The Baldwin Hills Estates was originally part of the 4,481.5 acre "Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera" given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Vicente Sánchez as part of the Mexican land grants establishing major ranchos or settlements throughout Alta California. Cienega derives from the Spanish word cienaga, which means swamp or marsh land. Paso de La Tijera is the Spanish name that translates into Pass of the Scissors. This name was used to describe the trail that cut along the Baldwin Hills, which resembled a pair of open scissors. "Paso de la Tijera" appears in maps circa 1860 where a path crosses a stream, at the present-day intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards. The areas encompassed by the dual-named ranch are now known as Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, Baldwin Hills, and Leimert Park.
(Los Angeles County court documents for Tomas Sanchez land grant. Source: UC Berkeley)
Vicente Sánchez was alcalde, or mayor, of Los Angeles from 1831-1832 and again in 1845 until his death in 1846. Upon his death the rancho was inherited by Sánchez widow Maria Victoria Higuera and his grandson Tomás Sánchez. Tomás was equally involved in the early governance of Alta California, having held positions as county sheriff and as a member of county and city legislative bodies. The younger Sánchez held control of the land until 1875 when he sold Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera to Francis Pliney Fisk (F.P.F) Temple, Arthur J. Hutchinson, Henry Ledyard and Daniel Freeman. Temple experienced financial difficulties and in 1875 Elias J. (Lucky) Baldwin acquired portions of the rancho giving his name to the hills that dominated the western section of the land, thereafter known as the Baldwin Hills.Read more