Located in Long Beach, California, the Los Cerritos Ranch House aims to preserve the historic structure and its surrounding grounds while inspiring curiosity and understanding of the past, present, and future. Visitors can expect to find nothing less than a vibrant and well-preserved historic site with endless fun, educational, and unique activities.
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The land which currently houses the Los Cerritos Ranch House has a vast history dating back as far as 25,000 BC. The first inhabitants of the land were the early Native American tribes who settled in the region and established between 50-100 small villages throughout Los Angeles. Once the Spanish arrived, the tribes were forced to relocate and little is known about the tribes after that.
In 1784, Manual Nieto, received a large parcel of land consisting of 300,000 acres as a gift for his service in the Spanish military. Not only was the land a reward for his dedication but large pieces of land were given out frequently to encourage people to settle in California.
After years of living on the land, the acreage was divided into 6 smaller parcels, one of them became known as “Rancho Los Cerritos” or “Ranch of the Little Hills”. This piece of land was given to Nieto’s daughter, Manuela Cota and consisted of about 27,000 acres. Throughout the years, Manuela and her husband built two adobes, raised cattle and had 12 children.
The land as purchased by John Temple in 1843 and he constructed two more adobes and operated his large cattle farm there. He often used the home as a summer house and constructed a formal and lavish garden on the property. In the early 1860s, Temple’s cattle crop had dried up and he sold his property to Flint, Bixby & Company in 1866.
The brothers used the property to farm sheep successfully for many years, however, from 1890-1927, many tenants came and went quite rapidly and the property began to suffer from neglect. The town of Long Beach had been established nearby by 1884, and in 1930, the Virginia Country Club was built next door to the property.
In 1930, the Bixby family decided to put the property through extensive renovations and redesign the surrounding grounds. Eventually, the family sold the house and its remaining 4.7 acres to the City of Long Beach and in 1955, the museum was officially opened to the public.
Los Cerritos Ranch House:
The historic ranch house and its surrounding property features a large historic ranch house complete with historic furnishings and décor. The surrounding property is landscaped with gorgeous trees, plants, and flowers.
There is even a formal garden on the property which dates to the 1850’s. The garden is complete with landscaped hedges, flower beds organized throughout brick pathways, and even a greenhouse. Visitors can take an educational tour of the house and the gardens year-round with a costumed docent.
There is always something to do and see at the Los Cerritos Ranch House including lectures and special speakers, summer concerts, and family-friendly holiday fun. Be sure to check out the online calendar for more information about all upcoming events. Some annual event highlights include the following:
Victorian Tea: Each Spring, the Los Cerritos Ranch House hosts a traditional and charming Victorian tea service followed by a tour of the home by docents in period clothing.
Romances at the Rancho: Every Valentine’s Day, the Los Cerritos Ranch House hosts a candlelit walk around the property while enjoying costumed volunteers portraying Rancho residents. There will be a fabulous dessert including champagne and a site tour.
Education & Programs:
There are a variety of educational programs available at the Los Cerritos Ranch House including custom group tours, family fun activities, summer day camps for children and teens, and school tours and resources for educators.
The school tours allow students to interact with costumed docents and partake in day-to-da activities of the time. They will learn about the traditions, culture, and history of the generations who came before them and called Los Cerritos home.
Family programs include craft-making, where they can practice making crafts the old-fashioned way, the mud mania station, where they can learn about soil and adobe-making, as well as family tours and picnics.
Los Cerritos Ranch House, 4600 Virginia Road Long Beach, CA, 90807, website, Phone: 562-206-2040
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