Supervisor Knabe and Wife Julie to Receive Inaugural Rancho Los Alamitos Cottonwood Award

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Receive Inaugural Rancho Los Alamitos Cottonwood Award

Don and Julie Knabe

On May 31, Rancho Los Alamitos will honor Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and his wife Julie with the inaugural Cottonwood Award for their leadership and support of historic, cultural and environmental preservation. The Cottonwood Award references the meaning of the historic site’s name, Rancho Los Alamitos or “Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods,” as the cottonwood was once plentiful in the area due to natural springs. Today, these trees can be seen in the Native Garden, with the newest “little cottonwood” in the restored Barns Area.

Don and Julie Knabe will receive the award during a fundraiser luncheon at Rancho Los Alamitos, where guests will get a sneak peek tour of the new Rancho Center featuring the exhibition Rancho Los Alamitos: Ever Changing, Always the Same, and the restored historic Barns Area. Proceeds will support the Rancho’s commitment to keeping the site free and open to the public and providing ongoing educational programs.

“The Cottonwood Award is a symbolic way to recognize leaders such as Don and Julie Knabe who have made significant cultural contributions to the Southern California historic and contemporary landscape. For cottonwoods grow near water, an element essential to all life, and the Cottonwood Award recognizes the vital contributions made by these individuals in order to nurture our most important cultural and community resources for future generations, ” said Pamela Seager, RLA Executive Director.

The Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation, which operates the city-owned historic landmark, has instituted the Cottonwood Awards to recognize cultural and community leaders for their support of the Rancho and regional educational programs and cultural preservation efforts. Along with the 2012 Conversations in Place series, which brings together important thinkers for discussions about how experiences at the Rancho can travel through contemporary issues, the Cottonwood Awards are part of Rancho Los Alamitos’ commitment to supporting critical dialogue that illuminates the region’s rich history while championing the cultural present.

“Julie and I are very honored to receive the first Cottonwood Award from Rancho Los Alamitos,” said Supervisor Knabe. “We are proud to have supported the Foundation’s restoration of this amazing Los Angeles County landmark. The new Rancho Center and Barns Area restoration are a terrific example of the public and private sectors coming together to preserve an extraordinary site for future generations to enjoy.”

In addition to live music, tours, and entertainment, the Cottonwood Award Luncheon will feature a ranch-style menu developed with Los Angeles Times’ food editor Russ Parsons and based on previous owners Fred and Florence Bixby’s original ranch recipes from the early 20th century.

The Cottonwood Award luncheon comes just days before the Rancho’s June 10 public Grand Opening, which marks the completion of an ambitious long-term transformation that includes the new Rancho Center and bookstore/classroom buildings, and restored historic barns and gardens.

Located on Bixby Hill in the heart of urban Long Beach, the 7.5-acre Rancho Los Alamitos is twice listed in the National Register of Historic Places: once for its early incarnation as ancestral Povuu’ngna, the traditional birthplace of the native Tongva people of the Los Angeles Basin and, second, for the significant evolution of its historic landscape from the time of the Spanish/Mexican and early American eras through the working ranch of the early-to-mid-twentieth century—a larger regional cultural shift that the ranch so vividly exemplifies. Today, the ranch continues to be an authentic oasis of natural beauty and a place where people connect with the landscape and history of the region in emotional and visceral ways.

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