Blood-Horse Library

Seabiscuit Stud Barn Recognized as Historic

Recognition follows 15-month process to recognize Willits, Calif. barn.

On Jan. 14, 2014 Seabiscuit's stud barn, located at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Calif., officially was listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The 15-month nomination process conducted by Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation president Jacqueline Cooper was supported by individuals around the world, including Michael Howard, family historian of Seabiscuit owner Charles Howard; and organizations such as Santa Anita Park and Rotary Club of Willits, as well as the property owner, Golden Rule Church Association.

"While Seabiscuit's racing career ended prior to the construction of the stud barn, owner Charles Howard held the racehorse in such high esteem that he constructed a new barn, luxurious by equine standards, for Seabiscuit's use," said California state historian William Burg during a recent California State Historical Resource Commission meeting. "The barn featured a guestbook signed by over 5,000 visitors between 1940 and 1947." 

Burg went on to say the building is significant based on the property's role in horse racing history and tourism. 

"Because Seabiscuit was one of the greatest racehorses who ever lived, his barn is a landmark in sports history," said Laura Hillenbrand, author of "Seabiscuit - An American Legend". "But it's more than that. Seabiscuit was a beloved popular icon of the 1930s, a rags-to-riches hero who captivated and uplifted a nation stricken by the Great Depression. His barn is a treasure of our history, and it is so fitting that it now occupies a privileged spot on the National Register of Historic Places."

Artist Stan Watts of Atlas Bronze Casting, who produced a life-size memorial statue dedicated to the champion racehorse installed at Ridgewood Ranch, plans to donate a plaque commemorating the achievement.