Keller Ranch
Behind Clayton Library, Clayton Rd (Across the Footbridge)
CHS Plaque/Built by ECV 13
Additional Info : Keller Ranch

KELLER RANCH

AS EARLY AS 2000 BC, THIS AREA WAS HOME TO THE VOLVON
MIWOK NATIVE AMERICANS. MANY ARTIFACTS OF THEIR LIFESTYLE
WERE FOUND WHEN AMERICAN SETTLERS ARRIVED IN THE 1800S.

UNDER THE HOMESTEAD ACT BETWEEN 1862 AND 1872, CLAYTON’S
FOUNDER, JOEL CLAYTON, ACQUIRED 480 ACRES OF WHAT BECAME
THE CLAYTON RANCH WHERE HE PLANTED GRAPES.
JOEL CLAYTON DIED IN 1872.

FROM 1872 – 1876, VINTNER PAUL DE MARTINI ACQUIRED 145 ACRES
OF THE SOUTH WESTERN CLAYTON RANCH FROM JOEL CLAYTON’S
ESTATE AND BUILT THE DEMARTINI WINERY (NOW CLAYTON CITY
HALL) AND PRODUCED PRIZE-WINNING WINES UNTIL THE 1920S.

BETWEEN 1903 AND 1910, CHARLES HENRY “HARRY” KELLER
PURCHASED THE REMAINDER OF THE CLAYTON RANCH FROM THE
JOEL CLAYTON ESTATE AND NAMED IT “LIBERTY RANCH"
(IN HONOR OF HIS WIFE, ELODIA LIBERTY), WHICH WAS A
VINEYARD UNTIL CONVERTED TO RANCHING AFTER PASSAGE
OF THE 1919 VOLSTEAD ACT/PROHIBITION.

IN 1913, THE KELLER RANCH HOUSE, NAMED “CASA DEL SIERRA,”
WAS COMPLETED. HARRY KELLER OPERATED THE RANCH UNTIL
HIS DEATH IN 1940. ELODIA MAINTAINED A LIFE ESTATE HERE UNTIL
HER DEATH IN 1954.

RANCHING CONTINUED UNDER LEASE AGREEMENTS UNTIL 1972,
WHEN THE PROPERTY WAS SOLD BY KELLER FAMILY HEIRS FOR
PROSPECTIVE DEVELOPMENT. IN 1987, PRESLEY HOMES
PURCHASED THE PROPERTY FOR THE OAKHURST COUNTRY CLUB
DEVELOPMENT. RECOGNIZING THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND
CULTURAL IMPORTANCE OF THE PROPERTY, PRESLEY DONATED
THE PARCEL CONTAINING THE KELLER RANCH HOUSE TO THE CITY
OF CLAYTON IN 1991.

THE STATE HISTORICAL RESOURCE COMMISSION DETERMINED THE
KELLER HOUSE TO BE OF SIGNIFICANT VALUE IN 2001 AND IT IS
NOW LISTED ON THE CALIFORNIA REGISTER OF HISTORICAL
RESOURCES.

CLAYTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 2016

MONUMENT CONSTRUCTED BY
E CLAMPUS VITUS
CHAPTER 13 ECV
JOAQUIN MURRIETA