One of Los Angeles' more charming secrets is that there are still families here whose ancestors were original settlers of the pueblo and surrounding Spanish and Mexican ranchos. Bob Pool has a piece in today's Times about one of those families, the Marquezes who once owned Santa Monica Canyon and about 6,000 acres of coastal land. The immediate peg is the fate of the 1920s-era Canyon Gas filling station, a landmark on Entrada Drive that was popular with celebs and car buffs until it recently closed. Survivors of longtime owner Angelina Marquez Olivera want to give the station to the Petersen Automotive Museum and sell the land for $2.1 million, but others in the canyon object.
The sale would end the family's canyon presence that began in 1831 when Francisco Marquez received a grant of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica. At least, their live presence. Several early Marquezes are buried in a small cemetery tucked behind million dollar homes on San Lorenzo Drive. The Marquez family cemetery is already a city of Los Angeles historic cultural monument; the gas station will go before the Cultural Heritage Commission on Wednesday. The latest Santa Monica Mirror also covers the story.
Another member of the family is Ernest Marquez, who grew up in the canyon and wrote the book on the history of Santa Monica Beach that was published a few months ago by Angel City Press. The photo is from Inthecanyon.com.