Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Calabasas California

It was quite by accident that we came upon this historic area. We had known of it and it was in our plans to see it someday. Our only plans Sunday afternoon was to drive up the coastal highway and see the Malibu beach area. We had gotten that far and then decided that for our route back we would drive through the Santa Monica mountains. It was a good decision because we soon found ourselves driving on narrow roads which wound upwards through some very beautiful canyons.

It was on Old Topanga Canyon road where we came into the historic district of Calabasas.  Driving through the town was difficult because many cars and people clogged the streets. We decided that it was just better to find a parking place and walk. A lot of people seemed to be in this area because of a large Mexican cantina and restaurant which is located next to the Leonis Adobe Museum. Calabasas was the site of one of the two hundred or more Native American Rancherias that once dotted the San Fernando Valley. The Leonis Adobe museum is a Monterey-Style adobe home and working ranch, originally owned by the legendary Miguel Leonis who was know as the King of Calabasas. We toured the home, as well as the ranch yard and corral with livestock.

Next to the adobe home is located the Plummer House, which  is known as the "oldest house in Hollywood". It was moved from West Hollywood in 1983.It was built in 1826. Moving it to this location seemed to be the best place for it because the Plummers and the Leonis's were acquainted, as were most of the landholding families of those days.

Just before completing our tour of the ranch a huge tree with a sign on it caught my eye. The sign indicated it was a Quercus Lobata, "last of the old west". I have since done some research on that tree. It is also known as a Valley Oak which only grows here in California. It is the largest of North American Oaks. I only know that this particular tree is quite old and not the last of its species, there are groves of  the Valley Oak in a couple other areas of California. It certainly has a commanding presence here at the Leonis Ranch!

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