Hastings is a Biological Field Station of the University of California, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and UC Natural Reserve System. Gifts made Hastings possible- click here to contribute to our work in research and education.


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     The Tularcitos Rancho, granted in the 1840's, was officially surveyed in 1860 and included mention of Laguna Conejo pond, now just west of the Hastings Reserve. Charles and James Finch ranched the area in 1861. John Jacob Scott homesteaded along Big Creek, and in 1863 built a pole barn with native materials. This barn is among the oldest barns in Monterey County. No sawmill was available at the time of construction. Some planks in the barn were formed by woodcutters who would drill a row of holes in an oak log they had cut with axes. They then packed the holes with black powder and blew planks from the sides of the logs. The Scott Barn was authentically restored in 1987. Homesteads by Charles Robertson (1884) and Henry Arnold (1900) saw families move in. The Arnold family settled high above the county road on a spring site. Scott sold his land to Burritt Cahoon who built the ranch house on the lowlands along Big Creek in 1899; it is still in use. Ranching, wood cutting and growing hay kept them busy.

Ranching in the area was precarious. In 1889, a Christmas flood wiped out the James family's barns, dairy buildings and orchard along Finch Creek near the present Warner horse ranch, just downstream of Finch Creek and the Carmel Valley Road at the base of Haystack Hill. Only an almond tree marks the old homesite. A few years earlier, in 1877, a prolonged drought wiped out about 400 head of cattle between the Cahoons, the Finches and other homesteaders. Burritt Cahoon later bought out his brother Charles, and 5 other homesteads to form a working cattle ranch. Cahoon and his sons moved away while Burritt served as a Deputy County Assessor to supplement the sporadic income from ranching. Cattle ranches supported fewer and fewer cattle as the vegetation changed. L.S. Cahoon's ranch of about 2500 acres kept about 330 cattle in 1920. By 1943, that acreage was sustaining only 250 cattle with about 50 calves being raised each year. Mr. Cahoon remembers that Finch Creek, the biggest creek on Hastings which usually flows all year, dried up in 1896, again in about 1930 and we have seen it dry again in 1989. In 1989, the reliable spring at the Arnold homestead went dry for the first time in recorded history.
    The Cahoons built the ranch house with acetylene-fired lamps, with the gas being generated by dripping water over calcium carbide. The Hastings family bought the ranch house and lived in it until 1937 when they made it available to the first resident zoologist, Jean Linsdale and his family. Later, John and Betty Davis lived in the house. In the early 1960's, Keith White and his family lived in the Ranch House. They added the back bedroom. Starting in the 1960's, Joan and Jim Griffin lived with theirr growing children in the house. Joan taught elementary school in the Washington Union Elementary district in the San Benancio Canyon area near Salinas. Jim was the plant ecologist at Hastings until his retirement. From about 1993 on, the Ranch House housed classes and sometimes individual researchers.

Wisteria shades the east and south sides of the Ranch House's large screen porch. The porch offers a place to serve buffet meal, gather a class out of the rain, show slides if it is not to cold or windy, and for students to spread out cots or sleeping pads for the night.




Porch, South











Porch, East









Visitors are asked to bring their own bedding. Two twin beds are found in 3 bedrooms and one bedroom has a double bed. Space in floors can be used for extra sleeping bags, etc.












A modest kitchen in the Ranch House is set up for 8; with one refrigerator. Another refrigerator on the entry porch can be used.








One living room and one dining room join the kitchen.


The ranch house has two bathrooms, each with a shower.