Rustic Canyon

by Dave Moorman

Historic photos, with captions, covering the history of the Rustic Canyon region:

01 Mouth_of_Santa_Monica_1870s

1. Santa Monica Canyon – the mouth of Santa Monica & Rustic Creeks, circa 1870. This is what gave the Rancho Boca de Santa Monica its name. The angled path up the bluff at center right was Marquez Road, and later became Chautauqua Blvd.

02 Rancho plaque

2. This plaque marking the original Rancho Boca de Santa Monica grantees, Don Francisco Marquez and Don Ysidro Reyes, who were given the ranch in 1839 that covered Pacific Palisades, is reportedly located on the E. Channel Rd. side of La Señora Research Institute (565 Dryad Rd.). The Marquez and Reyes families lived here in the Canyon, under the flags of three countries: Spain, Mexico, and the United States, without ever leaving their Rancho homes.

03 Marquez Adobe late 1800s

3. This was the Marquez adobe (site just north of and behind 635 San Lorenzo St.) in the late 1800s, looking east toward San Lorenzo St. The adobe was still occupied at that time.

04 MarquezAdobe in ruins 1940s

4. The Marquez adobe in ruins in the 1940s. The family graveyard on the site was maintained, although it was landlocked behind private property on San Lorenzo Street. In 2011, descendants and friends of the Marquez family raised money through the La Señora Research Institute to purchase the lot in front of the cemetery for access, and called it “Santuario San Lorenzo.”

05 Marquez plaque

5. This historical plaque is located in front of the Santuarío San Lorenzo, the private Marquez Family Cemetery next to 635 San Lorenzo St.

06 Pascual Marquez grave

6. The Marquez family had been burying their dead near the adobe, with little records of who was where. Pascual was the youngest son of grantee Francisco, and his marker is the only one placed where the grave was. More information about the cemetery can be found at

07 LA Herald 5Jan1910

7. Francisco Marquez’ widow’s daughter held a 1910 New Year’s party, with many family members and friends. Things didn’t turn out well, as 11 people ended up dying from food poisoning, and a baby died from exposure during the tragedy.

08 LA Herald 5Jan1910p8

8. (Continuation of the newspaper story of the tragedy) The dead from the tragedy would be buried in a mass unmarked grave in the Marquez family cemetery.

09 Marquezlife_faith-family-crosses

9. A research project by UCLA using ground-penetrating radar confirmed the existence of the mass grave of the victims of the tragedy, and these markers were placed by descendants in honor of those who died. The graveyard is the oldest private graveyard in Los Angeles County, and is still private property. Our route takes us past the gate and marker.

10 Late 1800s

10. As early as the late 1800s, Santa Monica Canyon became a tourist destination as Angelenos would camp and visit the beach on the Marquez property.

11 Marquez1880s

11. This picture appears to have been shot from what is now Adelaide Road, at the top of where the wooden Adelaide stairs are now. The bottom-right corner would be the intersection of Entrada Drive and Amalfi Drive. The buildings on the right side may include the 1898 Canyon schoolhouse.

12 Vincent painting Pacual Marquez bath house

12. Pascual Marquez decided to attract visitors and buyers to the ranch, began selling property to develop, and created some commercial ventures as well. This painting by Marquez descendant Vincent Kilbride (Facebook: Vincent Artist) shows the bath house built by Pascual Marquez (site on the beach parking lot across from Channel Dr.). Pascual’s vision developed the canyon area.

13 Pascual Marquez and daughter

13. Photo of Pascual Marquez and his daughter.

14 Port Los Angeles postcard

14. Up the beach, the Long Wharf was built with the intention of turning Santa Monica Bay into the Port of Los Angeles, a bid that failed against San Pedro. To service ships, a railroad was built along the coast, passing through the McClure Tunnel (now the terminus of the 10 Freeway), and along the beach. This railroad preceded any roads.

15 Long Wharf

15. Looking back to the Palisades bluffs from the Long Wharf.

16 1912wharfStation

16. Looking up the beach at the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon in 1912. The railroad was where Pacific Coast Highway is today. The Long Wharf and railroad brought visitors to Santa Monica Canyon, where a small train station was built, and where Pascual Marquez built his bath house.

17 Students_and_teacher_of_the_Canyon_School_Santa_Monica_Canyon_Calif1902

17. In the late 1800s, the one-room Canyon School was built approximately where Amalfi Drive parallels Santa Monica Creek. It was moved to allow for the road, and eventually ended up on the campus of the current Canyon Elementary School, where it is used as the school’s library. This is a 1902 class shot.

18 Canyon_School_classroom_Santa_Monica_Canyon_October_13_1911

18. The interior of the Canyon School, 1911. This is one of three surviving one-room schoolhouses in Los Angeles County that are still in use for education.

19 Abbot Kinney Eucalyptus grove post 1887

19. Abbott Kinney, later known for conceiving of and developing the canals of Venice of America, was a scientist, who experimented with cultivating eucalyptus trees, which were new to California in the late 1800s. Hopes for the fast-growing tree to provide wood for building didn’t pan out (the wood is too soft), but they were used all over Southern California as wind blocks for orange groves. Kinney’s Forestry Station was on Latimer Road (near the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center), where a plaque is located and many original trees still exist.

20 Train station

20. The small train station near the beach was where Entrada Drive meets the current PCH.

21 Patricks current

21. Although modified significantly, the original train station became integrated into Patrick’s Roadhouse restaurant on Entrada Drive.

22 Adelaide1915

22. Bluff houses along Adelaide Drive were built in the 1900s. Roy Jones, a founder of the City of Santa Monica, bank owner, and builder of the house on Main Street that is now the Historical Society built the large home on the right. Ocean Avenue Extension is the road descending below the homes.

23 Ocean and Adelaide

23. Here’s a view looking down Ocean Ave Extension from Adelaide. The Roy Jones house is on the right.

24 Mabury and Ocean1920s

24. This is a view of the corner of Mabury and Ocean Ave Extension. Along the hillside with the Bundy sign, a pedestrian walkway was built. Bundy purchased much of the land from Marquez and developed much of the Santa Monica area. Stairways abound in this area, to enable access to the school and the railway.

25 AtPCHearly1920s

25. The corner of Channel Drive and Roosevelt Highway (later Pacific Coast Highway) in the early 1920s. This is where our Evening Loop walks start. The men are standing approximately where the pedestrian underpass now begins (it used to start off the right side of the image along PCH, but was extended to Channel Drive so PCH could be widened).

26 Postcard

26. This postcard shows how busy the beach area was in the 1920s. The beach bathrooms (still there) are alongside the beach parking area, and there was a restaurant with a “lighthouse” at Will Roger’s Beach, where the Long Wharf once was.  The sign at the Will Rogers Beach entry at Temescal Canyon is an homage to the “lighthouse.”

27 Motorcycle parachute jump 1926

27. Fred Osborne, a daredevil, attempted to do the world’s first motorcycle parachute jump off the bluff (now Corona Del Mar Street) in 1926. He survived. Watch his  YouTube fail video at:

28 Fred Osborne jump story

28. Here’s Fred’s story. Not the headline he was hoping for…

29 Jose Mojica Hollywood

29. Jose Mojica was a noted Mexican tenor who was discovered by and mentored by Caruso and featured on Edison records. He sang for the Chicago Opera and later became a Hollywood actor. He built his Hacienda Mojica at 565 Dryad Rd in the 1920s. He later returned to Mexico, rebuilt an old hacienda for his mother that he named Antigua Villa Santa Monica, (now a hotel in San Miguel de Allende) after his home in Santa Monica. After his mother passed away he became a monk in Lima, Peru. The house on Dryad was owned by a series of women, and the current owner founded the La Señora Research Institute, dedicated to studying the Rancho history of the area. Artistic and educational events still occur on the property. More info at:

30 Jose Mojica

30. Jose Mojica in an opera appearance.

31 LaSenora1

31. An interior courtyard in the La Señora Research Institute.

32 La Senora back gate

32. The gate of La Señora Research Institute along East Channel Road (the property goes from Dryad to E. Channel). “La Finca de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” means “The farm of our lady of Guadalupe.”

33 Toed Inn 1930

33. Some funky businesses operated along Channel Drive to cater to beachgoers in the 20s and 1930s. The Toed Inn was one of the classic L.A. “programmatic” architecture buildings designed to have a unique novelty look (i.e. the Brown Derby). After the 1938 flood, the building was damaged, and the owner decided to move it to 12008 Wilshire Blvd. where it was then fully enclosed. The restaurant survived for some years and was then demolished.  Behind it in the photo is the Seaside Service Station.  Here’s a good rundown on programmatic architecture in: LA:

34 Filming38FloodRescue

34. Flooding in 1938 wreaked havoc all over Los Angeles, resulting in the concreting of rivers and flood channels, including Santa Monica and Rustic Creeks. This image shows a news crew filming someone being rescued from the building on Entrada Dr. that now houses Drive Cardio.

35 Flood 1938 at subway

35. Roosevelt Highway took a beating from the flood. Here is the beach side of the pedestrian underpass now known as the Roosevelt Tunnel (see the sign as you enter at the beginning of our walk). Note the building on the right – those are the existing beach bathrooms.

36 Teds Grill 146 Entrada postcard

36. This building still exists on Entrada (approximately the vantage point of the flood rescue picture at current-day Drive Cardio), although the building is obscured by trees and bushes, and appears vacant. The obelisk on the roof is gone.

37 Eddies Chili Verde (Golden Bull)

37. This building is now the Golden Bull Restaurant on Channel Drive at Short Street. The traces of the original building (and the tile roof motif) still exist.

38 FriendshipCafe1943

38. This 1943 shot of the “gentleman’s club” Friendship Cafe shows the proud owners. The ship motif still exists on what is currently the ShoreBar. Check out the newspaper headlines!

39 PCHCanyonMkt1945

39. This shows the intersection of Chautauqua, Channel, and Roosevelt Highway (PCH) in 1945. The large building housed the Canyon Market. There is now a plant store there. Note the odd little house on the roof of that building – it is no longer there (perhaps someone attached a bunch of balloons to it?).

40 Marquez Filling Station 507 Entrada

40. The Marquez Filling Station was built in 1924 at 507 Entrada Drive. It was closed in the 1980s and bought by a private party. It is now a historical site and is well-hidden from the street behind a hedge. There is a plaque on the building and the original gas island still exists.

41 Canyon Service 507 Entrada

41. The Marquez Filling Station as Canyon Service Station.

42 Case Study Bluff Houses

42. In the late 1940s, architects were commissioned to build the Case Study homes, to identify design and building techniques for the booming growth taking place following the war. The bluff above Chautauqua is the site of five of these homes, most of which remain as built.

43 Eames House

43. One of the Case Study homes, the Eames House (built for the furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames) is now the Eames Foundation and serves as a museum and event space.

44 parts-of-home-slides-down-bluffs-in-pacific-palisades-california-after-ADMJ6F

44. On the bluff above Chatauqua and the Case Study homes, ocean-view houses were built and modified many times over the years. A hillside failure resulting from the 1994 earthquake took out a portion of this home, owned by screenwriter/director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas). He unsuccessfully sued L.A. County for not preventing construction on what was known to be an unstable hillside. No house exists on that spot (or the next-door house) today.