Have you ever wondered about the enormous house used as the hacienda in Lancer? Many of you probably know that it wasn’t just a backdrop on a film lot somewhere, but a real house near Carmel. Handily placed for the film industry, actually.
While only the pilot episode was actually filmed on location, the house continued to be used throughout the series as background to the stories, although by that time, portions of it had been reproduced as a set on a sound lot for ease of filming.
The real house, the Rancho San Carlos, was built in the 1920s. It was then a place for the glitterati to have nice weekends in the country, and latterly was (still is?) the centrepiece of the St Lucia Conservancy. The Conservancy appears to hold the dual aims of preserving the country around the Rancho as a wildlife habitat and reserve, and allowing up-scale housing development which appears to be managed to be less ecologically invasive than is usual. Houses have been built around the older ranch house, which at one time served as a sort of ‘club house’ for the community. The Conservancy website has a short history of the house here: The History of the Rancho San Carlos which mentions Lancer and has a nice picture of the brothers.
It’s rumoured that the house was destroyed during the Californian wildfires of late 2018, but the Conservancy’s website appears current and makes no mention of the house’s fate. If anyone has up to date news on whether or not the house is still standing (or perhaps has been restored), could you let us know?
Edited on 2 September 2021 to add: we’ve recently heard from an employee at the Preserve, who tells us the house was undamaged by the wildfires and is still in constant use, with with dinner served nightly, guests in residence, and events held weekly. You can follow the Preserve on Facebook or Instagram for current-day photos, including a Lancer-themed post from August 2021.
Research by Lancer fans
Geraldine visited the ranch some years ago, took a wealth of photos, and subsequently carried out a lot of research on the house and the interiors. This led to some great information being collated on everything from the provenance of the dining room chairs to a possible location for the ranch to floorplans for the house. This is fascinating stuff!
An exact ‘fix’ on the ranch’s location isn’t possible, of course, but hasn’t stopped fans from speculating. As well as the work Geraldine did, Ros Hutchison (Ros) and Linda Borchers (Linda B (Kona)) have shared the research that led them to a location for the Lancer ranch that fits with real old towns, railroads and other features. Click on this link to read Ros and Linda’s research.
Why not take a few minutes to explore the links and the research carried out by your fellow fans? Who knows – it might inspire more stories!!
Huge thanks to Geraldine, Ros and Linda for their generosity in sharing their work. You’re all stars, ladies!