In 1822 Mexico obtained title to California from Spain. One of the ranchos subsequently formed was Sausal Redondo, named after a round clump of willows in the area. Sausal Redondo consisted of approximately 22,460 acres and originally included all or parts of the present-day towns of Westchester, El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach,
Inglewood, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach, Playa del Rey, Redondo Beach, and Torrance.
The center of the Rancho was in Westchester; prevoiusly in Inglewood, located at the Centinela Adobe which still remains and open for tours. After the United States won the Mexican War, the Rancho passed through many hands until Canadian Daniel Freeman took control in 1873.
Pioneers from all the corners of the globe began to pour in; but soon began to leave in droves.
These were dark days at the Rancho and all over the new village of Los Angeles, as severe droughts and disease plagued the region. At one point over 1000 souls per month fled the area and returned to the east or mid-west or even Europe. Despite the Rancho’s enormous agrarian enterprises, Freeman lost thousands of heads of sheep and cattle, and was forced to revert to the dry farming of barley. His decision to farm made him a fortune.
At one point Freeman was shipping in excess of 3,000,000 bushels of barley a year, often to the breweries at St. Louis, Omaha and Milwaukee, and as far as London and Liverpool; where it was sometimes used to create a drink called barley wine. Barley is also used as fodder for animals and for baking and of course in beer. In 1880, there were over 2400 breweries in the United States alone. Some of the crop was sold to one of L.A.'s first breweries, the Philadelphia Brew House, opened in 1874 near the present-day site of Union Station, and shipped to Downtown L.A. via horse-drawn wagons, over the Pass of The Scissors (Paso de la Tijera).
But Daniel Freeman’s run of luck was unusual, and the areas population continued to shrink from 70,000 to 50,000 residents. On Oct. 10, 1888, a group of men joined together to formulate plans for overcoming the reverses the city had suffered. The founding officers of the new Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce were business leaders Maj. Edward W. Jones, William W. Workman, Col. Harrison G. Otis, Samuel B. Lewis, J.I. Redick and Thomas A. Lewis. In 1893, Daniel Freeman was named President of the Chamber.
For the next few years, the Chamber began to attend with elaborate displays, world expositions in Chicago and Saint Louis, and for two years sent a touring railcar all over the U.S., heavily ladened with agricultural and other products from the Los Angeles region. “California on Wheels,” toured the mid-west and south, encouraging migrations to California.
Eventually, the ranches, farms and barley fields were subdivided to accommodate one of the largest mass exoduses in history, and with the development of LAX, aviation became the new King of the Rancho.
History tends to repeat itself, and in 2011; nearly 120 years later, another resident of the Rancho, the Chairman and CEO of Westchester/LAX based Mercury Aviation, Joseph A. Czyzyk, was named President of The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
DANIEL FREEMAN, (1837-1918). The founder of Inglewood. He was born in 1837, on a farm in the province of Ontario, Canada. Once his wife contracted tuberculosis, the family moved to Julian, California. After some time here in California, Freeman came to own two former Spanish ranchos, Rancho Centinela and Rancho Sausal Redondo, which he later developed, first raising sheep and later raised grain. His large land holdings helped make him a prominent businessman, whose reputation in the Los Angeles business community earned him the presidency of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (1893-1894). (Complements, LAX California; An Early History of the Region, Author).