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Historic Rancho Camulos Refurbished by LAP&FCA and Local Union 36

Piru, CA / December 2013 — Workers employed by professional painting contractors who belong to the Los Angeles Painting & Finishing Contractors Association (LAP&FCA) and attend a state certified apprenticeship training program at the District Council #36 training facility in Commerce, donated their time to paint and refinish the National historical site, now a museum, Rancho Camulos, an 1,800-acre ranch with 147 years of history located in Piru, Ventura County California.

The union trades apprentices began their prep work on a northeast building of the ranch on October 26th 2013, and returned to complete the project on November 23rd. The trades persons spent the day completing their work with the help of apprenticeship school training director, Jesus Fernandez, Rancho Camulos Museum director, Susan Falck and Don Vulich of Endurance Painting. Allie Corey of Colors In View insured the apprentices had a hearty lunch on both days and coordinated the effort in having LAP&FCA Associate member companies Sherwin Williams, PPG Industries, Dunn-Edwards, 3M, Vista Paint, and H&E Equipment Services donate supplies to help complete the project.


At a point in time, Rancho Camulos was a thriving ranch that boomed in politics and agriculture. It all began in 1853, when Ygnacio del Valle established the 48,612-acre rancho on part of a Mexican land grant of former San Fernando mission lands. Previously used by the Indians to grow crops and raise small animals, Ygnacio, continued to do the same. Rancho Camulos became a virtually self-sustained ranch with over 200 residents that included the del Valle family and native peoples. The ranch grew from a single four-bedroom adobe to having a brick winery, chapel, and worker’s adobe. Rancho Camulos remained in the family for three generations until it was sold to the Rübel family.

Although the ranch created a large output in agriculture, such as grains, vegetables, fruit, brandy, and wine, it was also known as the home of Ramona. After the international success of Helen Hunt Jackson’s historical and romantic novel, Ramona, travelers from all over the world sought to visit the location Jackson had so beautifully described.

Presently, Rancho Camulos serves as a tourist destination, museum, and scenic sight for visitors. Due to age and trauma, the delicate structures are in need of repair. The brick winery and small adobe were terribly damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Fortunately, The Joint Apprenticeship Trust’s skilled apprentices volunteered to help the cause. The small adobe house, in which they refurbished, was originally built in 1920 by Nachito del Valle. With the help of LAP&FCA and Local Union 36, the structure is in preparation to become Rancho Camulos’ Welcome Center.

The goodwill the apprenticeship program is providing is allowing Rancho Camulos to better serve their visitors. The Apprentice Training Program Director, Jesus Fernandez, confidently stated, “Rancho Camulos is full of history and architectural beauty. The apprentices are proud to provide their expertise to this most needed charity.”

After directing a few charity projects of the like, Fernandez felt particularly pleased during this project because of its connection to history. He said, “Susan Falack, the Rancho Camulos Museum director, gave us a private tour of the site that both the apprentices and I appreciated. It provided us with an informed appreciation and perspective of the work we provided. Furthermore, it helped spur our passion to preserve something precious in Southern California history.” Being one of the last standing Spanish-Mexican haciendas, the apprentices were determined to provide their expertise toward the beautification of this local National treasure.

The Executive Director of LAP&FCA, Greg Quinn, was actively involved in the Rancho Camulos project. With a smile, Quinn declared, “This project is a win-win situation for all involved. The museum receives most needed paint and texturing, and the expert finishers are able to give back to their community.”


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