Over 150 years ago, the pioneering family of (William) Henry Lambert established themselves in the Summerland area developing a thriving 120+ acre ranch. As a prominent family, the Lamberts helped shape the community during the rise of its oil boom in which Summerland had the first offshore oil development in the world. The history of this special place continues….

*Photo: Norman Lambert, son of Henry and Catherine Lambert, on the hills of Summerland circa 1900.

1865 William Henry Lambert served in the Civil war from 1864-1865, moved west and married Catherine Lewis at the Santa Barbara Mission.

1880 Lambert Ranch was established as a dairy, lima bean and walnut farm.

*Photo: Ventura Highway 1920

1920 The Main House was built by their son Frank Lamber and his wife Hazel who lived there with their 4 children. The Lambert extended family maintained many ties to the community for generations, including town legend May Lambert.

1929 Lamberts sold the ranch to John Harnish, a prominent architect and engineer from Los Angeles who designed and built Warner Brothers studios, NBC television and was the supervising engineer at MGM studios. 

* Vintage Map from 1930 citing the esteemed estates of "El Montecito"

1931 Harnish filed a claim to the name “Hidden Valley Ranch”, well before the more well-known Hidden Valley Ranch was established in 1954 where the famous dressing was created.

1945 The property changed owners three times during the next nearly 20 years among the Meyers, Champmans & Skinners.

* Article from the Get Oil Out (GOO) Fish In, in which property owner Lois Seidenburg dropped a fishing line via helicopter above a proposed oil drilling site.

1963 Lois Seidenburg bought the property and it became an epicenter of the environmental movement as she was President of the Get Oil Out! local activist group and testified to the Senate advocating for coastal protection.

1969 Oil spill of January 28, 1969 ignited a national conversation and served as the catalyst for the first National Earth Day, which was established on April 22, 1970.

*Photo: Main House and garden before the transformation to drought resistant landscaping as enjoyed today.

1995 Duffy & Sheila Witmer purchased the property creating the oasis you experience today. Duffy famously asks when the best day to plant a tree is? The answer: Yesterday.

2020 Current owners cited the word “VALHALLA” as their first impression upon visiting this very unique, special place. Fittingly it translates to “heaven”.