Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Serrano Boulder

Second in a series of nine northbound landmarks seen June 23, 1993 - Riverside County CA
No plaque, no fancy turnout with ‘landmark ahead’ signs, just a smallish boulder stuck in overgrown brush, a little too big to be hauled away by someone looking for a landscaping accent. If one is go the extra mile and a little dirt to reach this location, a step back at the site to contemplate that this was the first house in what is now Riverside County was right here. This boulder was put here by sympathizers of Leandro Serrano acknowledging his being screwed out of his 20,000 acre land grant. At one time there was a landmark plaque…maybe the courts took that away as well.

U.S. Supreme Court: Serrano v. United States, 72 U.S. 5 Wall. 451 451 (1866)
Yeah, the claim went all the way to the Supreme Court. Leandro had been here for over thirty years on land granted by the priests at San Luis Rey, and though possession law and statements from those parties involved in the original transaction would have normally held up as it did for American born landowners under Mexican rule, Serrano got the shaft. Though acquired in similar fashion as a grant, US citizen Jonathon Warner’s land nearby was never in question. Over in Azusa, English born ancestors of my better half’s family were likewise ousted from three square miles of land they paid cold hard cash for in the 1840’s. In the box for ‘occupation’ in the 1880 census, cousin Henry Dalton bluntly states: “Fighting for my rights.”  
This Online Archive of California  photo shows a Luiseno adobe in Temescal valley from around 1900 that would have been very similar to the original Serrano home.

Plaque inscription:
NO. 185 SERRANO BOULDER - As early as 1818, Don Leandro Serrano had cattle, sheep, cultivated land, and orchards in Temescal Valley. The boulder placed by residents of Temescal Valley marks the site of the first house in Riverside County, erected by Leandro Serrano about May 1824.
Location: From I-15, take Old Temescal Canyon Rd S 0.4 mi to Lawson Rd, then go W 0.2 mi to dirt rd, then S 0.1 mi to site, 9 mi S of Corona  Google maps: 33.770033,-117.490894

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