbecue, others would contribute a couple of sheep for the grill, others would provide the vegetables and others produce, someone would play an accordion, or fiddle, and they would commence to have a good old fashioned party. Families would come from miles around and all would chip in, some cooking, some serving, and some just having a good time.
    • 1900Shortly after 1900, Fenton had saved his money and, at age 28, he was able to purchase 1000 acres of land in the San Pasqual Valley at just $3 an acre.
    • 1930’s Mr. Fenton created a camp at the ranch for under-privileged boys to experience a summer camp.
    • 1951Mr. Fenton passes away. The ranch was 4000 acres at the time.
    • 1952Justine Fenton, at the age of 44, sold approximately 3,300 acres to the city of San Diego for $1 million. This deal secured valuable water rights in the San Pasqual Valley. Much of that acreage today contains the San Diego Wild Animal Park
    • 1970The 5500 Square Foot Lodge was remodeled and enclosed.
    • 2001Justine Fenton passed away.
    • 2011Bandy Canyon Ranch has undergone a multimillion-dollar restoration to its original splendor.