Cheviot Knolls Tract

Francis Land Company - subdivider

Cheviot Knolls’ 120 homesites were laid out on the south side of the neighborhood on December 21, 1938, when the Francis Land Company, an affiliate of the Dominguez Estate Company , resubdivided Block 6 and a portion of Block 7 of The Palms into Tract 11556

The Francis Land Company (1928-1944) was owned and operated by descendents of Juan José Domínguez (1736-1809), recipient of the first Spanish land grant in the Los Angeles area, Rancho San Pedro .  Rancho San Pedro covered over 120 square miles:  today's Carson, Compton, Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, the western portions of Long Beach and Paramount, and the Los Angeles communities of Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Terminal Island and Wilmington.  The Francis Land Company's namesake, Maria de los Reyes Domínguez de Francis (1847-1933) ("Reyes Francis"), was the youngest granddaughter of Juan José Domínguez' brother, Cristóbal Domínguez (1761-1822).  Cristóbal had inherited half of Rancho San Pedro and bequeathed it to his six surviving children, among them Luis Gonzaga Policarpo Manuel Antonio Fernando Dominguez y Reyes (1803-1882) – Reyes Francis' father.   Land holdings aside, Reyes Francis became "substantially wealthier" when oil was found beneath her Dominguez Hill holdings.  Even with the help of family friend and attorney Henry O’Melveny , who formed the Francis company to help manage the widowed Reyes Francis' holdings, " Due to her immense wealth, she had to pay more income taxes than any other woman in the United States. "  " At the time of her death on June 4, 1933, her estate was worth $15,000,000. "  (Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County, Rancho San Pedro, The Dominguez Ranch Adobe (1997) by John R. Kielbasa.)

Reyes Francis' nephew, David V. Carson, led the Francis Land Company when Cheviot Knolls was developed a few years after her death.  (California Legacy, The Watson Family, by Judson A. Grenier, pp. 414-415.)  In 1939-1940, Ramona Properties, owned by Reyes Francis' sister Dolores Watson Jarrett's heirs, purchased Cheviot Knolls lots from the Francis Land Company.   ( Description of Inventory of the Rancho San Pedro Collection, 1769-1972, bulk 1900-1960, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Archives and Special Collections Department. )

Walter H. Leimert Company - developer

The Walter H. Leimert Company , run by Walter H. Leimert (1887-1970) , developed Cheviot Knolls for the Francis Land Company.  Today, Leimert is better known for the Leimert Park subdivision.  The Leimert provenance was a selling point:  Cheviot Knolls was advertised as " following in the footsteps of former Leimert communities which have become synonymous with 'lasting value.' "  The senior Leimert worked with his son, Walter "Tim" Leimert Jr. (1921-2004), to develop Beverlywood , east of Cheviot Hills, for the Beverly-Arnaz Land Company, which was another Dominguez family corporation.


Neff & Hurst - realtor

When Cheviot  Knolls came on the market in 1939 , r ealtors Neff & Hurst, at 3131 Motor Avenue, were the exclusive selling agents .  (Previously, they offered the Cheviot Hills tract from their 3017 Motor Avenue off ice up the street.)  As sales got underway, " Realty activity in the Cheviot Knolls-Chevlot Hills-Monte Mar Vista residential district . . . was given marked impetus . . . through announcement of . . . the new $12,000,000 Paramount Studios on a near-by site. " " Paramount City ," Paramount Studios' planned new plant west of Cheviot Hills, was never built, although other nearby studios remained in the picture.


March 19, 1939, Los Angeles Times advertisement.
May 21, 1939, Los Angeles Times advertisement.
February 11, 1940, Los Angeles Times advertisement.
May 5, 1940, Los Angeles Times advertisement.