Leonis Adobe Museum
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The Leonis Adobe is a living history museum dedicated to preserving 1880s ranch life complete with animals authentic to the period, including Percheron horses, Texas Longhorn cattle, Merino sheep, and Angora and Nubian goats. The museum also maintains an archive with unique documents and photographs, and special collections that include Leonis family items. The fully restored adobe home remains one of the oldest private residences in Los Angeles County. Through a grassroots campaign, the house was saved from demolition in 1962 and played a pioneering role in Los Angeles’ historic preservation movement.
Originally an abandoned adobe structure dating back to ca. 1844, the house was refashioned by Miguel Leonis in the early 1870s into the two-story dwelling with wraparound exterior balcony you see today. He shared the home with his Chumash/Tongva Native American wife, Espiritu, and their daughter, Marcelina.
After Leonis’ death in 1889, it was revealed in his will that he left the majority of his assets to relatives in France. Espiritu challenged the estate for a wife’s share and after a 16-year legal battle, she won her case. As a Spanish-speaking Native American woman, her court victory was an extraordinary achievement for the time.