San Marino’s El Molino Viejo – The Old Mill

A small obscure street in San Marino

Hidden on a small obscure street in San Marino, is Southern California’s oldest commercial building, El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill).

El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill)

The Old Mill’s early Beginnings

It was used as a working grist mill by its Mexican earliest California visitors. Completed in 1816, its walls are made of oven-baked brick and volcanic tuff. The entire façade and exterior surface of the building is covered with mortar; but mortar that was made from the lime derived from burnt sea shells.

Windows and Pears

Surrounding the building is a small garden packed with a variety of fruit trees and foliage. The building’s history is palpable from the worn brick entranceway, the framed doorway in disrepair, and the brick peering out from its stucco covering. Here, small pear trees grow in its natural assemblage and create the ambiance of the Old Mill’s long history.

Pomegranate Trail

Just behind the door above is a short trail leading back to the front door—whose pomegranate trees prominently overhang and are a reminder of a time passed by. The path is well worn and serves as a respite from San Gabriel’s hot weather.

Diggers Club

All of the various plants, fruit trees, foliage, and the grounds are maintained by the Diggers Club—which also provided the historical backdrop of the Old Mill’s picture from above.

Relax and sit back

Visualize yourself seated on the bench reading, relaxing, and having a picnic under its thick tree

San Marino is a stunning city of history, people, and hidden gems. We have an amazing mixture of sights, sounds, and places in and around Los Angeles, which continually remind us how this city started, emerged, and fused to the present—it’s institutions, people, and how they all played an intertwined role in creating our local eco-system of neighborhoods, families, industry, and culture.

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2 comments so far

  1. Kim

    The textures of the buidings is just wonderful!! I could spend hours here with my camera!


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kim, Which is exactly the reason I didn’t get a good shot of the entire building. The place was hypnotizing in the textures, the surroundings, and the quietness.


  2. Kevin

    What an incredible building! I’ve always loved the worn look that only time can provide.

    This is another location I didn’t even realize existed while I was growing up. We used to play at Lacy Park as kids!


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kevin, I’ve read very little about Lacy Park, but because it’s in LA, I’m sure I’ll cross its path soon enough.

    I’m continuously surprised by all the different places to visit in LA.


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