The Oppenheimers

The Oppenheimers

One day, Oppenheimer greeted George King with the words, "George, I've bought you a ranch".



Arthur C. Oppenheimer, a businessman from San Francisco, who owned the Rosenberg Fruit Company among many other enterprises, bought the property in 1939. One of Oppenheimer’s interests was sailing, and at the Alameda Yacht Club he met George King. A man of many talents and interests, King had served as a steward at the Club where he impressed members with his ability to repair piers, boats, and whatever else needed fixing. He once confided in Oppenheimer that although he loved sailing he would really like to be a rancher. According to King, one day Oppenheimer greeted him with the words, “George, I’ve bought you a ranch” (Nickerson 1990).

The Oppenheimers - Carmel Ranch Community, Monterey Peninsula Ranch Community
Under King’s management, Rancho San Carlos once again became a working cattle ranch as it had in the days before George Gordon Moore. Brush was cleared to grow oats and hay and eventually the herd, primarily Herefords, grew to 1,000 head of cattle with about 100 bulls. For nearly forty-five years, Rancho San Carlos became known for producing quality beef. Arthur Oppenheimer, although he did not live at the ranch, took an active interest in it and when he died in the late 1940s, he requested that his ashes be buried there. In 1951, Arthur Oppenheimer II took over the ranch but, like his father, spent only short periods of time there. The ranch became a weekend retreat and the site for graduation parties and other special occasions for the extended Oppenheimer family (Blount 1991). During the time that George Gordon Moore owned Rancho San Carlos, starlets and chorus girls came to enjoy lavish parties and to play. In the Oppenheimer years, however, members of the entertainment industry who came there did so to work. During the 1960s, the ranch was the setting for a weekly TV series called Lancer, commercials were made there and it was a scene in a number of films including Woody Allen’s Sleeper. The appearance of celebrities delighted the resident staff, who enjoyed getting glimpses of their favorite stars (Blount 1991). In the 1980s, the Oppenhemier family divested itself in its cattle interests and leased grazing rights to other Carmel Valley ranchers. This practice continued until the sale of Rancho San Carlos in 1990 to the Rancho San Carlos Partnership which was in the process of completing development plans for the property. The Oppenheimers made no major changes to the structures on the ranch. The buildings that remain reflect an opulent lifestyle common to the wealthy of the 1920s while the surrounding landscape recalls the period in Monterey County when on huge Mexican ranchos, cattle roamed the hills.