HISTORY OF TEJON
During the Quaternary Period some 2 million years ago,
the mountains we know as the Tehachapis formed to their present state.
Wild climate swings, including ice ages, subsided over time and about 13,000 years ago,
the Central Valley came to look much as it does today.
Indigenous people were the first to make what is now the Tejon Ranch their home.
A number of distinct groups lived on portions of the Ranch.
Among these are the Chumash, Yokut, Kawaisu and Kitanemuk.
Signs of their habitation are still present in the form of mortar rocks and drawn images.
In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Spain made inroads into the New World.
Traveling between what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Monterey in California,
Spanish explorers began visiting the Tejon region in the early 1700s.
In subsequent years, Catholic priests followed, bringing Catholicism to the native peoples.
When the French Emperor Napolean invaded Spain in 1808, Spanish colonies including Mexico began to feel unrest.
In 1821 Mexico was successful in gaining independence from Spain. Between 1843 and 1846, the four ranchos that would make up the Tejon Ranch (Rancho El Tejon, Rancho de Castac, Rancho La Liebre and Rancho Los Alamos y Agua Caliente) were granted to Mexican citizens to help colonize the region and spur the economy.
The American Period
In 1848 following the Mexican-American War, California was ceded to the United States by treaty. The treaty protected the ownership rights of alll ranchos' landowners. By 1866 the four ranchos that would become Tejon Ranch had been sold to Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a U.S. Navy lieutenant, Indian affairs superintendent, surveyor, explorer, diplomat and rancher. At Beale’s death, the Tejon Ranch went to his son, Truxton Beale. He sold the Ranch in 1912 to investors including Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, and land developer Moses Sherman. In 1936 they took the Tejon Ranch Company public and it’s still publicly traded today.
A Bold Agreement
In June 2008, representatives of the Tejon Ranch Company, Audubon California, the Endangered Habitats League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planning and Conservation League, and Sierra Club signed the Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement, setting aside for conservation 240,000 of the 270,000 acres of Tejon Ranch. The same agreement created the nonprofit and independent Tejon Ranch Conservancy. Under the agreement, all conserved lands are to be managed pursuant to the Ranch-Wide Management Plan which, developed jointly by the Tejon Ranch Company and the Conservancy, ensures the preservation of conservation values of this ecological treasure, while allowing for the commercial pursuits of this historic working ranch.
The Conservancy Today
Science, stewardship, public access and education are the hallmarks of the Conservancy today. The Tejon Ranch Conservancy facilitates research on the Ranch for colleges and universities nationally and internationally. Protecting and restoring significant habitat, optimizing grazing management and battling invasive species are just some of its stewardship objectives. Providing learning opportunities for high-school and college students in a variety of scientific areas and bringing people of all ages to bird watch, hike, tour and experience the awe and wonder of Tejon are the rewards of the Conservancy's public access and education programs.
Be part of something big! With 240,000 acres under its care, the Tejon Ranch Conservancy helps oversee management of one of the largest, and perhaps most historic, working cattle ranches in California. But we are more than just acres: we are research, education and exploration – we are science and stewardship – and we are discovery.