Archives for February 4, 2016

Rancho Los Cerritos 2016 Lecture Series “The Bixbys in Southern California: Legacy of a Pioneering Family”

SBD (1)

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Bixby family’s arrival in Southern California, Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site’s 2016 lecture series will focus on the contributions of these Long Beach pioneers. The series will take place on Saturday mornings, 10am-11:30am, in the Rancho’s Sunporch. Seating is limited so advance reservations are requested. Admission will be $7 per person ($5/students with an I.D.). Please call 562-206-2040 to reserve your space.

An array of knowledgeable speakers will help illuminate the life and legacy of the Bixby family, which first settled in Southern California in the 1860s. Originally from Maine, the Bixbys arrived in California for the Gold Rush and began sheep ranching under the name Flint, Bixby & Co. in Northern California in the 1850s. Purchasing Rancho Los Cerritos in 1866, Jotham Bixby and family brought sheep south and operated the Rancho on behalf of the company. After almost 20 years at Rancho Los Cerritos, the Bixby family began selling off portions of the 27,000 acre Rancho for agriculture and townsite development; the cities of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood, Paramount, Bellflower, and Downey were eventually formed on this land. Over the years Jotham, his brother, and their descendants became involved in many other ventures, from mining and stage coaching, to cattle ranching, dairy farming, and real estate development. In 2016 the Bixby Land Company, an off-shoot of the original family company, celebrates 120 years of continuous operation.

On February 20, Bixby descendent and family historian Stephen Dudley will speak about the early years of the Bixby and Flint families in the gold fields of Volcano and at the Rancho San Justo near Mission San Juan Bautista. Shortly after arriving from Maine during the Gold Rush, the family got involved in the butchering business and then established their first sheep ranch near Hollister, California.

On Saturday, March 19, retired Rancho Los Cerritos Curator Steve Iverson will examine the family’s economic ventures in Southern California. He will share his knowledge of Jotham Bixby’s local sheep ranching operation, which began with the purchase of Rancho Los Cerritos in 1866, as well as other commercial operations that the family invested in. Iverson will also
trace the family companies and their impact on developing Southern California.

On Saturday, April 23, USC historian Bill Deverell will illuminate the influences – and outcomes – of the tremendous shift from ranching to urbanization that took place throughout Southern California. Deverell will examine how and why the era of sparsely-populated ranchos gave way to the densely-populated cities of modern Southern California, and he will also explore the role played by pioneer families like the Bixbys in this process.

On Saturday, May 14, Anne Peterson of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss the importance of local history and the modern movement to preserve historic places with a special focus on Rancho Los Cerritos, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

Credit Rancho Los Cerritos:
Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is located at 4600 Virginia Road in Long Beach. Built in 1844, the adobe home and grounds echo with the rich history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California and with the families who helped transform Southern California. The site, a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark, also includes historic gardens and a research library and archives. The Rancho is operated by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in private-public partnership with the City of Long Beach. For more information please call (562) 206-2040, or visit the website at www.rancholoscerritos.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rancholosc.

Witness A Century of Romance! Rancho Los Cerritos Announces Candlelight Tours in February

Romances at the Rancho

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, Rancho Los Cerritos will offer “after-hours” candlelit tours on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Visitors will tour the adobe home with a costumed guide and witness a Century of Romance through historical vignettes reenacted by living history characters. Meet Juan & Rafaela Temple, builders of the adobe home in 1844, as they explain how they first met, describe their Mexican-era wedding, and share what life was like on a cattle ranch in the mid-19th century. Guests will also encounter Jotham & Margaret Bixby, second owners of the Rancho, as they reminisce about their courtship during the Civil War and move to Southern California; and John & Susan Bixby, who married in the Rancho’s parlor after a secret courtship that took place in the early 1870s.

Stepping into the twentieth century, guests will be introduced to Manuel & Concepcion Liera, boarders who met and married at the Rancho in the 1920s. The real-life Lieras celebrated their wedding at the Rancho in 1924 – and their 70th wedding anniversary at the site in 1994! Tours will end in the library with Llewellyn & Avis Bixby, who renovated the Rancho in 1930 and lived here during the Great Depression.

The magical evening will conclude with a reception of our own: a sumptuous dessert and live romantic music in the gardens! Tours begin every fifteen minutes between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Advance reservations for this unique living history program are required. Tickets are on sale now, just $15 per person. To make reservations, please call (562) 206-2040.

Rancho Los Cerritos is located at 4600 Virginia Road in Long Beach. Built in 1844, the adobe home and grounds echo with the rich history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California and with the families who helped transform Southern California from its ranching beginnings to a modern, urban society.

The two-story Monterey-style adobe is primarily furnished to reflect occupants and lifestyles from the 1860s-1880s. The site, a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark, also includes historic gardens and a research library and archives. The Rancho is operated by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in private-public partnership with the City of Long Beach. For more information please call (562) 206-2040, or visit the website at www.rancholoscerritos.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rancholosc

Credit: Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation.