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Spotlight: Historic George Key Ranch

May 20, 1988|Clipboard researched by Henry Rivero and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times

Address: 625 W. Bastanchury Road, Placentia.

Phone: (714) 528-4260.

Description: George Key Ranch is an historic house, museum, botanical garden and orange grove covering 2.2 acres in Placentia. Located within the park is the George Key home, built in 1898 and listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, a collection of farm equipment and hand tools, a one-acre orange grove and 3/4-acre garden.

Hours: Tours are available by appointment only and should be scheduled at least three weeks in advance. Call (714) 528-4260.

History: In 1893 George B. and Mary Key came to Placentia, where he was the superintendent of the 110-acre Southern California Semi-Tropical Fruit Company Ranch. That year, the Keys purchased 20 acres on the northwest corner of what is now Placentia Avenue and Bastanchury Road. About 12 acres of the ranch was planted in valencia oranges, and in 1898 George Key built a 2 1/2-story home there. The house was remodeled in 1908.

George Key died in 1916. In 1945, his son George and wife Hannah purchased the property from the other heirs. He began collecting farm equipment from neighboring ranches in the 1950s, when many local growers began selling their land for sub-division. Key sold portions of the ranch over the next 20 years until, in 1980, the 2.2 acres that make up the park remained. The county then purchased the ranch; Key continues to reside there, caring for the collection and participating in the tours.

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