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Campo de Cahuenga
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Campo de Cahuenga

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2003 - 2017.


Campo de Cahuenga is possibly the most important historical site in the Southwest United States. Yet, it is unrecognized by the tens of thousands of people who pass by every day. It sits across the street from a major Southern California theme park and film studio, and was almost demolished to make way for an adjacent Metro Station. The site has recently been studied by Archaeologists and partially restored. The foundations run from under Lankershim Boulevard back into the Metro station parking lot.

Through the Garden Gate
"Through the garden gate. Photo date: 10-10-04.
Seal
Seal on front gate. Photo date: 10-16-04.

Only stone foundations and floor tiles remain of the adobe where on January 13, 1847, Mexican General Andres Pico and United States Colonel John C. Fremont signed the Articles of Capitulation AKA, Treaty of Cahuenga. The Treaty of Cahuenga ended the hostilities between Mexico and the United States in California and this lead to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo which ended the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and ceded California to the United States. The Treaty of Cahuenga was instrumental in ending the conflict between United States and Mexico over the territory that is now the United State Southwest, the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado and other adjoining states. Had the Treaty of Cahuenga not ben signed, the US-Mexican border could look quite different today. This is the spot where the United State became a trans-continental nation. Ironically, after the signing, Fremont was court-martialed because he did not have the authority to sign the treaty but was pardoned by President Poke who had secretly given orders to Fremont to foster rebellion in California.

The history of Casa Cahuenga is not clear. One story suggests that the adobe was built in 1795 by a former Mexican soldier by the name of Mariano de la Luz Verdudo who then occupied the land. Recent Archaeological work suggests that the adobe was more likely built between 1790-1810. Mission San Fernando owned the land from 1810 until 1834 when secularization striped the missions of their property. At the time that the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed, the adobe was owned by Eulogio de Celis, a Spaniard. From 1858 to 1861, the adobe served as a stage stop for the Butterfield Stage. The Casa also served as a Civil War encampment for the California Battalion in the 1860s.
The building deteriorated until only the foundation and some floor tiles remained, and these were covered over and lost. In 1923, the City of Los Angeles authorized the purchase of the Campo Ranch area. By the 1930s, it was forgotten. It took sixty years to locate the exact location of the remains. J. Marshall Miller, with help from student volunteers, explored and exposed the site in 1931. Even after this rediscovery, the site remained unrestored and not fully understood. In 1948, Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorial Association was formed and on November 2, 1950, a reproduction of the adobe structure was dedicated. It wasn't until construction began on the Universal City Red Line Metro Station in 1995, that archaeologists accidentally found stone foundations. In 1997, the size of the adobe was finally determined. The foundation of this 40 foot by 100 foot adobe extended in both directions from the partially restored foundation now visible at the site. Later, broken floor and roof tiles were found. It is now believed that the adobe was one of the largest in Southern California. The date of construction is now believed to be about 1790. The parts of the foundation under the parking lots and Lankershim Boulevard are now covered to protect them with pavers in the street to outline the foundation beneith. The stone and adobe now visible is new material in the locations of the original, showing what is now safely covered.

The current structure at the site is a 1949 loose reproduction of the original. The original adobe was much larger. The current structure serves as a museum. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places, Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument #29, and California State Historic Landmark #151.

Campo de Cahuenga is located at 3912 Lankershim Boulevard; North Hollywood. Campo de Cahuenga has recently been restored and is now open Saturday, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. The Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorials Association commemorates the signing each January (usually the Sunday closest to January 13) with a special re-enactment program.
Through the Garden Fence
Through the garden fence. Photo date: 10-10-04.
Through the Garden Fence
Through the garden fence. Photo date: 10-10-04.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell with the infamous Universal Studio "Black Tower" beyond. Photo date: 10-10-04.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell with NBC-Universal new Tower beyond. Photo date: 10-16-04.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell. Photo date: 1-16-05.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell with NBC-Universal new Tower beyond. Photo date: 1-16-05.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell with NBC-Universal new Tower beyond. Photo date: 1-16-05.
El Camino Bell
El Camino Bell. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Ruins of the Original Building
Ruins of the original building. Photo date: 10-10-04.
Ruins of the Original Building
Ruins of the original building. Photo date: 10-10-04.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 10-16-04.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 10-16-04.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 10-16-04.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 10-16-04.
Recreations of Foundations Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 10-16-04.

Recreations of foundations (left).
Photo date: 10-16-04.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Recreations of Foundations
Recreations of foundations. Photo date: 1-16-05.

Pavers Pavers
The location of the foundation under Lankershim Boulevard is marked with these pavers.
Photo date: 1-16-05.
Bell and Newer Building
Bell and park building. Photo date: 10-10-04.
Reproduction Building
Photo date: 10-16-04.
Sun Dial
Time eats away at history. Photo date: 10-16-04.

    El Camino Bell, fountain, and reproduction
    adobe (right) Photo date: 10-16-04.
El Camino Bell and Adobe
Oak
Oak leaves. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Oak
Oak tree over adobe. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Ball and Palm Trees
Ball and palm trees. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Palm Trees
Palm trees. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Once a year, Campo de Cahuenga re-enacts the signing of the Articles of Capitulation AKA, Treaty of Cahuenga, usually the Sunday closest to January 13. In 2005, it was January 16. The photographs in the following section are of the 55th Annual Celebration and Re-Enactment of the Signing of the Articals of Capitulation at Campo de Cahuenga, January 13, 1847. This re-enactment took place in January 16, 2004. The History Channel was also in attendence.
Cannons
Cannons. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannons
Cannon being readied. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannons
Cannon being readied. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannons
Cannon being readied. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannons
Cannon being readied. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Firing the cannon. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Firing the cannon. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Firing the cannon. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Firing the cannon. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Cannon fire. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Cannon Fire
Canon fire with "LA's Finest" (police) investigating the noise. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Flag Raising
Raising the flag. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Flag Raising
Raising the flag. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Flag, Bell, Oil
Flag and bell, under rising Moon. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Andres Pico Reading the Articles of Capitulation
Andres Pico reading the Articles of Capitulation. Photo date: 1-16-05.
Andres Pico Presenting His Ssward to Fremont
Andres Pico presenting his sward to Fremont. Photo date: 1-16-05.

The re-enactment portrayed in the above and below three photos were John C. Fremont played by Kent Elofson, Andrea Pico played by Jerry Reyes, Commodore Robert F. Stockton played by Walter Nelson, Narrator was Phil Howard.

Fremont and Stockton
Fremont justifying his actions to Stockton.

The reenactment was followed by traditional dance by the Carolina Russek's Fiesta Dancers. Photo date, this section, 1-16-05

Traditional Dance Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance Traditional Dance

Campo de Cahuenga
The site during the renovation. Photo Date: 12-20-03.
During the construction of the adjacent Metro Rail Station at the end of the 20th Century, a team of archaeologists and researchers uncovered, researched, evaluated, and cataloged the site and the foundations. The remains are now protected in place. The site was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It is State Landmark, #151 and City Historic-Cultural Monument, #29.

The site is operated by Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. If you have any interest in history, you should visit this important historical site.


Twelve Flags of California

The Campo de Cahuenga Museum houses an exhibit to the twelve flags that have flown over California.
  1. The Spanish Empire, 1542-1785. On October 10, 1542, Juan Cabrillo raised the flag and claimed California for Spain. This location was near modern day Point Mugo in Ventura County.
  2. The Cross of Saint George of England, 1579. Spain was neglecting it's new possession and Queen Elizabeth sent Sir Francis Drake to claim the land for England. Sailing in the Golden Hind, Drake went ashore on June 17, 1579 in the vicinity of Drake's Bay north of San Francisco. The exact location has never been determined to the satisfaction of everyone. Drake named the land "New Albion," but England did little with its claim.
  3. The Spanish National Ensign, 1785-1822. To prevent further English interest in California, Spain sent Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra to develope California, Portola to establish presidios and pueblos and Father Serra to establish a chain of missions. The first missions was established in San Diego on May 17, 1769. In 1785, the flag of the Spanish Empire was replaced with the Spanish National flag which flew until Mexican Independence in 1822.
  4. Russia, 1812-1842. Russia became interested in California, moving in from the northwest. The Czar was interested in the sea otters that once abounded along the coast. Ivan A. Kuskof established Fort Ross north of Drake's Bay and he claimed Northern California for Russia. Spain and after its independence, Mexico was not comfortable with Russia at it's border and in 1823, Mexico established the last mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma to better express it's claim to the teritory. In 1841, Russia sold Fort Ross to John Sutter and relinquished it's claims to California.
  5. The Russian American Company, 1812-1842 was a commercial venture that flew over remote outposts in California. Granted a royal license by the Czar to hunt sea otter, Russian American Company was an attempt by the Czar to establish sovereignty over California.
  6. The flag of Hypolyte de Bouchard, a French privateer, was the Buenos Aires revolutionary flag. Bouchard sailed in from the south in two frigates landing in Monterey on November 20, 1818 and raising his flag over the Custom-House. He raided Monterey and then worked his way down the coast to Capistrano, plundering along the way. His occupation lasted only a month.
  7. Mexican Empire, 1822. A priest named Miguel Hidalgo rallied popular support for a revolt against Spain. Eleven years of warfare ended with Mexican independence and naming Iturbide as emperor. The flag was raised at the Monterey Presidio ob April 11, 1822.
  8. The Mexican Republic, 1825. The Mexican people did not whish to live in an imperial state and deposed Emperor Iturbide and adopted a plan for a confederation of States. For a time, California had its own government, but it is not know if it had its own flag. They joined with the new union and raised the new flag of the Republic of Mexico at Monterey on March 26, 1825.
  9. The Fremount flag, 1844-1846. Captain John C. Fremont of the US Topographical Engineers carried a flag of unusual design on his expeditions into California. It was similar to a United State flag, but with a white field where the blue would normally be. In the white filed was an American eagle with two bands, one above and one below with 13 stars each.
  10. First Bear Flag, 1846. On June 14, 1846, a group of American Settlers from the Sonoma area captured the Sonoma garrison, arrested officials, and declared California to be an independent republic. The first Bear flag was raised but flew only a few days before Captain Fremont, under Commodore Sloat, ordered it replaced with the American flag. This ended the Bear Flag Rebellion. This was not the end of the Bear flag.
  11. American Flag, 1846. Commodore John D. Sloat, commanding the Pacific Squadron of the United States Navy, sailed north rom Mexico. When he learned of the Declaration of War between Mexico and the United States, he carried out his orders to take Monterey and California. The English were on the way to also attemp capture of California. On July 7, 1846, under orders of Commodore Sloat, Captain William Mervine raised the flag of the United States over the Custom-House in Monterey.
  12. The Official Bear Flag, 1911. The first Bear Flag was hastily assembled from a piece of rough cotton cloth, a red flannel bar across the bottom, a bear reported to more resemble a hog, a single star out of respect for the Republic of Texas (The Lone Star State), and the words "California Republic" inked on the white cloth. It was not until February 3, 1911 that a redesigned flag became the State Standard and the bear no longer looks like a hog.
Today, the flags of the United State and the State of California fly high above the state.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 19:54:54 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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