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

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