Thursday, January 16, 2020

Los Guilucos Emergency Outdoor Shelter Site


With the impending use of the Los Guilucos site in the Sonoma Valley, let us thank Gerry La Londe-Berg and Kathryn Jurik for their research on its history and use.

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 3:28 PM Gerry La Londe-Berg <> wrote:
A brief history

The Los Guilucos site has been a public service location for at least 76 years.  Before that it was an “old folks home”.  So the objections and fears of the “neighbors” should be considered in light of the value of dedicated public good the site provides. 

This was the site of Rancho los Guilucos (18,833 acres), which Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted to John Wilson and his wife, Ramona Carrillo, sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, in 1839. The house, constructed in 1858 by William Hood for his bride, Elsia Shaw of Sonoma, incorporates the original bricks fired on the property. 

The property was purchased in 1943 by the California Department of the Youth Authority for Los Guilucos School for Girls.

“One of the pressing needs was for a school for younger girls. In 1943 the Youth Authority secured a lease on the property and buildings which formerly had been used as the Knights of Pythias Old Peoples' Home in Sonoma County. Youth Authority boy wards were taken from Preston and Calaveras Camp to do the renovating work that was necessary for occupancy of the building. The first girls arrived at the school in November of 1943. By the fall of 1944 sufficient staff had been recruited to handle a population of 100 girls.”


Assignment to the two schools for girls is made initially on the basis of age, and delinquency record. Girls of the ages 8 to 15 are assigned to Los Guilucos. Girls of the age group 16 to 21 are sent to Ventura.

In some cases girls who are socially mature and have an extensive delinquency record are assigned to Ventura even though their chronological age would indicate placement in Los Guilucos; likewise, some girls of older chronological age who are socially immature may be assigned to Los Guilucos. At Los Guilucos major emphasis is placed on a remedial

educational program. Extensive diagnosis of learning faults is done soon after the young girl is received at the school. The program at the school is informal; an attempt is made to develop the type of activities that are normally found in the public schools. Social adjustment, group living, training for acceptance of responsibility and a broad recreational

and hobby program are considered fundamental to the conditioning of these younger girls. After achievement tests are completed, girls showing weaknesses in the major learning areas are retested. The telebinocular, flash meter and other devices are used for reading deficiencies. Often it is found that there are physical and emotional blocks to reading that have no relationship to mental deficiency. These younger girls reveal all of the common reading faults such as reversals and skips. In some cases there has been complete inability to isolate individual words. In a number of instances emotional blocks which entirely blank out the written page have been isolated. To overcome these severe blockings it is necessary to do intensive individual analysis to discover the emotional basis of the frustrations or humiliations.”

1971 Los Guillicos became co-educational with boys from Fricot Ranch.  It closed shortly thereafter. 

Los Guilucos also is the location of the Human Services Department, Family Youth and Children division,  Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.  The first building was built in 19??.  It is still available as a building.  In 2019 PEP Housing considered using it to house elders but that plan was cancelled.  In 2011 (?) a new building and administration center were created at a cost of approximately $25 million. The Valley of the Moon Children’s Foundation spearheaded that effort under the HSD leadership of Diane Edwards and Presiding Juvenile Judge Arnold Rosenfeld.  The new Children’s home is completely secure and approximately 150 yards away from the proposed encampment for people living outdoors. 

The former Juvenile Hall at Los Guilucos was closed because of unsafe conditions.  This effort was led by the Juvenile Justice Commission in 19??.  The current facility opened in December 2005 on the Los Guilucos campus. 

Just one point in regards to the Children's Home being secure. It is secure in the sense that you can't go into it. AND, it is not secure in the sense that children can 'walk out of it.' This was reiterated to me many times when I was a foster parent. The children don't (usually) leave, yet they are not locked in. I know it's weird, but it's been bugging me that no one pointed that out. 
Kathryn Jurik
Thank you, Grace and Gerry for the information.

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