The Casa Verdugo Restaurant

Now Jane, my partner in crime and the chief researcher, has been goin’ a little crazy with all these adobes and ranchos and families where everybody is related to everybody else. When you get to charting some of these family trees, they look more like a palm tree than an oak, you know what I’m sayin’? And then to top it off, sometimes they change the names of these places for a plus ten degree of difficulty.


 And that’s when we got our first case of mistaken identity. We got the Catalina Adobe, which was also

called the Verdugo Adobe and the Catalina Verdugo Adobe and it was located on the Rancho San Rafael, which was owned by Catalina’s dad, Corporal Jose Maria Verdugo.


 Jose Maria had a lot of kids – he married María de la Encarnación López in 1779, and they had 11 children. He also had a lot of land. He start ranching in 1784, made it “official” on January 12, 1798 with one of the first land grants – 36,402 acres of prime SoCal real estate. He built a few adobes on his property, which he liked to call La Zanja (a cute word for “ditch.” ) And when the reaper called, apparently

after a long illness, on 13 April 1831, at Mission San Gabriel, where he is also buried, he left it all to his son Julio Antonio Verdugo and daughter María Catalina Verdugo.


There are only two of his original adobes left – Catalina’s place and another, La Casa de Adobe de San Rafael, which was built by his granddaughter and her husband. It is also known as the Casa Adobe, the Tomas

Avila Sanchez Adobe (which is NOT the Juan Matias

Sanchez adobe) The Sanchezes are probably related, but they don’t seem to be brothers or first cousins from the information we’ve scanned.


 Are you confused yet? Well, I sure am!



There was a real risk of the Raven Jake research center suffering a spontaneous combustion when “Casa Verdugo” came up on the radar. Once that bomb was diffused everything was A-ok, but it was scary for a moment.


 Casa Verdugo was a restaurant.


 Yep, Casa Verdugo used to be at 101 Mountain Ave. in Glendale and was originally housed in what was known as the “Sepulveda Adobe.” Rafaela and Fernando Sepulveda were the

original owners of the adobe home. That’s no coincidence either.  Rafaela Verdugo and Fernando Sepulveda were the parents of Maria Sepulveda de Sanchez, the wife of Tomas Sanchez who built La Casa de Adobe de San Rafael, and she was a granddaughter of Jose Maria Verdugo, the original grantee of Rancho San Rafael (Catalina’s dad – Catalina

was her aunt.) It was one of the original “Verdugo Adobes.” The building was later sold and re-purposed into a restaurant, but the new owners named it for the Verdugo family instead of the Sepulvedas.


 The restaurant was situated at the last stop at the end of Brand Boulevard's Red Car line. The ride up from Echo Park was beautiful, and travelers who had read Ramona could hardly wait to see a real adobe,

chow down on some real Mexican food and enjoy some authentic entertainment with Spanish dancers and mariachi bands. In the early 1900s, this was the bomb in date-night entertainment.


 This original, authentic adobe was eventually replaced with a newer one just a couple of hundred yards away when Brand Boulevard was extended further up the hillside north of Mountain Street.



On May 6, 1907 a convention of 5,000 Shriners poured into Glendale from all over the country and more than half of them ate enchiladas and tamales at Casa Verdugo. According to the Glendale Register of Historic Places, Casa Verdugo moved “to a newly built home at the terminus of the Red Car line and moved a third time to the property at the southwest corner of Randolph Street and Louise Street.”


The restaurant retained its popularity into the 1920s and later became a private residence. The new owners seem pretty amenable to hosting charity events – the Glendale Historical Society had a little ‘do there



a couple months back and I certainly hope that there will be more to come.



~ by ravenjake on July 29, 2009.

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