Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Romulo Pico Adobe

Los Angeles County -  July 28, 1997

Sometimes the California state landmark book just doesn’t get it right, leaving the wannabe geo explorer in the lurch, confused and wondering what they did wrong. Such is the case with this landmark first visited in 1997. We rolled up to the triangle formed by the 405, 118, and 5 freeways and drive to 10940 Sepulveda Blvd. to find nothing resembling the Romulo Pico Adobe, just nondescript commercial property and a storage facility across the street. What gives? To this day that address remains the correct one for the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, so the best guess is that it’s a postal address and not the site. The adobe we’re looking for is actually a bit south and just off Sepulveda and on West Brand Blvd….the first Brand turnoff if you’re northbound on Sepulveda. Geez.   

All ranting aside, the Andrea Pico Adobe where the Romulo Adobe is located is a great site to visit. An active museum where one can experience the feel of the nineteenth century in the San Fernando valley. They host numerous events that bring that era to life as well as educational programs for elementary students for that history-social science fix. It sure beats the usual fodder; the neglected roadside landmarks that announce a site or event that left current culture long ago.

Andreas Pico was a brother of Governor Pio Pico and received a nine year lease for the rancho in 1845. Over the next twenty years the huge plot of land which included the Mission, went through multiple hands and partners with Andreas keeping this particular section. Around 1874 Romulo came along and is credited with fixing up the adobe and he and wife Catarina kept it in use till the late 1890’s. After that it fell into disrepair and was abandoned, later to restored, and restored again after the Sylmar earthquake to its present state.

Bottom line? Don’t go to the address, go to these coordinates: 34.268961,-118.466477

Plaque inscription: NO. 362 RÓMULO PICO ADOBE (RANCHITO RÓMULO) - The oldest portion of the adobe was built about 1834 by ex-mission Indians. It was enlarged by Eulogio de Celís in 1846, and an upper story added by Rómulo Pico in 1874. The house was restored by Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Harrington in 1930.
Location: 10940 N Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: SAN FERNANDO
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-66000211

Friday, November 11, 2011

Los Encinos State Historic Park

Los Angeles County -  July 28, 1997

There aren’t many places left in the Los Angeles area to walk on acreage and back in time to the rancho era of pre statehood, but here at Los Encinos State Historic Park you can, and it’s free. The visitors’ center is in the Garmier building and is open for tours 10 to 5 Wednesdays through Sundays. They offer guided tours of the newly refurbished De la Ossa Adobe as well. 

Originally this site was a ‘rancheria’ (Indian Village) of the tribe now often called Fernandeno, and was a gathering place for thousands of years prior to the Spanish muscling in in the late 1700’s. Natural spring water at the site was the attraction.

The original private owners of what was a 4460 acre grant were three Mission Indians and their families when the Mexican government dissolved the Missions in 1834. Raising cattle and simple crops their successors fell on progressively harder times, or got gold fever, and they sold out to Vincente de la Ossa in 1849.

It’s interesting to come to know that almost all of the vaqueros of the region were Native Americans, and that the cattle they rounded up annually to a rodeo were slaughtered mainly for their hides and tallow for the trade ships, and there was way too much meat to eat or preserve.  

Plaque inscription (local plaque):NO. 689 LOS ENCINOS STATE HISTORIC PARK - The Franciscan padres used Encino as their headquarters while exploring the valley before establishing Mission San Fernando in 1797. In 1849 Vincente de la Osa built an adobe with nine rooms. The next owner of was Eugene Garnier, who built the existing two-story limestone house in 1872. In December 1891 Domingo Amestoy acquired the property.
Location: Los Encinos State Historic Park, 16756 Moorpark St, Encino
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-71000142
GPS: 34.160549,-118.498498