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Wine Press from Dominguez Ranch
On Display at Rancho Camulos


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September 7, 2013 — Wine press from the Dominguez Ranch, located just north of the historic Rancho Temescal, immediately west of the current Lake Piru. The wine press is on display at Rancho Camulos, which acquired it from the Dominguez family in 2010. It had been in the Lechler Museum in Piru.

History from Rancho Camulos reads:

"Juan Dominguez was the son of Carmelo De Santiago and Petra Huandurranga Dominguez. Juan married Francisca Tapia, the daughter of Arcadio and Damiana Tapia. Juan and Francisca first settled and built a home on 160 acres of land in 1870 in what is known today as Dominguez Canyon. The land was homesteaded on October 18, 1878, and is known to all today as the Ranch. They raised 14 children of their own along with a number of grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Many of the desendants are residents of the Piru and Fillmore area today.

"Crops raised on the ranch included barley, corn, wheat, beans, pumpkins and other vegetables. Grapes were grown for wine not only for personal consumption but also for selling and trading. Each month, members of the family would take vegetables, fruit and wine to Los Angeles in a horse-drawn wagon to trade for goods needed for the family.

"The wine press used on the ranch was preserved and resided in Lechler's Museum in Piru until it closed. It was donated to the Rancho Camulos Museum in 2010 by the Dominguez Family."

Harry Lechler was a big-time collector of local historic (and prehistoric) artifacts and opened a museum in 1943 in Piru, where he displayed them. He closed the museum and auctioned its contents in 2000, not long before his death.


More About Juan and Francisca Dominguez: Juan Dominguez homesteaded 160 acres about 4 miles due west of the future Lake Piru, just beyond the northern border of Rancho Temescal, on Oct. 18, 1878. Eight years earlier, Juan and his wife, the former Francisca Tapia, had built a log cabin there. Several of Juan's nine siblings homesteaded nearby acreage.

Juan's father, Carmelo De Santiago, a Yaqui Indian, and mother, Petra Huandurranga Dominguez, moved the family up from Sonora, Mexico, in the middle 1800s. The settled at the Del Valles' Rancho Camulos, where Carlos worked until his death in 1902. Several sons worked on the Camulos property, as well. Petra is buried in the Camulos cemetery.

Juan and his wife, Francisca, replaced their cabin with a proper home because they had 14 children, all born in what came to be known as Dominguez Canyon. (One reportedly died at birth and was buried behind the house.) In a published oral history, Rosalind Ybarra, a granddaughter, reported that Juan stood over six feet call and Francisca stood only 4-foot-11.

According to an online history published by the owners of the 200-acre Dominguez Ranch (accessed in 2013): "Francisca worked hard, cooking and caring for her children. She cooked first on the hearth of the fireplace, then on a woodstove until her death. Her husband [Juan] planted corn, barley, and beans, according to his application for a homestead patent. The family grew their food, and the food for their animals.

"Juan also planted grapes and made wine, which he hauled to Los Angeles in a horse-drawn wagon once a month. Here he sold the wine and bought the supplies he needed for his family. Rosalind says that, the trip took several days, maybe even a week...

"Juan and his brothers ran cattle, and they operated as one cattle ranch. They built a corral and loading area for the cattle near the place where Dominguez Creek and Maple Creek join. This is at the place where the Canyon begins to ascend dramatically. Francisco would drive his cattle down the Canyon following the creek bed and join with Juan's and Miguel's cattle at this place which lay north of Juan's homestead.

"In addition to the cattle, Juan and Francisca kept cows for milk and pigs for slaughter. Deer were abundant, and venison was a mainstay of the family's winter diet. There were thousands of rabbits and quail.

"Juan's family was Catholic. They read the Bible every night to the children. Education was important to them, and they sent their children down the canyon to Temescal School which was located where Lake Piru is now."


LW2465a: 19200 dpi jpeg from digital image by Leon Worden.
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