Rancho San Pedro

 Life on a Rancho
Post Gold Rush, Early 20th Century


Spanish Period I

Spanish Period II

Mexican Period

Gold Rush

Post Gold Rush
Photo credit: Dominguez Adobe
The adobe of Rancho San Pedro as can be seen today.

What happened to the Rancho after Manuel Dominguez died?

Photo credit: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gillingham Collection
A photograph of the six daughters of Manuel Dominguez.

Ana Josefa Dominguez married William G. Dryden in 1868. Less than a year later Dryden died of a heart attack. Ana married Charles Guyer in 1884. He had interests in banking and real estate. As per a marriage agreement, upon her death in 1907, he received a bequest of twenty-five thousand dollars and she retained all of her Rancho land intact as well as other real estate in Los Angeles which she left to her five sisters to be divided equally.

Maria Guadalupe Marcelina Dominguez never married, took care of the family home and cared for her parents in their later years. Upon the death of her parents she left the homesite to live with her sister Maria de Los Reyes. In 1907, she returned to the homesite, until her death in 1913. Guadalupe retained all of her Rancho holdings except for a few acres sold for railroad right-of-ways, she left the bulk of her estate to her surviving sisters.

Maria Dolores Simona Dominguez married James A. Watson in 1855. For five years, he was Collector of Customs in Monterey. When they returned to Los Angeles, he resumed his law practice and became involved in politics. He purchased twenty-four acres at Alameda and Sixteenth Streets and built the family home. He died suddenly in 1869, leaving Dolores with four children under 10 years old to raise alone. His estate was less than twenty-five thousand dollars. Dolores survived her husband by more than fifty years. She returned to the homesite in in 1913, she died there in 1924. Dolores' eldest son died in 1894 from an accident on the ranch, he was survived by his wife and five children all under the age of ten. The Watson brothers were prominent in business and civic life in Los Angeles. The Rancho lands were consolidated into the Watson Estate Company 1912

Maria Susana Delfina Dominguez married Dr. Gregorio De Amo. He no longer practiced medicine, spent his time managing his properties in Spain and his wife's interest in the Rancho. His interest in horticulture lead to the establishment of San Pedro Ranch Nursery, later called Del Amo Nurseries, which was intended for his adopted son Carlos who died. Their other adopted son, Jaime, later looked after the families interests. When Susana died in 1931, she left the bulk of her estate to her husband, who survived her by 10 years. The Del Amo Estate Company maintained the traditional Dominguez policy, by retaining portions of Rancho lands that provide a steady income, some fifteen hundred acres.

Photo credit: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gillingham Collection
An early photograph of Del Amo Nurseries.

Maria Victoria Dominguez married George Henry Carson in 1857. George was a businessman with a lot of energy. He became active in local politics. In 1862, he moved his family to the Rancho permanently. He became chief assistant to his father -in-law. He too believed in Manual's policy of staying out of debt and holding on the land. After the partition, it was he who guided and protected the Dominguez daughters' interests. In 1885, George and Victoria built a large two-story home just north of the original homesite. They had 10 children. George died in 1901. The Carson Estate Company was formed in 1914. Victoria died in 1916 leaving her estate to her children with undivided interest. The city of Carson is named for John Manuel Carson, son of Victoria and George Carson.

Photo credit: Dominguez Adobe
The two-story home of George and Victoria Carson built very close to the homesite.
It was demolished in 1969 due to extensive termite damage.

Maria Jesus de los Reyes Dominguez married John Fillmore Francis in 1892. He was the director of Farmers and Merchants Bank for almost fifteen years, he had interests in banking and real estate. He managed his wife's estate. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1902. She survived her husband by almost thirty years, she died quietly in 1933. With the discovery of oil her estate was worth more than fifteen million dollars. She had no children. The bulk of her estate was left to the Dominguez heirs.

Photo credit: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gillingham Collection
Photographs taken during the 1910 Air Show held at Rancho San Pedro.

From January 10th through the 20th in 1910, there was an air show held on the Rancho. It was the 1st United States Aviation Meet and the 2nd International Meet. It featured all kinds of crafts and aviators.

Photo credit: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gillingham Collection
An early photograph of threshing grain on Rancho San Pedro in 1904.

After 1921, when water became available, the land was first used for grain farming. Also, over two hundred acres were devoted to lemon and orange trees. The groves were maintained by the Del Amo family. But by 1931, they were removed because they were no longer profitable.

Photo credit: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gillingham Collection
The first producing oil well on Del Amo lands, northwest of the City of Torrance in 1922.

 1921 was also important because it marked the first drilling for oil. It was on the northwest side of the Rancho. This was owned by Carson Estate Company, the Hellman Family and the Dominguez Estate Company. The principal leases were with Shell Oil Company and Union Oil of California. The first two wells were located west of Central Avenue and north of Victoria Street, they produced an average of 300 barrels a day through 1960. These were the first of over three hundred fifty wells drilled on Dominguez Hill.


Teacher Notes