A Preserved California Historic Site – Campo de Cahuenga

Right down the hill from Universal Studios, Hollywood is a preserved historic site that is probably one of the most important sites for California and the United States. Campo de Cahuenga was an adobe ranch house where the Treaty of Cahuenga (also known as “The Capitulation of Cahuenga”) was signed between Lieutenant Colonel John C. Fremont and General Andrés Pico on January 13, 1847, ending the fighting in the Mexican American War.

The subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 signed in Mexico, ceding California, parts of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona to the United States, formally ended the Mexican-American War.  Texas had already seceded from Mexico in 1836, and joined the union in 1845.

What is pretty fascinating is that the treaty was initiated by a remarkable woman. Dona Maria Bernarda Ruiz Rodriguez who was concerned for lives of her four sons in the war was initially given a 10 minute meeting with Fremont which lasted for hours.

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Maria probably appealed to his ambitions of furthering a political career if he had the support of the Californios.

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After the treaty was signed she retired to Santa Barbara and lived a quiet life and passed away in 1880. The original adobe structure was demolished in 1900.

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The city of Los Angeles purchased the property in 1923, and a replica adobe-type ranch house was built by the city following an effort led by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes, founder of the Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorial Association.  The building was dedicated on November 2, 1950.

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Lex and I had a great time exploring the grounds and seeing the ruins of the original adobe foundations that were unearthed during the construction of the Metro Red Line subway.

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It’s not too difficult to imagine how the area might have looked like within the Campo de Cahuenga complex but just step outside of it and you are flooded by the sights and sounds of Lankershim Boulevard and the twenty-first century.  We preferred the peaceful quiet contemplation of how important the treaty was in the development of the United States as a country.

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The complex is open to the public on the first and third Saturdays of the month and the cost is free.  Parking at the Universal Metro Station costs $3 dollars but you’re not allowed to park there to go to Universal Studios.  Sorry!

There was also a small craft and art fair at the complex where we purchased a book on places to explore in the San Fernando Valley. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find those gems and interview the author in the future.

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We wondered what other stories and perhaps secrets that the site may hold. Maybe this lady with the beautiful fan and mantilla knows!

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