Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum



Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum

The Grotto

History

Japanese Grotto and Waterfall

Japanese Grotto and Waterfall

Back in the 1930s, the Dominguez Seminarians constructed the Japanese garden as a summer project, according to Betty Gemelli’s book “Dominguez: The Legacy of Two Fathers.”  They were inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Work Projects Administration. The beautifully landscaped hill once featured plants, meandering pathways, Japanese-inspired statuary and water features. Over the decades, the area has become overgrown and been forgotten. Many of the plants used in the grotto came from Del Amo Nurseries, which was founded by Gregorio Del Amo in 1921. Del Amo was the husband of Maria Susanna Delfina Dominguez, daughter of Manuel Dominguez.  His Del Amo nursery help to shape the landscape of the South Bay and the Rancho was used as a living plant nursery.  He worked closely with Father Pat in the creation of the Grotto.

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden


The “Save the Grotto” Project

“The Save the Grotto project was created in an effort to preserve a historic garden from the 1930s and to showcase the variety of plants that grew on the Rancho and throughout the South Bay,” former Museum Executive Director Alison Bruesehoff said.  It is part of celebrating and honoring the meaning behind Earth Day.  This is an amazing space that has long been forgotten and it needs to be shared with the public.  It is time to preserve and maintain one of the few green spaces left in the local area for the public to tour when they visit the Rancho.

Remnants of the waterfall

Remnants of the waterfall

Upper walkway leading south in the grotto

Upper walkway leading south in the grotto

Mosaic Tile Tabletop

Mosaic Tile Tabletop

Walkway from the bottom of the grotto

Walkway from the bottom of the grotto



The Tiles in the Grotto
For many years, people have loved to sit on the benches at the uniquely tiled tables in the Grotto and many of us at the museum have lamented that the tables have been chipped and tiles are missing. Most who walk through the grotto never even think to look at the steps they are walking up when they get to the little sitting area. If one stops and looks, there are beautiful Japanese themed tiles and art-deco themed tiles. It is fascinating!

For so long we had no idea where these tiles came from. The museum was fortunate enough to have Richard Shave and Kim Cooper (Estouric Tours and LAVA Tours) introduce us to Brian Kaiser who owns and lives in Rufus Keeler’s home, the founder and grounds manager of Calco Tile Co. and Malibu Potteries. Brian noticed some strong similarities in the tile work in the grotto to tiles made by Calco. In fact, if you search CALCO tile you will see photos of tile that could have possibly been used in the grotto. We cannot presume who from the museum back in the 1930s found the tile or where they got the tile, however we can draw a connection between CALCO, Rufus Keeler and the Grotto.

Not only do we now have a link as to where some of the tile came from, this also links the grotto to other institutions in Los Angeles. The Adamson house has tiles created by Rufus Keeler and there is a connection between Rufus Keeler and Simon Rodia, who created the Watts Towers. Keeler used to visit the towers and it is said that when Keeler brought children, Rodia would come down from his work to talk to the children. Brian has noted that there are similarities in the way tiles have been used at both the Watts Towers and the Grotto. What does this mean?

This means that the Grotto is not the lost treasure in the Southbay. It has connections to other institutions in the Southern California and connects two beautiful art pieces in Southern California: The Grotto and Watts Towers. Both are worth a visit!
And please help us find out more about the Grotto’s history and the art within it. Any link of information will help us be able to conserve and preserve this beautiful garden!


Volunteers Needed

The museum is looking for individuals and groups who would like to volunteer by helping to clean, clear debris and prune overgrown vegetation from the garden beds, walkways and once-flowing waterfalls of this hidden oasis located on a shaded hill behind the adobe. Those interested in volunteering for Save the Grotto day should call (310) 603-0088.

Save the grotto in the trees

Save the grotto in the trees

Save the Grotto day III

Save the Grotto Day III


Photo Gallery (click thumbnail to see larger image)

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  • Upcoming Events

    Oct
    28
    Sat
    10:00 am UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in Rancho Dominguez (next to the cities of Carson, Long Beach, and Compton) in the South Bay is hosting a California Naturalist training. Participants complete a 40+ hour hands-on course[...]
    Nov
    4
    Sat
    10:00 am 1st annual: Dia de los Muertos @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
    1st annual: Dia de los Muertos @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
    Nov 4 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
      Joins us as the museum host a day honoring the rich tradition and history of Dia de los Muertos. The museum will have fine Mexican cuisine and arts and crafts for purchase. This event[...]
    10:00 am UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    Nov 4 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in Rancho Dominguez (next to the cities of Carson, Long Beach, and Compton) in the South Bay is hosting a California Naturalist training. Participants complete a 40+ hour hands-on course[...]
    Nov
    18
    Sat
    10:00 am UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    UC California Naturalist Certifi... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum Carriage House
    Nov 18 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in Rancho Dominguez (next to the cities of Carson, Long Beach, and Compton) in the South Bay is hosting a California Naturalist training. Participants complete a 40+ hour hands-on course[...]
    1:00 pm Speaker Series: Weaving the Past... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
    Speaker Series: Weaving the Past... @ Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
    Nov 18 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    At a crossroads, American filmmaker Walter Dominguez embarks of a life-changing quest to uncover mysteries in the life of his saintly Mexican-born grandfather, Reverend Emilio Hernandez, and to fulfill his grandfather’s dying wish to locate his[...]
    Nov
    23
    Thu
    8:00 am Museum closed
    Museum closed
    Nov 23 @ 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Museum will be close from Thursday November 23rd-Sunday November 26th, 2017 for Thanksgiving week. Tours will resume on Wednesday 29, 2017.
    Nov
    24
    Fri
    8:00 am Museum closed
    Museum closed
    Nov 24 @ 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Museum will be close from Thursday November 23rd-Sunday November 26th, 2017 for Thanksgiving week. Tours will resume on Wednesday 29, 2017.
    Nov
    25
    Sat
    8:00 am Museum closed
    Museum closed
    Nov 25 @ 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Museum will be close from Thursday November 23rd-Sunday November 26th, 2017 for Thanksgiving week. Tours will resume on Wednesday 29, 2017.
  • Blog

  • Tours

    Guided Tours of the Adobe Museum are Offered (Adobe is only open for guided tours):
    • First Thursday and Friday of Each Month
    • Every Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday
    • Tours are at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm
    • No Reservations Needed for Parties Under 10
    • Tours del adobe están disponibles en español el segundo domingo de cada mes
    • Adobe tours available in Spanish the 2nd Sunday of each month
  • Sponsors

    Watson Land Company

    The Carson Companies

    Norris Foundation

    Lantz Foundation

    Murphy Foundation

    Waste Management

    The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

    Post Alarm Systems

  • Friends of Rancho San Pedro

    Board of Directors
    • Mr. William Barger
    • Mr. Tom Huston
    • Brother Rene Lepage, C.M.F.
    • Mr. Manny Marrero
    • Father Frank Ferrante, C.M.F
    • Mr. John F. Watkins
    Honorary Member
    • Rev. Patrick J. McPolin, C.M.F.

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    18127 S. Alameda St., Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220

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