Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera

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Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera was a 4,219-acre (17.07 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Los Angeles County, California given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Vicente Sánchez.[1] "La Cienega" is derived from the Spanish word cienaga, which means swamp or marshland and refers to the natural springs and wetlands in the area between Beverly Hills and Park La Brea and the Baldwin Hills range.

"Paso de la Tijera" appears in c1860 maps where a path crosses a stream, at today's intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.[2] Some sources say the term means "Pass of the Scissors" and was used by Spanish settlers to describe a pass through the Baldwin Hills which resembled an open pair of scissors, though another (Marinacci) says that "tijera" almost always means "drainage ditch" in old land descriptions.[3]

The Los Angeles River historically changed course occasionally, and flowed to join Ballona Creek in the rancho and into the Santa Monica Bay until 1825, when it returned to its course to San Pedro Bay through Rancho San Pedro. Rancho Las Cienegas was to the north, and Rancho Rincon de los Bueyes to the west also in the Baldwin Hills. The rancho was east of La Cienega Boulevard and south Exposition Boulevard and includes present day Baldwin Hills district, Leimert Park, Ladera Heights, and Windsor Hills.[4][5][6][7]


The one square league land grant was made in 1843 by Micheltorena to Vicente Sanchez. Vicente Sanchez (1785 - 1846), was Alcalde of Los Angeles in 1831-1832 and 1845.

After Vicente Sanchez's death in 1846, his widow Maria Victoria Higuera and grandson Tomás Sánchez inherited the rancho.[8][9]

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[10] and the grant was patented to Tomas Sanchez in 1873.[11]

Tomas Sanchez lived on the property belonging to his wife, Maria Sepulveda Sanchez, who owned part of Rancho San Rafael. In 1875, Tomas Sanchez sold Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera to Francis Pliney Fisk (F.P.F) Temple, Arthur J. Hutchinson, Henry Ledyard and Daniel Freeman. However, Temple experienced financial difficulties and in 1875 Elias J. (Lucky) Baldwin acquired the rancho, giving his name to the hills that dominated the western section of the rancho and thereafter known as the Baldwin Hills. Baldwin used the ranch primarily as a sheep pasture but it was not profitable. When Baldwin died 1909, his daughter Anita M. Baldwin realized that there was oil on the estate, and by 1916 drilling had begun.[12][13]

Historic sites of the Rancho[edit]

  • Sanchez Adobe de Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera. The adobes, with thick walls and high, redwood-beamed ceilings, were once the center of the rancho. In the 1920s, an addition was built linking the structures and the building was converted into a larger clubhouse by the Sunset Golf Course.[13] The oldest part of the structure may have been built in the 1790s, which would make it the oldest surviving structures in the city of Los Angeles.[14] It was declared a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument in 1990.[15]
  • Kenneth Hahn State Regional Park preserves the rancho's remaining open lands and native habitats in the Baldwin Hills.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  2. ^ Ciénega ó Paso de la Tijera One of several related maps at Huntington Digital Library.
  3. ^ Marinacci, Barbara and Rudy Marinacci, California's Spanish Place Names: What They Mean and the History They Reveal. Angel City Press, 2005 ISBN 1883318696
  4. ^ Diseño del Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera
  5. ^ 1900 USGS topographic map[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Map of old Spanish and Mexican ranchos in Los Angeles County
  7. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera
  8. ^ Sanchez Family of Los Angeles Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9.
  10. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 376 SD
  11. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886 Archived 2013-03-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ French, Virginia Fonseca, 1970, Rancho La Cienega O Paso De La Tijera, J. D. Roche, Los Angeles.
  13. ^ a b http://www.laokay.com/halac/RanchoLaCienega.htm laokay: Rancho La Cienega O'Paso de La Tijera . accessed 8/22/2010
  14. ^ "On Los Angeles' 231st birthday, a search for its oldest building". Los Angeles Times. September 4, 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  15. ^ Mitchell, John L. (May 10, 1990). "150-Year-Old Adobes Given Protected Status : Preservation: The two structures have been declared historic monuments". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  16. ^ http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=612 parks.ca: Kenneth Hahn State Park . accessed 8/22/2010

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°01′12″N 118°21′00″W / 34.020°N 118.350°W / 34.020; -118.350