Calabasas is home to the Leonis Adobe Museum, a historic monument and living history museum dedicated to restoring and preserving California ranch life in the 1880s. Visitors to this historical site will learn about the history of the Leonis family and enjoy a day exploring a quaint California town where cowboys and Indians lived in harmony and the only way to get around was by horse or wagon.
The Leonis Adobe was built in 1844 by Miguel Leonis, who was known as the “King of Calabasas.” This two-story Monterey Style adobe house is the largest intact home of its kind in California. It was once occupied by the wealthy French-Basque rancher who owned almost 11,000 acres across the San Fernando Valley and property in Santa Barbara, Elizabeth Lake, and downtown Los Angeles.
In addition to the restored adobe house, the Leonis Adobe Museum has period livestock and outbuildings that recreate the daily life of California’s ranchers in the 1880s. Animals, including Percheron horses, Texas Longhorn cattle, merino sheep and goats, are available for visitors to feed.
It’s a great place for kids to explore. They can ride the historic horses, feed the animals and take part in a number of educational activities. The museum also has a gift shop with souvenirs, clothing and other items.
The museum is open year-round. It is also a popular tourist destination.
This museum is one of the best preserved Monterey-style adobes in Southern California. It is a great place for families and anyone interested in learning more about early California ranch life.
A visit to this adobe is a must for anyone visiting Calabasas and the Malibu area. It is one of the oldest private homes in the county and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is a pioneering piece of early preservation and played a key role in Los Angeles’ historic preservation movement. The adobe was saved from demolition by a group of conservationists in the early 1960s.
As a result of the efforts of this early preservationist, the Leonis Adobe Museum is now an important historical landmark and living history museum. The museum’s mission is to preserve, restore, and share California ranch life in the 1880s.
The museum is located at 23537 Calabasas Road in Calabasas. The museum is easily accessible and is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Originally an abandoned adobe brick structure, the Leonis Adobe was refashioned by Miguel Leonis into the two-story dwelling with wraparound veranda you see today. He shared the home with his Chumash-Tongva Native American wife, Espiritu.
After her husband’s death, Espiritu contested his will, an unusual step for a Chumash Indian woman in the 19th century. She fought the case for over a decade before winning an unprecedented victory just prior to her own death in 1906.
The adobe was later occupied by the family of Juan Menendez, who inherited the estate from his mother. The Menendez family continued to live in the adobe until the 1920s. In the 1960s, conservationist Kay Beachy bought the property with the express purpose of creating a museum. This led to a successful campaign to save the adobe from demolition and it was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #1.