You might know Calabasas as the small affluent San Fernando Valley city that many young celebrities call home, but the area also has a rich history. Nowhere is that more apparent than the Leonis Adobe Museum.
The adobe was originally built in 1844 and then remodeled by the “King of Calabasas” Miguel Leonis and turned into a Monterey-style brick mansion sometime around 1880. It is one of the oldest homes still standing in Los Angeles County.
The museum is located on Calabasas Road less than a quarter of a mile southeast of the Valley Circle Boulevard exit off of US-101. The 101 is actually just feet from the edge of the ranch.
When you enter the museum, you first walk into the Plummer House – a typical 19th Century ranch house with its own strange history. Once known as the oldest house in Hollywood, the Plummer House was built in what is now West Hollywood in approximately 1874.
In the early 1980s, the house was abandoned and partly destroyed by vandals. The Leonis Adobe Association agreed to move the front section of the home to their property. It now serves as the gift shop and information center for the adobe.
After you exit the back side of the house, you are greeted with a sign that you are now entering a California ranch as it existed in the 1880s.
The ranch still has vineyards and grows blue corn and pumpkins. You can see the Percheron horses, cattle, sheep, goats and a variety of birds. On the day I was there, staff members were helping young children freed the animals.
The adobe has been restored to how researchers believed it looked in the 1880s. While there are other homes from this era in the Los Angeles area, the attention to detail and volume of artifacts at Leonis Adobe is impressive. It’s the perfect place to teach children about the city’s history.
And for those interested in the paranormal, some people believe Leonis still haunts the adobe. It was featured in a British television series called “Most Haunted.”
Parking at the adobe is usually $3.50 but free for museum guests. The museum is also free, but a donation of $4 per adult is suggested.
You can visit from 1 until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. On Saturday, it opens early at 10 a.m. because of the farmer’s market across the street. The market is also worth checking out and you might even see a celebrity or two, but be prepared because the area becomes very congested.
Once you’re finished at the museum, walk to Calabasas Creek Park which is also owned by the Leonis Adobe Association. It has some architectural features from the late 19th Century and Chumash Native American huts. I’ll have a separate post about the park, but it’s working checking out.