The earliest residents of what is now Inglewood were Native Americans who used the natural springs in today's Edward Vincent Jr. Park (known for most of its history as Centinela Park). Local historian Gladys Waddingham wrote that these springs took the name Centinela from the hills that rose gradually around them and which allowed ranchers to watch over their herds "(thus the name centinelas or sentinels)".
Waddingham traced the written history of Inglewood back to the original settlers of Los Angeles in 1781, one of whom was the Spanish soldier Jose Manuel Orchado Machado, "a 23-year-old muleteer from Los Alamos in Sinaloa". These settlers, she wrote, were ordered by the officials of the San Gabriel Mission "to graze their animals on the ocean side of Los Angeles in order not to infringe on Mission lands." As a result, the settlers, or pobladores, drove some of their cattle to the "lush pasture lands near Centinela Springs," and the first construction there was done by Ygnacio Avila, who received a permit in 1822 to build a "corral and hut for his herders.
Later Avila constructed a three-room adobe on a slight rise overlooking the creek that ran from Centinela Springs all the way to the ocean. According to the LAOkay web site, this adobe was built where the present baseball field is in the park. It no longer exists.
In 1834, Ygnacio Machado, one of the sons of Jose Machado, built the Centinela Adobe, which sits on a rise above the present 405 San Diego Freeway and is used as the headquarters of the Centinela Valley Historical Society. Two years later, Waddingham writes, Ygnacio was granted the 2,220-acre Rancho Aguaje de la Centinela even though this land had already been claimed by Avila.
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