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Avila Adobe living room in disarray
Alternative Title
Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
Circa 1971
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.; Image #00078901 through #00078905 were taken from contact sheet.
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. Don Francisco died on April 5, 1832 and his widow Don~a Encarnacio´n remained at the adobe until her death in 1855. After that, various family members rented the house over the next few years, but the house was not maintained and eventually began to rapidly deteriorate. An 1870 earthquake damaged the structure even more, causing it to fall into ruin, and in 1928, the City of Los Angeles condemned it. It was around this time that Mrs. Christine Sterling, and English socialite from San Francisco, immediately took an interest in the Avila Adobe. She acted quickly to get a stay on the condemnation of the adobe, and tracking down the owner of the building (who happened to be a member of one of the original families) agreed to rent the adobe for a nominal amount. The adobe underwent the necessary renovations to keep it from being demolished, and eventually, it was completely restored to its former glory representative of the days of the Dons. In 1953, the State of California acquired the Avila Adobe as part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, and Mrs. Sterling remained in the house until her death in 1963. In 1971 the Sylmar Earthquake cause major damage to the adobe, and the house was closed to tours until a $120,000 and five-year restoration could be completed. A new structure added to the rear of the building was set up as a memorial to Mrs. Sterling. The Avila Adobe, located at East 10 Olvera Street, has now been opened to tours since 1976. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is California State Landmark No. 145.
View of an Avila Adobe room - possibly a sitting room or living room. It shows a fancy sofa and chairs next to a wrought iron doorway and lots of debris all around. The walls appear to be crumbling and there are bricks on the floor - possibly from the adobe walls or roof. This photograph was possibly taken after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake, as the sequential photographs show similar debris, conducive to an earthquake.
1 photographic print :b&w ;6 x 7 cm. on sheet 21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Security Pacific National Bank Collection
Avila Adobe (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Living room furniture--California--Los Angeles
Earthquake damage--California--Los Angeles
Adobe houses--California--Los Angeles
Living rooms--California--Los Angeles
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles
Avila, Francisco
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Olvera Street (Los Angeles, Calif.)

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