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Avila Adobe, restored
Alternative Title
Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
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, possibly after some restoration in the mid- to late 1950s or 1960s. The porch was given a much-needed face-lift with the addition of a long veranda and steps and a short brick planter the length of the house; a Mexican flag can be seen hanging from the right of the adobe. Forty-three years earlier, this adobe became the temporary headquarters for Commodore Robert Field Stockton and General Stephen Watts Kearny during the American occupation of Los Angeles in 1847. At that time, it was the permanent home of Don~a Maria Encarnacio´n Avila - widow of Don Francisco Avila. When the townspeople got word that American troops were rapidly approaching the pueblo, many of them evacuated their homes to seek refuge at outlying ranchos. Don~a Encarnacio´n was among those that fled their adobes. At which point, Commodore Stockton's men seized the adobe for their commanding officer. When the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed a few days later, Stockton abandoned the adobe and Don~a Maria Encarnacio´n returned to her beloved home, where she remained until her death in 1855.; Photograph same as #00008389, upper photo.
1 photographic print :b&w ;19 x 23 cm.
Photographic prints
Security Pacific National Bank Collection
L.A.-Adobes-Avila.; C-13(6118) 4x5
Avila Adobe (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Adobe houses--California--Los Angeles
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles
Porches--California--Los Angeles
Avila, Francisco

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