Monthly Archives: July 2015

The López Adobe in 1958!

Here are a couple of cool photographs of the López Adobe in August 1958.  The upstairs was the residence of Catalina (Kate) Lopez de Millen, daughter of Gerónimo and Catalina Lopez, owners of the historic home from 1883 until Gerónimo’s death in 1921.  Downstairs, as seen from the sign at the corner of the yard, was largely comprised of the offices of Dr. Virginia Pallais, who, for thirty years, practiced gynecology and obstetrics.

Lopez Adobe with doctor's shingle 1958

Obviously, female doctors were quite rare nearly sixty years ago and Dr. Pallais had an interesting story.  She was born at Calexico in Imperial County in January 1920 to Arturo Pallais, a physician, and Josefa Espinoza.  Both parents were natives of Nicaragua and the family lived for a time in Guatemala, as well.  In late 1912, the Pallais family migrated to the United States and settled in Calexico, where Arturo owned the Los Angeles Hotel.  By the end of decade, the family to Los Angeles and lived on University Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard–this is now part of the University of Southern California campus.

By the 1930s, the Pallais family relocated to East Los Angeles, where Virginia attended and graduated from Garfield High School.  She then went to U.C.L.A. and U.C. Berkeley, from where she studied bacteriology and graduated in 1943.  Virginia then went to U.C. San Francisco’s School of Medicine and received her degree there in 1946.  Three years later, she finished her residency at the San Francisco Women and Children’s Hospital.

Lopez Adobe front partial Aug 1958

From the early 1950s to the early 1980s, Dr. Pallais practiced in the San Fernando Valley, starting in 1951 at Van Nuys, then for a time at the Lopez Adobe and then in a Mission Hills location.  She was also on the staff at Holy Cross Hospital, where she was chair of the Obstetrics-Gynecology department.  In fact, she not only was she the first female chief of staff at that facility, earning that position in 1966, but she had the distinction of being the first woman to have that position at any hospital west of the Mississippi River!  She also published professional papers based on research she did on such topics as serious uterine injury to pregnant women.

Upon retirement, Dr. Pallais retired to Bodega Bay, along the coast in Sonoma County, where she lived for twenty-four years until she passed away in February 2007.  Not only was she a highly-regarded doctor, but she was quite a musician, playing cello, classical guitar and piano.

Categories: Lopez Adobe | Leave a comment

Lopez Adobe Historic Photo Collection Find #2

San Fernando ca 1880s

Earlier today local historian and Lopez Adobe docent Richard Arroyo and consultant Paul Spitzzeri were sorting through more great images from the Lopez Adobe collection, owned by the City of San Fernando.  This original cabinet card photograph, dating to the early 1880s, was among the items reviewed today.

At the left is the Porter House hotel, established by one of the main figures of the town, Benjamin K. Porter.  At the center right is the generically-identified Billiard Saloon, while at the right is the store of Maclay, Moffitt and Company.

The 1880 federal census, taken six years after the establishment of San Fernando by Charles Maclay, shows, among the first households listed, that household number three was that of Theodore M. Loop, a 47-year old Scottish hotel keeper, who may have been the manager of the Porter House.

Household number four was that of Henry L. Shaug, also 47 and from Virginia.  He was a saloon keeper, so it seems likely that he was the owner of the Billiard Saloon.  Incidentally, Shaug’s son, Charles, age 15 in 1880, married Ramona, one of the many daughters of Geronimo and Catalina Lopez.

A couple of households down, consisting of number 6, was that of town founder and co-owner of the store at the right, Charles Maclay, age 57, and his wife and three children.  There’ll be more on Maclay, who was shown as a farmer in the census, in a subsequent post.

Finally, at household number eight is A.B. Moffitt, co-owner of the store with Maclay.  We’ll have a post on him, too, but for now, we can note that he was a 37-year old native of Ohio, battle-heartened veteran of the Civil War, and a clerk for Wells Fargo in northern California.

In 1873, while living in Oakland, he married Arabella (Belle) Maclay, daughter of Charles, and followed his father-in-law south to the new town of San Fernando in 1875.  While he was a partner in the store, given that Maclay gave his profession as a farmer and Moffitt stated he was a merchant, it appears he actually ran the business.  Again, more on him later.

So, check back soon for more great photos and information on early San Fernando.

Categories: San Fernando buildings, San Fernando founders, San Fernando History, San Fernando people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lopez Adobe Historic Photo Collection Find #1

071 Yesterday, San Fernando Parks and Recreation supervisor Virginia Diediker, Lopez Adobe docent and local historian Richard Arroyo and consultant Paul Spitzzeri were sorting through photos from the Lopez Adobe collection and came across a slew of great original images.

Of the many cool examples, this one stood out.  This bucolic, pastoral scene of sheep grazing along a river with trees and a meadow-like area happens to be, according to the inscriptions on the back, in Studio City!  If so, the watercourse could be the Los Angeles River.

This cabinet card photograph did not have a photographer’s mark or cartouche and was undated, but looks to be about 1900 or so, perhaps a bit earlier.  Cabinet cards of the Los Angeles area were popular and common from the 1880s to the early 1900s.

Check back soon for more finds from San Fernando and the surrounding area.  It looks like the trio of photo hunters will be back next Thursday to continue reviewing images from the collection.

Meantime, the Lopez Adobe is open the 4th Sunday of each month, which means you can check out this recently-restored, refurnished, reinterpreted and reopening landmark on the 26th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Hope to see you there!

Categories: Lopez Adobe | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at