San Fernando Valley Historical Society

Andres Pico Adobe Timeline

Andres Pico Adobe TimelineAdobe Historical Highlights

1834 -- The main part of the Adobe was built by ex-Mission Indians at the end of the Mission Period.

1845  -- Andres Pico leased the entire San Fernando Valley.

1846 -- The Americans invaded California. In order to raise funds in her defense, the Mexican government authorized Governor Pio Pico to sell the San Fernando Valley to Don Eulogio de Celis. The property conveyed was called "Rancho Ex-Mission of San Fernando" and in the transfer the Mission Church and its appurtances were reserved.

1853 -- General Andres Pico bought back from de Celis 2000 acres including the house (acquired from de Celis an undivided half-interest including the house) but made the Convento at the San Fernando Mission his rancho home for 20 years.

1873 -- Andres Pico sold to George E. Porter, but reserved 100 acres, including the Adobe, which became known as the "Pico Reserve." The Adobe was remodeled more in keeping with the American period and became the home of Romulo and Catarina Pico.  They occupied the Adobe as their home and evenutally moved to Los Angeles in the 1890s. After a series of owners, the Adobe eventually became vacant and in disrepair.

1930s --  Dr. Mark R. Harrington and his wife purchased the Adobe from the Lopez family estate, which at the time consisted of 20 acres. When the Harringtons found it, the Adobe walls were standing but the roof was gone. The Adobe was a victim of vandals who had removed the floor joists, windows, fireplace bricks and anything else of use; treasure hunters who had left huge holes from their search for buried treasure; and the elements. So neglected was it that the palms and blue grass were dying and only a few sickly cannas were growing. In the orchard was one withered lime tree and a few timid sprouts of vanished Mission Olive trees.

1930s-1957 -- The Adobe was sold by Harrington and it becane the property of a sucession of owners.  

1957-1968 -- The North Valley YMCA purchased five acres of the property, including the Adobe, which they used for offices until 1965 when they put it up for sale. Fearing this precious old landmark would be demolished, the San Fernando Valley Historical Society tried unsuccessfully to raise money to purchase it. At the last moment, the City of Los Angeles purchased the 2.5-acre property in 1968 and saved it from destruction.

1969 -- The Adobe was restored to its original splendor and opened as a museum (The San Fernando Valley Heritage Center) managed by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society. The property is now administered by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, which maintains the park grounds and exterior of the buildings.

1971 -- The 1971 Sylmar earthquake closed the Adobe until repairs could be done.

1994 Timeline1994 -- The 1994 Northridge quake caused extensive damage. Fortunately, all museum artifacts and a live-in curator had been moved out of the Adobe to prepare for needed seismic-structural reinforcements that were needed after the 1971 earthquake.

1997 -- After a major restoration was completed by the City in 1997, the Adobe again reopened and the Society returned to managing the Adobe and operating the SFVHS museum and Heritage Center.

2001 -- The Lankershim Reading Room was saved by a SFVHS member and moved to the Adobe grounds where major restoration began and was completed in 2010.

2010 --  The Society continues to present a multi-faceted historical program of tours and events that assures an active life for the enchanting Andres Pico Adobe.