Historic Rancho San Pedro Dr. Olga M. Lazin,History Paper Assignment
Early European Explorers
In the 1760's the first European explorers set foot on Southern California soil with a Spanish soldier named Juan Jose Dominguez who was part of the Portola expedition. Later, when Franciscan missionaries began their journey to establish the chain of California Missions, Juan Dominguez accompanied Father Junipero Serra as part of the small band of military men who helped to protect the padres.
Establishment of Rancho San Pedro
When Senor Juan Jose Dominguez retired in 1782, after thirty years of service, he was rewarded by a gift from the Spanish governor of California: the very first land grant in the history of California - a vast expanse of 75,000 acres of land, which he named Rancho San Pedro.
Historic Rancho San Pedro
The vast Rancho spread out across most of what is now the South Bay region, from the Los Angeles River on the east, to the Pacific Ocean on the west. It encompassed what is now Compton, Gardena, Carson, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, Lomita, Rolling Hills Estate, Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, and a part of Long Beach.
The center of this vast land was the Dominguez Rancho homestead, located in what today is the eastern portion of Carson, known as Dominguez Hills. It is here that his nephew built the historic Dominguez Rancho Adobe in 1826, which still stands today as a historic monument.
Railroad and San Pedro Port
When the railroad was built between Los Angeles and the harbor in 1869, Manuel Dominguez donated land from the rancho. The Dominguez home was central in route from the Pueblo to the San Pedro port. Today, the L.A. Harbor is one of the largest and busiest ports in the world.
Manuel Dominguez and his wife, Maria Engracia Cota, had ten children. Six daughters survived and were raised at the adobe home. They are remembered today by the many streets and businesses named after their families. One of the Dominguez daughters, Susana, married a man named Del Amo. This is a name familiar to anyone in the South Bay because of the giant Del Amo Fashion Center mall in Torrance.
Watson Land Company
Another Dominguez daughter, Dolores, took a husband named Watson who is known today for the Watson Land Company and Industrial Centers .
Dominguez Water Corporation
A third daughter, Maria Victoria, married a successful businessman named George Henry Carson. The city of Carson is named after their son, John Manuel Carson, a key figure in the development of the South Bay in the 20th Century, and the head of the Dominguez Water Corporation.
Step towards independence
Almost 200 years after the founding of Rancho San Pedro, the citizens of the land "to the west of the Los Angeles River" finally took a long overdue step toward independence. The citizens went to the polls on Tuesday, February 6, 1968 to vote on whether to officially incorporate their community as an independent city.
Establishment of the City
Almost 10,000 of the 17,351 registered voters in Carson cast a vote on that February morning. When the ballots were counted, the vote was 6,301 to 3,834 in favor of incorporation. The City of Carson was established. It would be the 8th largest city in the County of Los Angeles.
The new City of Carson
Voters were offered two choices to name their new city: Carson and Dominguez, the two leading family names in the history of Rancho San Pedro. By a narrow vote of just 318 votes, the citizens chose the name Carson.
Present Day Carson
Located in the South Bay section of Los Angeles County, Carson has grown from a population of 61,000 in 1968 to 94,826 in 2003. Over the years, three annexations have increased the city's size to 19.2 square miles. Steady and continued growth has enabled Carson to become a city of regional significance. In fiscal year 1997/1998, Carson's assessed value grew by the greatest percentage of any city in the county with an assessed value of $7.3 billion. By 2002/2003, the assessed value on secured and unsecured properties has grown to $9.6 billion.
Carson - A great place to live and work
While Carson is well known as an industrial center with access to transportation and the Pacific Rim, it is also a culturally diverse community that is attractive place to live and work. The city has more than 120 acres of park land divided into 12 parks, 2 mini-parks and sports/recreational facilities that include 3 swimming pools, a boxing center, a state-of-the art sports complex and the Carson Community Center.
City of Carson-Department of Sports and Recreation
Recreational facilities allow the residents of Carson to enjoy a variety of sports and cultural programs.
Carson- Part of the LAUSD
The city's educational needs are served by Los Angeles Unified School District.
California State University Dominguez Hills
April 29, 1960: Governor Pat Brown signs bill for state college to be known as South Bay State College.
July 12, 1962: Trustees rename South Bay State as California State College at Palos Verdes (CSCPV).
May 1965: Campus slated to move from Palos Verdes to one of four proposed sites: Friendship Park, Fort MacArthur, Torrance and Dominguez Hills.
March 3, 1966: Trustees change name of institution to California State College, Dominguez Hills (CSCDH).
February 6, 1968: Voters incorporate City of Carson.
December 28, 1976: President Gerth announces administration reorganization, birth of University College.
January 1, 1981: CSUC celebrates 20th anniversary; becomes The California State University
Jerrils, Jack E. The History of a City...Carson, California . Carson, CA, 1972.
Gillingham, Robert Cameron. The Rancho San Pedro: The Story of a Famous Rancho in Los Angeles County and of Its Owners, the Dominguez Family. 1961; Museum Reproductions, 1983.
Trejos, Charlotte M. My Carson, Your Carson: A Picture Book of the Past and the Present . Carson, CA: Trejos Literary Agency, 1987.