By Melina Cervantes and Jim Forbes for The Compton Bulletin
In the dense urban landscape of todays Compton and South Los Angeles County, it’s hard to visualize and imagine the days when vaqueros and their cattle roamed this area in what was then a vast and sparsely populated countryside.
What was first under the domain of Spain and later Mexico following the Mexican War of Independence against Spain, The Rancho San Pedro was the first Spanish land grant in California, stretching from the Los Angles River to the Pacific Ocean. The sycamore tree that still stands at the corner of Poppy and Short Streets in Compton marked the northern boundary of this massive grant.
Just three-and-a-half miles south of that tree, is the historic Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, a vestige of the past.
And this Saturday the museum grounds will be open free to the public, celebrating its history while taking visitors back to the ways of life in the 1800’s in Mexican California.
Museum director Luis F. Fernandez wants this “family event” to serve as a fun hands-on learning experience of the history of the Dominguez Family, the Adobe Museum and its connection to surrounding areas. The Dominguez family name has been predominant in the region since the retired Spanish soldier, Juan Jose Dominguez was granted the land by King Carlos III in 1784.
Dressed in Rancho-time attire exhibitors from Soldados y Californios de Southern California, will demonstrate historic skills including blacksmithing and cattle roping.
Visitors can participate in activities such as making cornhusk dolls, adobe bricks and butter, while learning to pan for gold. Children are encouraged to participate in the scavenger hunt, competing for prizes.
Rancho Days is this Saturday, March 10th from Noon to 4pm. The museum is located at 18127 South Alameda Street, Rancho Dominguez and is free to the public. Food for purchase is available from Long Beach’s Tacqueria El Pacifico. Light rain will not cancel the event, but heavy rains will.