Who took control of the Rancho?
Luis Gonzaga Policarpo Manuel Antonio y Fernando Dominguez was born at the San Diego Presidio on January 26, 1803. He was known as Manuel, he was Cristobals second oldest son. He was educated and was able to read and write in Spanish and English.
Shortly after his fathers death, Manuel drove a small herd of cattle north from San Diego, with his mother and siblings. Manuel was now head of the family, his older brother Josef died in 1819 of a fever. The herd they brought with them was so small that Manuel and his brother could handle them without hiring any vaqueros. The family had only $100 when they arrived at the rancho.
The old abandoned adobe of Juan Joses was too small. So they had to build a new house, this took about one year. During that time Manuels mother and two sisters lived in the pueblo of Los Angeles. Manuels brothers Pedro and Nasario built the family home. They selected a site on the northeast slope of Dominguez Hill about a half-mile south of Juan Joses adobe.
The house had a view of the river and several underground fresh springs just north and south of the house. The brothers camped at the site while Manuel supervised the construction. The original structure was an L-shaped single-story adobe with five large rooms, with covered porches on three sides. The clay for the adobe bricks came from open pits in the Gardena area. The roof was flat and mad of sturdy hewn timbers. Tules covered the wood beams of the roof, which were covered with sand and tar from the La Brea Pits. The heavier timbers were cut in the mountain north of Mission San Gabriel and hauled by carreta. The house was completed in 1826. Pedro and Nasario later built their own adobe homes to the north and west of Manuels adobe.
The adobe was furnished simply with beds made of rough frames with strands of rawhide to support the straw mattress and other roughly made furniture. As the familys wealth grew, they acquired better furniture. Manuels bedroom set is still at the rancho today.
The adobe has gone through many changes over time. The adobe is now located at 18127 S. Alameda Street, between the 91 Freeway and E. Del Amo Boulevard. Its a museum containing historical artifacts and period furnishings.