The Rancho La Brea is best known as the site of the La Brea Tar Pits. The Ranch features over 4,400 acres and was a Mexican land grant given to Antonio Jose Rocha and Nemisio Dominguez in 1828. Also included in the land grant were Hollywood, West Hollywood and the Miracle Mile. Following a variety of financial struggles that were common with land grants, the Rancho was subdivided, with portions of it being donated to the government and some being purchased by companies. In 1890, a man named Arthur Gilmore bought a portion of the land and built a dairy farm. During water drilling, he struck oil which is now called the Salt Lake Oil Field. The La Brea Tar Pits, the National Natural Landmark for which the rancho is best known, are a cluster of pits in Hancock Park. Some people are surprised to learn these are actual pits filled with tar. The pits have been there for tens of thousands of year. Occasionally water will fill in over the tar, causing animals to think it safe drinking territory. When they would tumble into the pits, their carcasses would be preserved in the tar. The Rancho is the site of the La Brea Tar Pits museum where visitors can learn more about the natural history of the destination.
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