America's Best History Spotlight 

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area.  And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find.  You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't.  It'll be fun.  Visit them.

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Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site
Long Beach, California

Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site
Rancho Los Cerritos Visitor Center
(photo courtesy Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site)

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What is There Now

Rancho Los Cerritos

Rancho Los Cerritos

What's There

5 acres of history and grounds.
The 2 story adobe house, built in 1844.
Beautiful formal gardens patterned after those first planted in the 1840s.
Tours guided by living history expert.
Exhibits and collections about the ranch and home.
Gift shop for your momento of the site.

When Did it Open

The museum first opened in 1955.  It is currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with the last tour going out at 4:15.  They've got a lot planned for the future, too, including one already there, the new Visitor Center open in 2012.

How Much to Visit

Free - Donations accepted.

How to Get There

Easy access from the various freeways of the area, whether you are coming in from the 405, 710, or 91.  Look for Long Beach Boulevard, then deke west onto San Antonio Drive.  At the stop sign, take a right on Virginia Road.  Not hard at all.  You can get easy directions on or other tour direction sites.

Long Beach is not far from Los Angeles, only 25 miles, so if you're in that city, visiting the historic attractions of Long Beach is not far afield.

How Many Acres

5 acres.

How Many People Visit

23,000 people per year


Website:  Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site

Long Beach Pier 1927

History Along the Way You Might Like

Queen Mary ocean liner, which now houses a museum, hotel, and restaurants.  It was built in 1936.
Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Site.
Long Beach pier, beaches, and attractions.  (Photo above, Long Beach boardwalk and pier, 1907.)
Aquarium of the Pacific.

Golfsmith - World's Largest Golf Superstore 

About Them

Rancho Los Cerritos

When visitors from far off think of Long Beach, their impression is often far off what actually lies ahead, that is, beyond the beach and a large ship.  Yes, the Queen Mary, is there.  But what lies just beneath that first impression are historic sites that tell the story of how the area began, and perhaps the best place to get a start on that history or your visit to Long Beach even before the beach or ship, is Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site.  In many ways the history of the California that we know of today began with sites like this, making the transition from the mission days to the agricultural lands that permeated the landscape as well as the economy and now given over to suburbia.  

Rancho Los Cerritos

Rancho Los Cerritos started as a small ranch, if you think 27,000 acres is small, in 1804.  It had originally been part of the Rancho Los Nietos, which was a 300,000 acre land concession from the King of Spain.  As the smaller ranch, it would grow to hold 15,000 head of cattle, a bunch of sheep, see the birth of the town that now bears the Long Beach name (town was actually founded on part of the ranch in the 1880s), and eventually become a musuem, back in 1955, that would tell the story of all. There's the two story adobe home, built in 1844, one of the few that remain in Southern California from the Mexican Rancho period. That home was built by Juan Temple in the cattle days.  Later, in the sheep ranch and birth of Long Beach days, Jotham Bixby owned the ranch.  He's known as the father of the town.  There are gardens to visit, tours to take with guides that know that history, and a lot of special events to return to for repeat visits.

Of course, we've skipped a large part of its history, which should not be forgotten, and this is its native american history, which reaches back to B.C. times, plus the newer Tongva tribe heritage.

Rancho Los Cerritos is located right next to the Virginia Country Club on Virginia Road, not far from the 405, 710, or 91 freeways.  

There's no food on site, but you can bring a picnic.

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Historic Sites
Acadia National Park
Alamo, San Antonio
Appalachian Trail
Barbary Coast - San Francisco
Blue Ridge Parkway
Bryce Canyon
Cape Canaveral
Cape Cod National Seashore
Carlsbad Caverns
Chickamauga & Chattanooga
Crater Lake
Ellis Island
The Everglades
Ferry Farm/Mount Vernon
First State National Monument
Fort McHenry
Fort Sumter
Fort Vancouver
Glacier National Park
The Grand Canyon
Grand Teton
Great Smoky Mountains
Harper's Ferry
Hawaii Volcanoes
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Mammoth Cave
Manassas (Bull Run)
Mesa Verde
Mount Rainier
Natchez Trace Parkway
New Orleans
Niagara Falls
Oklahoma Land Rush
Olympic National Park
Oregon Trail
Pearl Harbor
Petrified Forest
Philadelphia - Independence
Pinnacles National Park
Plymouth Rock
Redwood National Park
Rocky Mountain NP
The Roswell Incident
Saguaro National Park
San Antonio Missions NHS
San Juan NHS
San Juan Islands
St. Augustine
St. Louis Gateway West
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
Statue of Liberty
Stones River
Sutter's Mill (Gold Rush)
Valley Forge
Theodore Roosevelt NP
War of 1812
Washington, D.C.
Washington's Crossing
White Sands
Wilderness, Battle of
Yellowstone National Park
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park

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U.S. History Timeline
History Timeline Index

* 1770-1779 - The American Revolution
* 1780-1789 - The Nascent Democracy
* 1790-1799 - America Builds


1800-1809 - Exploration
* 1810-1819 - The War of 1812
* 1820-1829 - A Decade of Compromise & Doctrine
* 1830-1839 - Conquering the West
* 1840-1849 - The Mexican War
* 1850-1859 - Expansion & the Looming Divide
* 1860-1869 - The Civil War
* 1870-1879 - The Nation's Centennial Decade
* 1880-1889 - America Invents
* 1890-1899 - The Age of Immigration


1900-1909 - The World Begins to Fly
* 1910-1919 - World War I
* 1920-1929 - Properity and Its Demise
* 1930-1939 - The Great Depression
* 1940-1949 - World War II
* 1950-1959 - Two Cars in Every Garage
* 1960-1969 - Civil Rights and Turmoil
* 1970-1979 - The Nation in Flux
* 1980-1989 - The Reagan Revolution
* 1990-1999 - Prosperity as the World Turns


2000-2009 - The Fight against Terrorism
* 2010-Present - Economic Recovery

1490-1499 - Columbus/Cabot
1500-1599 - Exploration
1600-1699 - Settlement
1700-1769 - American Rights

National Park Timeline
Abraham Lincoln to Cuyahoga Valley
Dayton Aviation to Gulf Islands
Hagerman Fossil Beds to Muir Woods
Natchez to Russell Cave
Sagamore Hill to Zion NP

Other Important National Park Service Dates