History of the Community
Floatsam and Jetsam by Miki Pehrson
Sand Dollar is built on the Rancho Aptos, a grant of 5,500 acres received by Rafael Castro in 1833 from Governor Jose Figueroa. The land extended from where Cabrillo College is today to sough of La Selva Beach and inland for two and a half miles. Castro built an adobe home near the current KOA Campground. Then, chased away by American Indians, he constructed a two-story home at Old Adobe Road near what is now Watsonville Airport. On September 27 of this year the Castro home was transferred to the California State Park system. It is the only remaining two-story adobe built in this area and is quite an impressive structure measuring 30 feet by 70 feet and includes a ballroom where people came for many miles to attend house parties at the hey day of Mexican rule. It is not open to the public at present, but you can take Buena Vista Drive to Old Adobe Road to see it.
When the Yankees took over California, Rafael Castro’s Rancho Aptos was the oldest land grant to remain under Mexican ownership. He had the foresight to keep copies of all the records regarding title to his land. Hi fellow Mexican landowners lost their land when they were forced to hire lawyers to represent them and their lawyers charged them half to two-thirds of their land for services. Rafael Castro sold the land, which is now Rio Del Mar to sugar king Claus Spreckels. Suzanne Paizis owner of the adobe from 1950 to 1963 has a new book “The Joaquin Castro Adobe in the Twentieth Century” for sale at local bookstores.