Agoura Hills History
History of Agoura Hills
Perched on the western edge of Los Angeles County in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, Agoura Hills is located just 45 minutes from busy downtown Los Angeles, but is nevertheless rich with undulating hills and inspiring canyons. For many centuries the area that would become Agoura Hills was familiar territory for Native Americans who wandered inland from their hunts along the sea in search of game and other food. The permanent arrival of the Spanish in the late 1700s banished the Indians from their homes and introduced a ranching culture that would linger into the early twentieth century.
In the 1900s, vast cattle and sheep ranches conceded ground to rows of lettuce and celery, orchards and wheatfields. Ranching and agriculture eventually diminished in importance. Ranchers began dividing up their property and selling individual tracts for housing. From the outset, ranchers and farmers had worried about water supplies and these concerns were shared by the citizens of Agoura Hills into the mid 1950s. Then provision of outside sources of water helped ensure the growth of the community, aided by the new highways which acted as a conduit for fresh faces and commercial development and contributed to the maturation of Agoura Hills.
Built in approximately 1850, Agoura Hills’ first home represents 150 years of exciting California history. This history includes the acquisition of the documented stories and artifacts from the families that have called the Reyes Adobe home over the years. The Reyes Adobe Historical Site has preserved their unique legacies to help visitors understand the political, social and economic changes that have shaped present-day culture.
The story begins in 1845 when a widow with 14 children, Maria Antonia Machado, purchased the original Reyes rancho, known as Rancho Las Virgenes, from her uncle Jose Maria Dominguez. Maria Machado’s husband, Jose Jacinto Reyes, was the son of Juan Francisco Reyes who served on the famous Portola expedition. Maria and Jose Reyes’ son Jose Paulino built the adobe home in approximately 1850 during the state’s rancho period. Reyes’ ownership lasted into the next century. From 1916 to 1983 the property transferred to owners who shared a common interest in preserving the landmark adobe home located in the beautiful foothills beneath Ladyface Mountain.
The area is a cultural landmark significant to many areas of interest: California history highlighting the rancho period, oral history, and Spanish Rancho architecture. The Reyes Adobe’s hearth has drawn people from different cultures that have influenced the scenic and strategically located property along the state’s famous El Camino Real. Through restoration and research efforts, the City of Agoura Hills has created an interpretive center and museum for visitors to hear their stories for years to come.
Information courtesy of city of Agoura Hills website.
Including sources from:
Miller, Patricia Russell. Tales of Triunfo. P.R. Miller, 1985.
Gaye, Laura B. Last of the Old West: A Book of Sketches about the Calabasas Area. Illustrated by L. Liska. Bar-Kay Enterprises, 1965.