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Ramona
 

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Ramona.
Ramona

Of all the individuals associated with California's missions, the most enduringly popular did not really exist at all. She was Ramona, heroine of Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel of the same name. Although written to expose the mistreatment of the Mission Indians by Angelo-Americans, the book did much to encourage interest in Spanish/Mexican California, and romanticize its missions. It even spawned a mini tourist industry, with places such as “Ramona's Home” and “Ramona's Marriage Place,” and other sites claiming to be “authentic” Ramona locations dotting the Southern California landscape. Ramona became a valuable marketing tool as well. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she appeared on packaging in many visages, from classical goddess to modern flapper, but few advertisements or labels showed her as the half-Scottish, half-Indian girl of Jackson's novel.


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Even though the character, Ramona, never existed beyond Helen Hunt Jackson's imagination, Rancho Camulos in Ventura County and Rancho Guajome in San Diego county vied for the right to be known as Ramona's home. Mrs. Jackson visited both sites while gathering information for her novel.

Even though the character, Ramona, never existed beyond Helen Hunt Jackson's imagination, Rancho Camulos in Ventura County and Rancho Guajome in San Diego county vied for the right to be known as Ramona's home. Mrs. Jackson visited both sites while gathering information for her novel.

Even though the character, Ramona, never existed beyond Helen Hunt Jackson's imagination, Rancho Camulos in Ventra County and Rancho Guajome in San Diego county vied for the right to be known as Ramona's home. Mrs. Jackson visited both sites while gathering information for her novel.

With Mission San Luis Rey in the background, an artist's romantic impression of Helen Hunt Jackson's heroine gazes from a 1903 candy wrapper.

With Mission San Luis Rey in the background, an artist's romantic impression of Helen Hunt Jackson's heroine gazes from a 1903 candy wrapper.

Since its publication in 1884, Helen Hunt Jackson's novel, <em>Ramona</em>, has never been out of print.  It inspired popular songs, four motion pictures and an annual pageant.

Since its publication in 1884, Helen Hunt Jackson's novel, Ramona, has never been out of print. It inspired popular songs, four motion pictures and an annual pageant.

Following its restoration in 1910 by sugar and streetcar magnate John D. Spreckels, the former Estudillo adobe in San Diego's Old Town became known as “Ramona's Marriage Place,” and remained a tourist attraction for decades.  Even the bells at Old Town's nearby Roman Catholic chapel were said to have chimed for the legendary ceremony.

Following its restoration in 1910 by sugar and streetcar magnate John D. Spreckels, the former Estudillo adobe in San Diego's Old Town became known as “Ramona's Marriage Place,” and remained a tourist attraction for decades.  Even the bells at Old Town's nearby Roman Catholic chapel were said to have chimed for the legendary ceremony.

Following its restoration in 1910 by sugar and streetcar magnate John D. Spreckels, the former Estudillo adobe in San Diego's Old Town became known as “Ramona's Marriage Place,” and remained a tourist attraction for decades.  Even the bells at Old Town's nearby Roman Catholic chapel were said to have chimed for the legendary ceremony.

Following its restoration in 1910 by sugar and streetcar magnate John D. Spreckels, the former Estudillo adobe in San Diego's Old Town became known as “Ramona's Marriage Place,” and remained a tourist attraction for decades. Even the bells at Old Town's nearby Roman Catholic chapel were said to have chimed for the legendary ceremony.



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