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Dominguez Adobe

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2008 - 2017.

Juan Jose Dominguez, a retired soldier, was the first civil servant to be awarded a land grant in new Spanish Alta California. He came to Alta California in 1769 with the Portola Expedition and Father Junipero Serra, the founder of the California Missions. Dominguez was awarded the land grant in 1784 and established Rancho San Pedro, a 75,000-acre expanse of land covering what is now the Los Angeles Harbor area. The rancho was half way between the pueblo of Los Angeles and the harbor and later adjacent to the rail line.

Juan Jose had left Rancho San Pedro in the hands of his mayordomo (ranch manager), Manuel Gutierrez. Upon his death, Juan Jose Dominguez had no wife or children and in his will he left half of his livestock to his nephew, Cristobal, and the remaining half to the children of Mateo Rubio. Juan Jose had prepared a will but did not specify to whom the Rancho land should pass. Being a bachelor without children, the Rancho passed to Juan Jose's only living relative, his nephew, Cristobal Dominguez. Cristobal was not interested in the rancho until later because his uncle had left debts and because he was still obligated to the military. Gutierrez paid off the debts owed by Juan Jose Dominguez, established residence and assumed control of the rancho which prospered under Gutierrez's direction. Cristobal had made the first survey in 1823 (1824 ???) and later, when California became part of the United States, the survey allowed the family's claim to the land to stand, unlike many other land owners. Gutierrez had allowed a friend, Jose Dolores Sepulveda, from the same family of Juan Jose Dominguez's mother, to graze a thousand head of cattle in the southwest portion of the property know as Canada de Los Palos Verdes (Canyon of the Green Trees). Sepulveda built an adobe home and made improvement to the land. Eventually, this occupation by Sepulveda on the rancho lead to years of legal arguments eventually resulting in about half of the rancho, Rancho Los Palos Verdes, being deeded to the heirs of Sepulveda.
Cristobal died in 1825. Crisobal's eldest living son, Manuel Dominguez, was 22 when his father died. The family moved from Mission San Juan Capistrano to Los Angeles where they lived while building houses at the rancho. About 1827, Manuel Domingez completed the house which was originally a single story, "L" configured adobe with six rooms. Manuel and Maria Engracia de Cota married in 1827. Manuel was granted the first U.S. land patent granted in California but by that time, the ranch had diminished to only 25,000 acres of the original 75,000 acres. Manuel was active in local politics and was also involved with the formation of the state of California. Manuel Dominguez donated land to the railroad that was built between Los Angeles and the harbor in 1869. The railroad still runs by the adobe a few hundred feet to the east.

Manuel and Maria had ten children, six of whom survived (all daughters). Daughters Susana, married a man named Del Amo, Dolores married a man named Watson (Watson Land Company and Industrial Centers), Maria Victoria married George Henry Carson. All prominent names today. On October 11, 1882, Manuel Dominguez died at his adobe home on Rancho San Pedro

George & Victoria Carson moved into the Rancho's Victorian home a short distance from the adobe. Unfortunately, the Victorian was recently torn down because of advanced deterioration. The city of Carson is named after their son, John Manuel Carson.

The Dominguez home also served as a convenient and hospitable stopover for travelers on horseback or for those taking the stagecoach between the Pueblo and the San Pedro port.

In 1910, the Los Angeles International Aviation Meet, the first Air Meet held in the United States, was conducted a few hundred feet from the ranch house. A second meet was held in 1912, but World War I put and end to the meets.

The house, which was originally an L-shaped adobe structure was expanded to a U-shape of wood construction in 1921.

In 1922, Manuel Dominguez's surviving daughters gave the adobe and 17 acres to the Claretain Missionary Fathers who operated the site as the Dominguez Memorial Seminary for 50 years and is now a retirement home for priests. The house has been restored and is California Historical Landmark #152 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976.

The descendants of Juan Jose Dominguez still own much of the property

The Rancho is located at:
Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
18127 South Alameda Street
Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220
Take the Alameda exit south from the 91 Freeway.
Docent lead tours are offered on Sunday and Wednesday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 pm.
Group tours are welcomed and must be booked ahead. For more information, phone (310) 603-0088.

The Museum offers several activities and special events throughout the year.
The Long Beach Cactus Society meets here the fourth Sunday of the month.

Blessed Mother offering protection to the Goodyear Blimp.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 18:56:18 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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