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.
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. Photo above: Rancho Los Cerritos. Courtesy Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site, Long Beach, California
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.
There's no food on site, but you can bring a picnic.
Photo above: Historic photo of the ranch. Courtesy Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site.
Where Is It
Rancho Los Cerritos is located right next to the Virginia Country Club on Virginia Road, not far from the 405, 710, or 91 freeways.
What is There Now
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.
How Much to Visit
Free - Donations accepted. Rates subject to change without notice.
It is currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with the last tour going out at 4:15. Times subject to change.
Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site
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. Aquarium of the Pacific.
Photo above, Long Beach boardwalk and pier, 1907.