Lugo Avenue

Don Antonio Maria Lugo was born in Spain. Though unable to read or write, he was a man of great energy, decision and strength of mind. He was a commanding figure, fully six feet in height, spare and sinewy. His face was of the purely Spanish type, clean-shaven, naturally stern of expression. The familiar picture of him, shown below, is distinguished by a bandana worn beneath a sombrero - a headdress affected by gentlemen of Leon.

Image of Don Antonio Maria Lugo
Don Antonio Maria Lugo

Lugo came to California as owner of the San Antonio Rancho - a grant given to him in 1810, while he was serving as a soldier of Spain. He served as Aldalde or Mayor of Los Angeles from 1816 to 1819, juez del campo, or judge of the plains, from 1833-34. This was an important office, and there was no appeal from his decisions. His duties consisted of settling disputes between rancheros relative to the ownership of cattle, etc.

Don Antonio had three sons, and with them he purchased the Rancho San Bernardino from the Mexican Government in 1842. Here he engaged in the life of a cattle rancher until the coming of the Mormons in 1851. Since he bought the Rancho for $800 in hides and tallow, and sold to the Mormons for $77,000, Don Antonio could be classed as one of the first Californians to get rich on real estate.

Shortly after he bought the Rancho, Don Antonio appealed to the governor to assign Father Jose Zalvidea, formerly of San Gabriel Mission, to come and alleviate the suffering of the Indians, struggling in poverty at the abandoned San Bernardino Mission. The contents of his letter, written for him by a scribe, a quoted in full by Beattie in his Heritage of the Valley, and gives interesting insight into Lugo's character. Constantly harassed by hostile Indians, Lugo of course also had in mind that a chapel and resident priest with armed Christianized parishioners, would furnish assistance to his stock raising.

His plea was never answered, and he bought the Mission property, where one of his sons made his home.

After the sale of San Bernardino, the Lugos returned to Los Angeles, where their social life was always centered.

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