De La Osa Street

Misnamed for Vicente de la Ossa (1808-1861), onetime owner of Rancho Los Encinos. Most of what we know about de la Ossa stems from one brief but convincing biography, so here goes: Born in San Diego, little Vicente lost his mother in infancy and was raised by his father in Mexico City. He had made his way up to Los Angeles by 1832, when he married 15-year-old Rita de Jesús Guillén (1817-1908). Rita’s mother Eulalia was a celebrated figure who lived well past 100 and, as a midwife, delivered everyone from Pío Pico to de la Ossa himself. The latter became a prominent Angeleno, running a tavern and holding various public offices. He briefly owned part of Rancho Providencia (today’s Burbank) before selling it in 1849 and picking up the much cheaper Rancho Los Encinos. (He effectively ripped off the struggling indigenous families who owned it.) There he built an adobe – it still stands in Los Encinos State Historic Park – and it was home for him, Rita, and their many children as well as a rest stop for travelers along the road to Ventura. Drought years battered the de la Ossas’ farm income and the family soon had to start charging for their hospitality. They were trying to sell the rancho when Vicente dropped dead at 53.