Further Tales of the Vasco

As the inlet pipe was ceremoniously opened, filling the long awaited reservoir for the very first time, the Vasco Adobe disappeared beneath the waters of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Built in the 1850s by a group of rough Basque cattle ranchers, the adobe had been the scene of tragedies, feuds, fights, failures, and betrayals. Its occupants made and lost fortunes for themselves, and for their lawyers. Only when the cascading series of lawsuits was settled was the adobe abandoned and its residents moved into a plain, wooden house. Melted by rain and buried by flood silts, the adobe remark ably survived the ownership of Oscar Starr, inventor of the Caterpillar tractor, who test-drove his bulldozers on the ranch. It also survived the tenure of gun-toting San Francisco socialite and party-girl, Edith Ordway, who buried her toothless pet raccoon next to the old building's remains. Archaeologists, historians, architects, and folklorists studied the Vasco Adobe so that its stories would not be lost beneath the waters of Los Vaqueros Reservoir.