Civility Rubbottom & The Centinela Adobe

ca1.jpgThe things you discover when you get outcha car, let me tell you! Case in point: the Centinela Adobe. Heard of this unsung landmark? A lifetime in L.A. and not me, or at least not until this Monday when I looked up while biking across Hindry at Florence on the way to work and saw this nothing of a sign (pictured at right) indicating the place was somewhere nearby. And even if you did know about the historic ranch house — at 173 years of age it’s considered the oldest building in the area — I’d bet you never heard of one of its owners who had what I now consider the absolute greatest name evar: Civility Rubbottom — and no I’m not making that up. I’m not clever enough to come up with something like Civility Rubbottom, which is just so hawesome[tm] it makes me wonder if that domain’s available? Why? For no reason other than, would be a hoot, that’s why!

Focus people! In the history of the Centinela Adobe, Civility is but a minor player, having assumed ownership of the place and its 2,200 acre ranch in 1858 after her hot-tempered gunslinger husband Hillard Dorsey was killed by her father, William Rubbottom, who bang! shot Hillard dead in El Monte following a verbal dispute in which Hillard allegedly came after her daddy with a knife. Civility sold the entire property almost immediately thereafter for something like $630 to a man named Francis Carpenter who was L.A. City Jailer at the time and locked himself up quite the bargain, to be sure.

The three-room house, considered one of the finest preserved smaller adobes in Los Angeles County, was built in 1834 by Ignacio Machado who was one of the Spanish soldiers accompanying the original settlers, known as Los Pobladores, that founded El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula in 1781. Owners after Don Machado reportedly include a Scottish baron, a general in the Confederate Army during the War Between The States, and later Daniel Freeman, the father of Inglewood. In fact the Centinela Adobe is known as the birthplace of Inglewood, even though it’s not situated in that municipality. Inglewood will be celebrating its centennial in 2008 — in Inglewood I believe… or at least one would hope so.

The Centinela Adobe is all that’s left of the rancho that grew to be 25,000 acres in size and it’s located at 7634 Midfield Avenue. Tours are offered but oddly only between 2 – 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays (or by appointment). An excellent account of the area and adobe’s history as well as its many owners along with a passel of pix of the place can be found here. A couple of my snaps taken on my way home today are after the jump.

More photos are here on Flickr.

4 thoughts on “Civility Rubbottom & The Centinela Adobe”

  1. The biography here tells the story of Civility’s father a bit differently (and with slightly different spelling). Then again, maybe the old man just like guns and knives, which isn’t entirely out of the question from what I’ve read.

  2. Will, that’s a very nice tour-and-history of that adobe.

    DB, that’s a great find. I’ve read of William Rubottom before, in connection with pecans, but hadn’t heard of his colorful history in Arkansas.

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