La Casona information
Lonely Planet review
Historic La Casona, the main building of the old Hacienda Santa Rosa, is near park headquarters in the Santa Rosa sector. Unfortunately, the original building was burnt to the ground by arsonists in May 2001, but was rebuilt in 2002 using historic photos and local timber. The boulder foundation is still authentic, and there are other 19th-century charms such as wagon wheels, a restored adobe kitchen and one prominently displayed yoke on the porch eaves, not to mention those fabulous old shade trees around the Casona corrals. Two hiking trails leave from behind the museum.
The battle of 1856 was fought around this building, and the military action, as well as the region’s natural history, is described with wonderful new historical displays in English and Spanish detailing the old gold rush route, William Walker's evil imperial plans, and the 20-day battle breakdown.
The arsonists were a local father-son team of poachers who were disgruntled at being banned from hunting here by park rangers. They were caught and sentenced to 20 years in prison for torching a building of national cultural and historical value. Unfortunately, poaching continues in the park since it’s difficult for rangers to effectively patrol such a large area.