The Shelton Ranch in the Tijuana River Valley

by Steve Schoenherr


ANNOUNCEMENT: The County of San Diego has launched a study to assess the feasibility of additional camping and recreational opportunities for the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. The public workshop on October 5, 2015 is the first of two planned workshops as part of the study. This workshop will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the historic Shelton Ranch House, now the Park Ranger Station, at 2721 Monument Road. It is an open house format, so drop by anytime, just drive up the hill and park in the lot. An additional public workshop is anticipated in Winter/Spring 2016. Please email if you would like to be added to the project email list. Please join us at these workshops to provide your input on potential improvements to the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. We'll be looking for your feedback on potential locations for a campground and additional recreational opportunities for the Park.


Shelton Ranch house was built in 1970, is now the park ranger headquarters.

The Shelton ranch was built by Louis Shelton who came to Chula Vista with his wife Helen in 1929 and ran the Bay View Dairy in Chula Vista 1929-37. After managing an Arden Dairy distributorship in the South Bay from 1937 to 1945, he moved to the valley and bought his Monument Road farm of 145 acres from the Ober family in 1947. Willard Layton was an ex-Marine who married Glendon Shelton, daughter of Louis and Helen, and helped run the dairy that came with the Ober property. A small house was moved to the Shelton ranch in 1950 from the Harley Knox dairy near Goat Canyon. Louis Shelton ended his dairy business in 1952 and turned to farming with the help of his son Tom Shelton and his wife Donna. After the death of Louis in 1965, Tom and Donna built their ranch house on the hill that was sold to the county in 1989 and has become the headquarters of the county rangers.

The first ranch house on the Shelton ranch in 1950
was the dairy house moved from the Harley Knox farm near Goat Canyon.
The first Shelton ranch house was moved in the
1990s, and is now the ranger building in the Bird & Butterfly Garden
Tom Shelton viewing the damage to his ranch caused by the flooding of the Tijuana River - see article in the Chula Vista Star-News, Aug. 18, 1983.

Louis Shelton with cars and trucks at his first ranch house in the early 1950s
(photo courtesy of Donna Shelton).
Louis Shelton (r.) and Willy Layton in 1951
(photo courtesy of Donna Shelton).
Tom Shelton family building the second ranch house in 1970, now the park ranger headquarters (photo courtesy of Donna Shelton).

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This web page was created Oct. 2, 2015, and revised Oct. 4, 2015, by Steve Schoenherr for the South Bay Historical Society | Copyright © 2015