September 22, 2011
A VISIT TO THE PAST
Today Sunny Bunny and I went to visit the Leonis Adobe Museum and adjacent Calabasas Creek Park located in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. Calabasas, located on what was El Camino Real, was known as one of the toughest and wildest spots in California. The roadway became the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Today the road is adjacent to the 101 Freeway which is the major coastal route up the west coast. What a wonderful adventure it turned out to be.
The adobe was originally built in about 1844. Miguel Leonis acquired the abandoned adobe in the late 1870's. Leonis, a French Basque, was an early settler of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. He was a shrewd businessman and became the “King of Calabasas”, eventually acquiring livestock and over 10,000 acres of land. More about the Adobe can be seen here www.leonisadobemuseum.org.
When Sunny Bunny (I call her SB) and I arrived we stopped for a photo
at the Plummer House which is the entrance of the museum.
This house was originally in West Hollywood and was known as the oldest house in Hollywood. The Leonis family and Plummers were acquainted. The house was moved to Adobe grounds in 1983 and restored by the Leonis Adobe Assn. In addition to the local historical significance, our Hitty friends would be interested to know that John Cornelius Plummer, who built the house sometime in the late 1870's, was a sea captain and was often gone 2-3 years at a time.
There is a sewing machine displayed in the living room. It is a true antique. This one is made by Howe who invented the sewing machine, but let his patent expire. Singer jumped in and...well, you know the rest of the story!
We then toured the grounds of the adobe which had been restored. First we went to the Laundry area. Items would be soaked, scrubbed on a board, rinsed, put through the ringer, and then according to local Indian custom, left out to dry three days.
Next we saw the water pump and were shown how it worked to bring the water from underground springs.
From there we climbed up to see what was the foreman's quarters.
It is raised from the ground and below a storage tank.
Next we walked around the adobe to see the livestock.
There were goats, sheep and Percheron (large work animals) horses.
There were also 3 Texas Longhorns. Wow! The horns on one of them had to each be over 6 feet. His name was Fred A-Steer :).
Continuing on we saw the hut with the Mexican style oven or horno
and all of the tools used to bake breads and other baked goods.
Nearby was a large chicken coop, SB and I thought. But, no! It had turkeys. Being both male, they were separated. One was named Lunch and one was named Dinner.
Uh oh, we thought....maybe SB was in trouble here. But, the names were just for fun. Sigh of Relief. Across from the turkeys was the real chicken coop.
We didn't get too close to the chickens or turkeys for fear of being pecked.
The wagon storage area was next.
There were wagons for work
and wagons for travel cross country and wagons for visiting friends.There were also water wagons.
We also were shown Mr. Leonis' personal horse drawn Buggy. We were allowed to sit in the Buggy.
And then we spied the pumpkin patch.
Many of the pumpkins are already the rich pumpkin color. We were told that by Halloween there will be pumpkins by the dozens all over the ground.
The Adobe itself was next. Adobe houses are built of bricks made up of the local dirt, straw and water. The mixture is put into a wooden frame and left out in the sun to dry for a month.
Leonis restored, improved and enlarged the adobe. In the 1920's a state of the art bathroom was installed by the then owner, Lester Agoure.
A short walk past the Sagebrush Cantina took us to the Calabasas Creek Park.
This was a delightful shady place to stop....it was 104 degrees! The creek runs year round and has been a water source for travelers and local Chumash Indians dating back hundreds of years. In 1776, the deAnza expedition stopped here on its way to San Francisco from Mexico. The Calabasas jail is now located in the park.
Originally the jail was located across the street.
SB and I agreed today's outing was a wonderful adventure.