The Borderlands Archive is an active collection of research, mappings and contributed artifacts from the U.S.- Mexico borderlands that symbolize connection across territorial divide. Collected objects and information represent physical, social, political and environmental connections that form a counter-narrative, or collective public record about a contested space between two countries. 

Rancho Boundary, 2020
(Specific) Location: LA River/Boundary of former Rancho San rafael 34.120055, -118.269968
Item Name: Rancho Boundary
Description/Materials: Digital Photograph
Date Collected: January 2020
Name of Contributor/Author: Deborah Diehl

What cross-border connection(s) does this object represent?

Cross border connection: This photograph is part of a series that explores ideas about migration, territorial boundaries and the fragility of eras as seen through the lens of California history. This photo is taken at the LA River, which was once a boundary line for Rancho San Rafael, a 56 square mile 1784 Spanish Land Grant and included most of present day cities of Glendale, Burbank, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, Glassell and Highland Parks.

Glendale was once Rancho San Rafael, 2020
Inspired by Deb Diehl’s contribution, we did some research into the Verdugo Land Grant:

History of the Mexican Land Grant to the Verdugo Family (linked here)

Granted to:  José María Verdugo in 1784 by Governor Pedro Fages

Size:  36,403 acres

Location:  Los Angeles County

Rancho San Rafael was named for the angel Raphael, one of the three archangels mentioned in the bible.  The name means "God has healed." 

Rancho San Rafael was also known as Rancho La Zanja (lah san-ha), which means "ditch that brought water from the rivers." The Rancho was granted to José María Verdugo,  a corporal in the Spanish Army when he came to California.  He had come from Loreto, Mexico, on the first Spanish expedition to California in 1769.  For a time he was commander of the guard at Mission San Luis Obispo.  Later he served as comandante (officer in charge) at the San Diego Presidio.  He was then transferred to Mission San Gabriel.

While at Mission San Gabriel, Verdugo decided to buy some cattle.  He wanted to sell the hides to make extra money.  He heard that his friend, Juan José Domínguez, had been given a large land grant earlier that year by the governor.  That grant was Rancho San Pedro.  Now Verdugo decided that he also would ask the governor for land.


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