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Pio Pico State Historic Park
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Pio Pico State Historic Park

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

The Pio Pico adobe was built in 1850-53. Through the years, it suffered damage from two major earthquakes and was to be torn down, but community support rose to preserve it. Now a State Historic Park, the once 8894 acre ranch Pio Pico called El Ranchito (Little Ranch), it is now a 5 acre State Historic Park.

The Pico family was among about 250 colonists who traveled from Sinaloa in Mexico to Pueblo Los Angeles with the Anza expedition of 1775. Pio de Jesus Pico IV was born at San Garbriel Mission in 1801 of Spanish, African, Italian, and American Indian ancestry. His father was a soldier assigned to a garrison at the mission. Pio was the fourth of ten children (three boys, seven girls). The family later moved to San Diego and returned to the Los Angeles area.

Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821 and Pio Pico supported the new country of Mexico, but even more, fought for California. In 1832 he help overthrow the governor of California and served as governor for 20 or 21 days (my research gave two figures) until a new governor could be appointed. Pio Pico was the last civilian governor of Mexican California, from 1845 to 1846 when the united State took control.

Pio Pico fled to Mexico when the Americans arrived to avoid capture and returned following the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago and California becoming part of the United State. Pico purchased the Ranch Paso de Bartolo Viejo from the heirs of Juan Crispin Perez about 1848, renaming the property El Ranchito or "Little Ranch." Pico stayed at El Ranchito when away frm his home in Los Angeles. He added an Anglo-style facade to the north side of the house. In the 1840s and 1850s, Pico had to fight for water rights on his Ranchita, despite the San Gabriel river running through his property.

Pio Pico and his ranch flourished during the gold rush years as he sent his cattle north to feed the minors. As the gold rush ebbed, so did Pio's fortunes. He lost money to dishonest businessmen. He attempted to establish a town of Picoville, patterned after Anaheim, but in 1867, a flood destroyed the town and park of his own home. The west facade of the house still shows scars from this flood. Pio Pico built the Pico House at El Pueblo Los Angeles in 1870. He sold off land to pay debts. finally losing his beloved Ranchito to a dishonest man in 1892 who evicted him. He lived with friends and died at the home of his daughter Joaquine Moreno on September 11, 1894 in Los Angeles.

The early 1900s threatened to destroy the house, but community involvement saved the house and in 1917, the property was deeded to the State of California. In 1927, the property and house became one of the first State Historic Parks.

In recent times, two major earthquakes (1987 & 1994) damaged the house and a slight lean can be seen in some walls, but the house is now stabilized and restored to the way it looked in the 1880s. A living history is conducted at the house one Saturday per month.

The house is California Registered Historical Landmark number 127.

His brother Andres Pico was an important military figure and acquired former San Fernando Mission land where he remodeled a mission building into a home for his son Romulo and Romulo's wife, Catarina.

Pio Pico State Historic Park
6003 S. Pioneer Blvd.
Off 605 Freeway.

Pio Pico House, Exterior
Pio Pico House, exterior. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Pio Pico House, Interior
Pio Pico House, interior. Photo date: 1-22-05.
East Side
East side. Photo date: 1-22-05.
This was a tactile, 3D, map of the site. Photo date: 1-22-05.
El Camino Real Bell
El Camino Real Bell. Photo date: 1-22-05.
El Camino Real Bell
El Camino Real Bell. Photo date: 1-22-05.
North Side
Photo date: 1-22-05.
North Side
Photo date: 1-22-05.

North side. This is a reproduction of the "Anglo" style facade that Pio added to the house once he was "An American." The original was removed by conservationists who didn't realize this non-conforming design was original.

West Side
West side. This was the side damaged by the flood of 1867. Photo date: 1-22-05.
West Side
West side. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Southwest Corner
Southwest corner. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Southwest Corner
Southwest corner. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Northwest Corner
Northwest corner. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Northwest Corner
Northwest corner and garden. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Detail of Balcony
Detail of balcony. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Grape Arbore
Grape arbore. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Bedroom. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Interior. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Door Casing
This cut door casing shows how a stair was once at this location. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Excavation of foundation of an earlier wall that divided this room into three smaller rooms. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Farming Exhibit
Farming exhibit. Photo date: 1-22-05.

Store Room
Store room. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Store Room
Store room. Photo date: 1-22-05.
South Side
South side. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Dove House
Dove house. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Dove House
Dove house. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Backing bread. Photo date: 1-22-05.
The oven is first heated. Photo date: 1-22-05.
It is the stored heat in the walls of the oven, not the fire, that bakes the bread. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Oven ready to bake bread. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Frame to make 4 adobe bricks. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Making Adobe
Mixing clay and straw to make adobe bricks. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Making Adobe
Mixed adobe and frame. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Making Adobe
Mixed adobe. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Making Adobe
Mixed adobe. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Fig Tree
Fig tree. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Yucca. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Cactus and west side of house. Photo date: 1-22-05.
Cactus in garden. Photo date: 1-22-05.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 19:21:52 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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