The Los Coches Adobe, vacant for several decades now, sits alongside Highway 101 in a part of Soledad that lays claim to the Soledad Mission and has a story that is integrally associated with the people of Soledad, past and present. Originally built as a Rancho in 1843, Los Coches’ most continual contribution to the area was as a Wells Fargo Station Agent office, post office, stagecoach stop, and inn. From 1854 until 1868, the Adobe became a popular inn and stagecoach stop for passengers of the Bixby Overland Stage, running between San Francisco and Los Angeles. On December 20, 1872, the railroad reached Soledad connecting the region to San Francisco and creating an important stopover for travelers. Until 1886, Soledad was the terminus for the railroad and there was a turntable located at the end of town, on which the train was turned around for its return trip north.
For those wishing to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the train would arrive in Soledad late in the afternoon at the end of the train line and the passengers often stayed at the Adobe until they could continue their southward journey by stagecoach. The Coast Line Stage Company ran stagecoaches from Soledad south for those travelers and was based at the Adobe, where the horses were changed, travelers could eat or opt to spend the night. In fact, it became a popular vacation adventure to take the train to Soledad and then head out for a stay of a week or two at Paraiso Hot Springs.
In the mid-twentieth century, it was donated to the State of California by Margaret Jacks becoming a popular highway rest stop, complete with campgrounds for motorists along scenic Highway 101. The site was closed as a rest stop in the 1980’s and it was transferred to the City. In September 2008, the City received a $300,000 grant from the California Cultural and Historic Endowment to prepare plans for the rehabilitation of the Adobe and has construction-ready plans to move forward with when the estimated $2 million has been raised for the project. The City continues to seek grant funding for this important historic resource.
The planned preservation project hopes to rehabilitate this historic transportation facility, as well as to establish a museum that will include transportation-related exhibits and serve as a visitor’s center for the Monterey Peninsula. Future plans also include a walking trail on the property for pedestrians with educational markers interpreting Salinas Valley agriculture surrounding the Adobe, along with landscaping and other scenic beautification. Once rehabilitated, the Adobe will house exhibits contributing to the knowledge and understanding of local ethnic history, as well as a pictorial history of the site’s importance as the terminus of the railroad and coach line.