Leonis Adobe Museum - Calabasas
Way back in 1844, six years before Los Angeles was incorporated and California was given statehood, this modest little adobe structure was built as... well, nobody knows for sure. One theory is that it served as a stagecoach stop on the El Camino Real, the King's Highway connecting California's missions. Around 1880, Miguel Leonis and his wife, Espiritu Chijulla, the daughter of a Chumash chief, moved into their adobe brick house, enlarging and extensively remodeling the building into the gracious Monterey-Style mansion you see today. Leonis was Basque, born in the French Pyrenees. Once in the U.S., amassing huge wealth from real estate, litigation, and dowry, he came to be known as "El Basquo Grande" and "King of Calabasas" and pretty much ruled a huge chunk of the San Fernando Valley. He died in 1889 from injuries suffered in a wagon accident. In order to inherit the estate, Espiritu had to go to court to prove she was Leonis's legal wife. She ultimately did, but only a year before her death in 1906.