Theophile Verlaque (1823-1913), a French immigrant, was a successful San Diego entreprenuer, saloon keeper, vintner and real estate speculator.
Verlaque was a friend of Bernard Etcheverry, a French Basque immigrant, who by 1880 owned 16,700 acres of the original Santa Maria Rancho land grant and had a thriving rancho. Verlaque and Etcheverry decided that a store and post office could be a successful venture. Verlaque's son Amos purchased two acres from Etcheverry along the stage and freight wagon road connecting San Diego and Julian. The younger Verlaque built a store and post office (1883) and the town of Nuevo (later Ramon) was born.
Verlaque decided to build a country home reminiscent of the homes of his youth in southern France and his many years spent living near the French community of St. Genevieve, Missouri. He had the home erected next to his son Amos' merchantile.
The Verlaque House is a rare example of traditional French Provincial architecture in the Western United States. The home is built on a 2 foot thich fieldstone foundation with 18 inch adobe walls, has a 45 degree truncated hip roof, an elevated veranda surrounding the house and a basement wine celler with 7ft. ceilings and a ramp for wine barrels.
This home was continuously owned by Verlaque descendents up until 1962 when it was purchased by Leona Ransom who wanted the home restored and preserved as a museum. In 1984, the Ransom family donated the home to the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society and it is now the centerpiece of the Guy B. Woodward Museum.