Charm of the past — From Cog Stones to Current Day Jewel
2009-10-09 · By Editor
By Marcia Lee Harris
My favorite neighborhood is actually the earliest Native American neighborhood here dating back to 2-5000 BC where the Tongva came next (500-1769). After that the property showcased the Spanish-Mexican culture, followed by the “Hide and Tallow” times of Don Temple with his Vaqueros and the construction of the Monterey-style adobe Rancho in 1844. It really is a charm from the past where the father of Long Beach, Jotham Bixby raised sheep and his family. (1866-1881)(also a daughter who became the first policewoman in the country). I am talking about Rancho Los Cerritos a hidden treasure in Long Beach.
As one travels down the Virginia Road past the Country Club into the present day Rancho you can discover this gem. It is a neighborhood bringing in guest s from all neighborhoods sharing our history and the wonderful garden where a Morton Bay Fig Tree planted in the 1880’s branches out. Its roots are our roots of Long Beach. Standing on the Veranda you can see a thorn –free rose bush, an Osage Orange Tree dropping a strange fruit and the Cypress trees planted in 1840’s.
I enjoy watching the squirrels scamper about and the butterflies fluttering over the herb garden, Wisteria and around the huge cactus. I love the sounds, smells and the sights of this sanctuary where nature and history flourish.
As the big brown gates open and you visit the restored adobe home you may see volunteers dressed in 1878 apparel giving school tours, or you may enjoy a concert, read a book from the California history collections, hear a lecture, participate in family programs like “Mud Mania “, Victorian Days or Candlelight Tours, enjoy foods and cultural events, shop at the unique gift shop. (You can purchase jams made from the fruits growing in the orchards, enjoy rock candy or buy games from the past as well as one of a kind items) , interact with living history characters, see Fanny Bixby and her Model T, use artifacts, view exhibits, participate in craft workshops and/or just sit in the gazebo and think, sketch, reflect and /or relax. There is so much to see and do. To me, it is a safe, peaceful place for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Rancho is filled with stories and items from different time periods. It is a place to foster friendships and smiles.
The dictionary defines “neighborhood” as a distinctive area with characteristics that distinguish it from the areas around it. Rancho Los Cerritos fits this definition.
To me, a neighborhood is a place where people work and play and that reflects the ”jewel“ of Long Beach our national ,state and city historic landmark – Rancho Los Cerritos (Here before the neighborhoods were sub divided.)