Los Cerritos Ranch House, Long Beach, California

Long Beach is a city in Los Angeles County, located in Southern California, roughly 20 miles south of the city of Los Angeles. Long Beach faces the Pacific Ocean. The beach, which extends for over 8.5 kilometres (5.5 miles), is the primary attraction here. This lengthy section of shore is traversed by a pedestrian and bicycle path called the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike Path, which links the many beaches and areas of interest along its length. From parks, to museums and even historic sites, there is just so much that this city has got to offer to both its locals and visitors alike. Read on!

Los Cerritos Ranch House, also known as Rancho Los Cerritos or Casa de los Cerritos, in Long Beach, CA, was “the largest and most impressive adobe residence erected in southern California during the Mexican period”. Los Cerritos means “the little hills” in English. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. 

The structure, a Monterey Colonial adobe, was built in 1844 for merchant Jonathan Temple, a Yankee pioneer who became a Mexican citizen. The house was once the headquarters for a 27,000-acre (110 km2) ranch; the major activity on the ranch was cattle and sheep. 

The land was part of the 167,000-acre (680 km2) Rancho Los Nietos land grant to Manuel Nieto that was eventually divided into six parcels, one of which was Rancho los Cerritos. In 1843, Temple purchased the rancho and built the adobe house in 1844 as headquarters for his cattle operations. In 1866, Temple sold the rancho to Flint, Bixby & Company which converted the ranch from cattle to sheep. 

Jotham Bixby, the brother of one of the company’s founders, managed and resided at the ranch from 1866-1881. Jotham Bixby, known as the “father of Long Beach”, eventually purchased the property for himself and raised seven children at the adobe. One of Jotham’s children who was raised at the ranch house was Fanny Bixby Spencer, who later became known as a philanthropist, poet, and pacifist. 

Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site was converted into, and remains, a public museum operated by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in partnership with the City of Long Beach. It is open for tours, programs and events on Wednesdays through Sundays. The house is furnished in a Victorian fashion as it would have been when Jotham Bixby raised his family there in the 1870s. 

There is a visitor centre with exhibits about the site’s history from Native American times to the present. A formal Italian garden includes orange and cypress trees planted by Temple. The centre also features a 3,000-volume California history research library and a gift shop. The Friends of Rancho Los Cerritos support the museum and its activities. What are you waiting for? Visit today! 

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