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Originally inhabited by Native Americans who would come to be called Gabrieleños, the land that now includes all or part of Pomona, Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Diamond Bar, Azusa, Walnut, and Covina was the site of a Mexican land grant called Rancho San José. Formerly part of the San Gabriel Mission, this land was granted during a period of Mexican history called “Secularization.” 

In 1837, Ricardo Vejar and Ygnacio Palomares were granted approximately 15,000 acres by Mexican governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. Ricardo Vejar, who later became the fourth richest man in Los Angeles county, settled in the southern section (Rancho San José de Abajo) and Ygnacio Palomares settled in the northern section (Rancho San José de Arriba). They were soon joined by Ygnacio’s brother-in-law, Luis Arenas, and granted another 5,000 aces.

Rancho San Jose was a busy place where workers, many of whom were Native Americans, raised cattle, herded sheep, and grew crops. After the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, the cattle business boomed as migrants seeking gold up north increasingly purchased meat, hides, and tallow. After Ygnacio passed away, his ranch land was subdivided and sold by the family.




The Adobe was the center of a large ranch. Cattle and sheep grazed throughout the valley where buildings, schools, and businesses stand today. The spacious gardens and courtyard have been lovingly restored, using many of the plants that would have been present when the Palomares family lived there.


The grounds also feature a blacksmith shop. The blacksmith shop would have been used for shoeing horses, storing tools, and maintaining ranch equipment. Stop by the shop to see an authentic 19th century buggy!

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