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Hear cannons shoot off for California's birthday during costume reenactment

It's an amazing reenactment done by dedicated historians. They show how food was made, how costumes were worn, and how California became a state.

The historic beginnings of California are reenacted by historians.
Mike Szymanski, Studio City Community Activism Examiner
A reenactment of the beginnings of California
Campo de Cahuenga

This year, the reenactment of the signing of the Articles of Capitulation at Campo de Cahuenga takes place Sunday, Jan. 12 at the Metro Universal City/Studio City Red Line Station stop.

What people don't know is that there's a lot of history involving women in the beginnings of California history. First of all, the historic site of the Campo de Cahuenga, where in 1847 Mexico relinquished control of California to the United States, this station, was designed by artist Margaret Garcia and architect Kate Diamond, California was named by the Spaniards after the mythological black Amazon queen Califas, who was said to have ruled a tribe of women warriors.

In the middle of the Campo de Cahuenga is the historic Dona Bernarda Ruiz Fountain. Dona Bernarda is often called the “Dolly Madison of California” because of her efforts to bring the war between the United States and Mexico to an end in California. After more than forty years of disrepair, the historic Campo fountain, which is the centerpiece of the gardens at the Campo de Cahuenga, has been restored and brought back to life.

The Campo de Cahuenga is considered the birthplace of California and the site where America’s dream of “Manifest Destiny” was realized. On January 14, 1847, John C. Fremont and Kit Carson met with Andres Pico and accepted the surrender of the Californios troops. The Peace Agreement, known today as the “Campo de Cahuenga Articles of Capitulation” was principally negotiated between Fremont and Dona Bernarda Ruiz. The agreement signed at the Campo ultimately led to the American acquisition of all Mexican lands west of the Rocky Mountains, and created a continental United States that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean.

The Campo de Cahuenga was built during the 1780s and subsequently served as an outpost to the Mission San Fernando. It was likely one of the largest buildings in California when built, and historians believe it may have been one of the earliest multi-story buildings in California.

The Campo was built on the site of a native Indian village, where bone remnants have been carbon dated to be as old as 6000 years. The Campo subsequently served as an Overland-Butterfield stage coach station and then as a Union Army post during the Civil War.

Visitors walking into the station are greeted with a historical timeline that highlights key dates and events related to the area’s past. There is a series of highly stylized trees on the station platform to provide a canopy. These designs symbolize life, time and growth, and the design of these interior trees was influenced by the mature pepper trees that once lined Lankershim Boulevard, according to Metro. Each tree trunk is decked in handmade colorful art tiles that reflect the history of the area and its people, and offers a visual and textual narrative of the events leading up to the Capitulation of Cahuenga.

The free event runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and includes fiesta dancers, a living history military encampment (including tents and military personnel will be on site from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.), a self tour of the archeological dig, the firing of the Howitzer cannon, a memorial wreath presentation, 12 flags over California and Campo tacos.

For more information, visit Campo de Cahuenga's website

Check out the gallery of past reenactments, and the video that ends with a big boom!

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