Rancho Las Cienegas

Rancho Las Cienegas was a 4,439-acre (17.96 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Los Angeles County, California given in 1823 to Francisco Avila by Governor Luis Antonio Argüello.[1] "La Cienega" is derived from the Spanish word cienaga, which means swamp or marshland and refers to the natural springs and wetlands in the area between the Baldwin Hills range and Baldwin Hills district, and Beverly Hills. The rancho was north of Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera and east of present-day La Cienega Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard.[2][dead link][3] The Los Angeles River would periodically change course historically, and flowed through the rancho's lowlands to Ballona Creek and the Santa Monica Bay until 1825, when it returned to the flowing through Rancho San Pedro to San Pedro Bay.


Francisco Avila (1772–1832), one of several sons of Cornelio Avila, was a native of Sonora y Sinaloa, New Spain-Mexico. Francisco Avila came to the Pueblo de Los Angeles in Las Californias sometime after 1794. In 1810, Francisco Avila became alcalde of Los Angeles. In 1823, the new Mexican government granted him Rancho Las Cienegas in Alta California, approximately seven miles west of the pueblo. Avila grazed cattle here and turned it into a profitable venture. Francisco Avila died in 1832.[4]

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho Las Cienegas was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1853,[5] and the grant was patented to his four children (Januario Avila, Pedra Avila de Ramirez, Francisca Avila de Rimpau, and Louisa Avila de Garfias) in 1871.[6]

A partition suit in 1866 resulted in Januario Avila, 1/5 share, Francisca Avila de Rimpau 1/5 share, Henry H Gird 1/5 share, and the remaining 2/5 share between 10 people.[7]

Januario Avila, owned the north east section of the rancho, including the land that was to become Victoria Park. Francisca Avila married Theodore Rimpau, a native of Germany. In the 1920s, Theodore's sons Adolf, Benjamin and Fred formed Rimpau Brothers Realty on Pico Boulevard and subdivided their part of Rancho Las Cienegas. Henry H Gird purchased nearly 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) of Rancho Las Cienegas in 1862, and lived there until 1880, when Gird sold and moved his family to Rancho Monserate in San Diego County. Luisa Avila, the daughter of Francisco and María Encarnación Sepúlveda Avila married Manuel Garfias owner of Rancho San Pascual.


  1. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  2. ^ 1900 USGS topographic map
  3. ^ Map of old Spanish and Mexican ranchos in Los Angeles County
  4. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9.
  5. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 353 SD
  6. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886 Archived 2013-03-20 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ranchos and the Politics of Land Claims Archived 2016-01-29 at the Wayback Machine by Karen Clay and Werner Troesken

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Coordinates: 34°03′00″N 118°21′00″W / 34.050°N 118.350°W / 34.050; -118.350