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Avila Adobe courtyard
Alternative Title
Works Progress Administration Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
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Title supplied by cataloger.
Don Francisco Avila, a wealthy cattle rancher and one-time Mayor of the pueblo of Los Angeles, built the Avila Adobe in 1818. The Avila Adobe, presently the oldest existing residence within the city limits, was one of the first town houses to share street frontage in the new Pueblo de Los Angeles. The original structure was nearly twice as long as it is now, and was L-shaped with a wing that extended nearly to the center of Olvera Street, which was the town's plaza. The walls of the adobe are 1 1/2 to 3 feet thick and are built from sun-baked adobe bricks. The original ceilings were fifteen-feet high and supported by beams of cottonwood. The largest room was the family room, which served as the general area for dining, entertaining and social gatherings. The living room was reserved for special occasions such as weddings, baptisms, or entertaining special guests. Floors were hard-compacted earth and swept several times a day to keep the surface smooth and free from loose soil. Eventually, varnished wooden planks would cover these floors. There was an office room that Don Francisco used to conduct business. Sleeping quarters for he and his wife, and another for his three children. In addition, a kitchen was used as a food preparation area and doubled as a bathing room. Another room served as a chapel, which contained a small altar. In the rear courtyard, a long porch faced the patio, where Don Francisco kept a garden as well as a vineyard that he tended to on a regular basis. In later years, a wooden veranda and steps were added to the front of the adobe. In 1953, the State of California acquired the Avila Adobe as part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, and has been opened to tours since 1976. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is California State Landmark No. 145. The Avila Adobe is located at East 10 Olvera Street.
View of the Avila Adobe house on Olvera Street, showing the rear of the home, which consisted of a generous courtyard with covered porches for each of the garaging areas, stables, workshops, etc., as well as a garden and vineyard, which Don Francisco tended to regularly. In this photograph, an older gentleman sits in a chair toward the back, and a large fountain is prominent in the foreground. May 5, 1937.
1 photographic print :b&w ;21 x 26 cm. on board 21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Works Progress Administration Collection
WPA 2 8x10
Avila Adobe (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Adobe houses--California--Los Angeles
Courtyards--California--Los Angeles
Fountains--California--Los Angeles
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles
Works Progress Administration Collection photographs
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Olvera Street (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Avila, Francisco

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