Saturday, March 24, 2007

No. 7 - Andres Pico Adobe

Andres Pico Adobe

Andres Pico Adobe
c. 1834
10940 Sepulveda Boulevard – map
Declared: 9/21/62

Here’s a quick history of the Andres Pico Adobe AKA De Celis Residence AKA Romulo Pico Adobe AKA Ranchita Romulo, cobbled together primarily from a San Fernando Valley Historical Society handout and this site summarizing the relevant section of John R. Kielbasa’s book, Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County.

c. 1834 A 40-odd-foot long, one-room adobe is built, probably by Native Americans, maybe for storage for the nearby San Fernando Mission.

1845 Pio Pico, governor of Mexican Alta California, allows his brother, Andres, to co-lease what remains of the San Fernando Mission land, about 118,000 acres.

Andres Pico Adobe - Main Room
The original room

Andres Pico Adobe
The north side

1846/47 Needing money for the U.S.-Mexican War, Pio Pico sells the San Fernando Valley (except for two ranchos), including the Adobe, to Don Eulogio de Celis for $14,000.

1853 Don Andres Pico, Pio’s brother and, more famously, the Mexican general who surrendered to John C. Fremont and signed the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga, putting a stop to the U.S.-Mexican War, buys half of the Valley for $15,000.

1862 Facing debt, Andres sells his Valley land to Pio. By this time, a library and dining room had been added to the structure, although it’s likely Andres never actually resided at the Adobe.

Andres Pico Adobe - Back court
The back of the Adobe, facing west

Andres Pico Adobe
South side

1869 Pio sells his Valley land to the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association, led by a pair of Isaacs – Lankershim and Van Nuys. The sale did not include the Adobe.

1874 Romulo and Catarina Pico, children of Andres, marry and take up residence in the Adobe (don’t worry, they were legally adopted). They modernized the home, adding a second floor, a kitchen, two wings, and a new floor.

Andres Pico Adobe

Andres Pico Adobe

1930 The Adobe, after being bought and sold a few times since the Picos moved out in the late 19th century, is a vacant and vandalized wreck. Archaeologist Dr. Mark Harrington, curator of the Southwest Indian Museum, and his wife buy the Adobe and restore the Monterey-style home more in the manner of an older hacienda, pre-dating the Pico renovations of the 1870s and 1880s by fifty years.

1927, before the Harrington restoration.

1945 Harrington sells the Adobe to Dr. G. M. Lindblade and his wife.

Early 1950s Morris D. Farnell and his wife buy the home.

1957 The North Valley YMCA buys the Adobe with five acres, using it for office space.

1965 The building’s put up for sale and threatened with demolition.

1968 The city of Los Angeles buys the property and hands it over to its Department of Recreation and Parks, which maintains the exterior and grounds to this day.

The Adobe is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s California State Landmark No. 362.

The Andres Pico Adobe serves as the headquarters for the San Fernando Historical Society. The building’s open for tours on Mondays and the third Sunday of each month.

Bonus! Also on the site is a small, hexagonal building in ill-repair. It was built in the early 1900s as a reading room on the Lankershim Ranch. In the mid 50s, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans bought the place, and moved it to their ranch in Chatsworth. Just a few years ago, facing the wrecking ball, the little building was re-located to the Adobe, where it awaits restoration funds. See a short clip of the building being put on its new foundations by clicking here.

Andres Pico Adobe - Lankershim Reading Room
The Lankershim reading room

For what it’s worth, finding the Adobe was no easy task (at least for me). Despite the address being a Sepulveda Boulevard one, the site’s actually on a little one-way road that veers off Sepulveda toward Brand. Keep a lookout for it soon after you go north from the 118. That’s if you’re going north from the 118.

Up next: The Foy House

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