Verdugo Views: One land grant, two cities

What do Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge have in common? Well, for one thing, the land that these cities occupy was once part of the 36,4030-acre land grant that was given to Cpl. Jose Maria Verdugo in 1784.

The boundaries of the Rancho San Rafael land grant were primarily defined by the Verdugo Mountains, the Arroyo Seco and the Los Angeles River, according to Jo Anne Sadler, writing in the ‘‘Ledger,’’ the May, 2013, newsletter of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley.

In 1834, a 5,745-acre parcel was carved out of the northern portion and granted to Los Angeles school teacher Ygnacio Coronel. He called his new property La Cañada Atras de Rancho Los Verdugos (canyon behind the Verdugo ranch).

Julio Verdugo, son of Jose Maria Verdugo, disputed the grant, claiming it was part of his property, but his claim did not prevail, Sadler wrote.

Eventually, a portion of Coronel’s land came into the hands of rancher Silas Turner. And in 1905, it was purchased by a man named Flint, whose name soon began showing up in many places.

Frank P. Flint, originally from Massachusetts, grew up in San Francisco and came south in 1887 when he was 25. By the next year, he was a deputy U.S. marshal.

He married a woman named Katherine J. Bloss and they had two children, Katherine and William.

Flint studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1892, serving first as assistant U.S. attorney, then as a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Later, he became a district attorney.

In his early 40s, he went into politics. Running as a Republican from Pasadena, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1905.

That same year, a tremendous opportunity came his way. He discovered that some open land, part of the Turner ranch, was for sale. The stated price was $25,000, according to the October 20, 1905 Los Angeles Herald.

Flint bought it. And in 1911, after only one term in the senate, Flint retired from office, convinced he did not have enough support to be reelected, Sadler said.

Now, with time and energy to pay attention to his new property, he promptly purchased more land, expanding it to 1,500 acres, and gave it all a name: Flintridge.

Flint built a huge white mansion, a replica of a southern governor’s mansion, in 1914 on an avenue that he also called Flintridge. This was a second home, according to Sadler, as he still maintained his home in Pasadena.

He began developing his property with the intent to sell individual parcels. At first most of these were near his mansion. However, in 1917, the entire 1,500 acres opened with five miles of scenic boulevards, curbs and gutters. The lots ranged in size from 1 to 40 acres; some were on knolls and hillsides, some were comparatively level.

Flint specified that new trees were to be planted along the streets, but the old oaks, sycamores, eucalyptus and pines were carefully protected so that “each roadway opens its own picturesque and beautiful vistas,” as recounted by the Jan. 14, 1917 Los Angeles Times.

At the time, Flint’s development was — as the Times writer noted — “the biggest high-class residential subdivision ever put on the market in this vicinity.”

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Readers Write:

R. K. Evans emailed me a scan of a $20 bill that has a Glendale connection.

In addition to the regular printing indicating that it was U.S. Currency, on the bank note is printed: “First National Bank In Glendale, California” and is signed by John A. Logan.

It is dated 1929. “It seems to be one of a kind,” wrote Evans, who said he came across it 20 years ago. “Thought it may be an interesting piece of Glendale history to research for your readers.”

If anyone has any clues to this mysterious bill, let me know.

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