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History of Casini Ranch

By Jeffrey Bernstein

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Photo By Sophia Pena

As you probably already know, our school is having our annual all-school camping trip at Casini Ranch in Duncan Mills next to the Russian River. Since this is the third time we have gone to Casini Ranch, you may already know some facts about the campground. But did you know that Casini Ranch is a private family owned campground, or that it sits over a mile along the Russian River?  Did you know that prior to being a place to relax and vacation on the waterfront, Casini Ranch was a dairy farm?

“The Casini Family have [sic] lived on what is now Casini Ranch for six generations and have owned the land for three generations. In 1881 Bartolomeo and Anastasia Casini settled in the area around Duncan’s Mills” (www.casiniranch.com). During this time, their son, Paul Anthony Casini, worked for the La Franchi family’s dairy farm. Between 1928 and 1932, Paul Anthony Casini bought La Franchi’s shares in their dairy farm, which made him to sole owner of the land and farm. According to Steep (would not give last name), an employee at Casini Ranch Family Campground, the motivation to switch the dairy farm to a campsite was, “that the current owner’s [Paul Casini’s] parents [and grandparents] started allowing people to come fish on the river and then pitch their tents for a few nights for a couple of bucks. At that time there were no restrooms, no stores and no other amenities, but as it became more popular over the years they started adding attractions such as the store and bathrooms.” With time, it transitioned into the campground it is now. Steep also mentioned that one of the reasons he likes Casini Ranch so much, “is the solitude of the campground” and he loves “to see an eagle occasionally fly over the campground, or to watch the salmon jumping in the river.” He also enjoys sitting by the pond and feeding the geese during the week when it is peaceful and quiet.

Featured Photo By Rye Spooner

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