Colleen M. Delaney
Colleen M. Delaney

Chaucer’s Books will host author Colleen M. Delaney, Cal State University Channel Islands professor, discussing her book “Rancho Guadalasca: Last Ranch of California’s Central Coast,” 6 p.m. Thursday, June 8 at 3321 State St., Santa Barbara.

Delaney’s book takes readers through 5,000 years of community and lifeways that shaped Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Today, the name Guadalasca is most commonly associated with a mountain biking trail in Point Mugu State Park, but its history goes much deeper.

A Mexican land grant awarded in 1836, Rancho Guadalasca lay at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains along the eastern Oxnard Plain.

Santa Barbara resident and grantee Ysabel Yorba, an illiterate widow, successfully managed the ranch for more than 35 years. She is just one of many fascinating people who once lived along this stretch of the Central Coast.

Indigenous Chumash, Californio ranchers, Anglo American farmers, Japanese fishermen, and Basque sheepherders all left their marks on the land, along with local institutions like Camarillo State Hospital and CSU Channel Islands.

Delaney spent her childhood interested in history, stories and special places as she frequently moved throughout the U.S. As a professor at CSUCI, she uses history, oral history, archaeology and anthropology to tell the stories of the past and present along the Central Coast.