Sunday, October 20, 2019

Visit to Rancho Los Cerritos

GSHA-SC celebrated its Viva La Familia celebration by visiting a local Hispanic landmark and uncovering the history of the historical site.

The place we visited was Los Cerritos Ranch House, an adobe residence erected in southern California during the Mexican period". Los Cerritos means "the little hills" in English. The structure, we toured was built in 1844 by merchant Jonathan Temple, a Yankee pioneer who became a Mexican citizen. The house was once the headquarters for a 27,000 acre ranch; the major activity on the ranch was cattle and sheep told by the tour guides.

The land was part of the 167,000-acre, Rancho Los Nietos land grant given to Jose Manuel Nieto by the governor of Alta California. Nietos was a soldier from the Presidio of San Diego who was assigned to the Mission San Gabriel at the time his land was granted by the Spanish Empire in 1784. The Rancho eventually was divided into five parcels, given to his wife and four children. Rancho Los Cerritos was just one of these estates. The others were Rancho Los Alamitos (which includes Eastern Long Beach, all of Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, and most of Seal Beach, Cypress, Stanton and Garden Grove), Rancho Los Coyotes (Cerritos, La Mirada, Stanton, and Buena Park), Rancho Las Bolsas (Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley and Westminster) and Rancho Santa Gertrudes (Downey and Santa Fe Springs).

In 1843, Temple purchased Rancho Los Cerritos 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 1866-1871. Jotham Bixby, eventually purchased the property for himself and raised seven children at the adobe. Beginning in the late 1870s, Bixby began leasing or selling portions of the ranch, which became the cities of Downey, Paramount and Lakewood.

Between the 1870s and 1920, the adobe fell into disrepair. In 1929, Llewellyn Bixby (Jotham's nephew) purchased the property, and made extensive renovations to the house, including plaster cement coating, a new red-tiled roof, electricity, plumbing, fireplaces, a sun porch, new floors and much of the landscaping. When Llewellyn Bixby died in 1942, the family sold the house to the City of Long Beach in 1955. The City turned the house into a museum dedicated to educating the public about California's rancho period.

Water tower

Stroage and Jacksmith  tools 
Front of the Adobe house

SCGS-SC members who posed for photo.
California plaque designation

Tour guide explaining the original adobe and growth chart