Leonis Adobe

Leonis Adobe Leonis Old

I visited the Leonis Adobe Musuem on February 27th at 10 am.

It was originally a four room adobe brick house built in 1884. When Miguel Leonis married the daughter of the chief of the Malibu Indians, he took control over the adobe house along with 11,000 acres of Native American land. He remodeled the home and upgraded it to more of a Monterrey style. Today, it is a museum where elementary children can come visit and experience what it was like to live on a rancho in the older days. There is a station where they can turn masa or ground up corn and make historic tortillas. At another, they can churn cream into butter. And at another, girls can make dolls and boys can learn about types of barbed wire that would have been used around the ranch. And at yet another, the children can learn about the Spanish brands that were used on the longhorn cattle. Today, this ranch is one of the oldest surviving residents in the Los Angeles area.

This museum incorporates the Spanish Fantasy Past theme. It is the beautiful exotic and romantic rancho with the adobe white walls, the longhorn cattle, the green landscape, and the sunny skies. It becomes an space where children and visitors alike can become apart of the imagined past. It is a past that is brought to life for the tourists in a similar way that Christine Sterling’s Olvera Street brought the Spanish past to the Anglo Americans in the 1930’s. It is essentially a “trip abroad in your own America.”


One Comment

  1. Nissa Araque

    I agree, but I think you should clarify that it’s not the past itself that’s imagined (I’m pretty sure they churned milk and ground up corn and the likes), but the image of this past. The children and visitors who come learn a lot of interesting facts about how things used to be made or how things used to work, but I’m doubtful that they mention the slave-like contract the workers (I’m assuming they were Native Americans and/or Mexicans) were in. The children experiencing “what it was like to live in the rancho in the older days” probably experienced a very watered-down version, where they still worked enough to know that those times were difficult, but not exactly just how difficult it was. I guess that’s okay for children, but they must think that everyone had their fair share of work on the ranch. I know I did when I visited these kinds of things as a kid.

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