Big Box Stores Hide Historic Ranch House
On the west side of the charming California Central Coast town of San Luis Obispo lies a major commercial artery pumping up and down Los Osos Valley Road. Previously home to hundreds of acres of unspoiled, lush green hills, ranches, and farms, this area now boasts the usual big box stores such as Costco, Home Depot, Target, Old Navy, PetSmart, multiple car dealerships and more. Intersecting Los Osos Valley Road, Froom Ranch Way branches off and leads to a bevy of stores including Costco and Home Depot. Glancing up, one can see the spectacular 700-acre Irish Hills Nature Preserve rising behind them, a reminder of San Luis Obispo’s agricultural roots.
What is most surprising, however, is the aged, abandoned ranch house still hidden in the hills adjacent to Home Depot – Froom Ranch, an authentic old cowboy ranch house in its heyday. It is as if the ranch house serves as a warning to Home Depot customers: take care of your home or one day it will look like me. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on whether you are a photographer with a keen interest in urban exploration (UrbEx) like me.
On Valentine’s Day this past February I stopped by Costco to pick up a few things to celebrate the occasion, and was pleased to see a storm had rolled in. It was a beautiful day with perfect lighting for photography – part stormy sky, part sunlight streaming in through the Irish Hills. Thankfully I had my camera and tripod in my van, so I hiked up the hill to get an UrbEx shot to treat myself for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I know, very weird. But hey, I am a photographer unable to pass up opportunities like this. You would never guess that less than a hundred feet away is the entrance to Home Depot. But I am glad the Froom Ranch House has not had a nip and tuck.