Long Beach : Rancho Gets Status as State Historic Landmark

Rancho Los Cerritos, the century-old ranch house that once was headquarters of a 27,000-acre cattle spread, will be dedicated as Long Beach's first state historic landmark. The site has similar status from the national and city levels.

A plaque commemorating the new designation will be unveiled during a celebration at 2 p.m. April 30, organizers said. Volunteers in period costumes will conduct tours of the grounds, 4600 Virginia Road, adjoining the Virginia Country Club. The Union Brass Band, a Civil War re-enactment group, will entertain. Guest speakers are scheduled to include A. Maxson Smith, the eldest son of Sarah Bixby Smith who wrote a book about her experiences spending summers at the ranch.

Established by Yankee merchant John Temple, the rancho was purchased in the 1860s by Flint, Bixby and Co. and converted to sheep ranching. Much of Long Beach was built on subdivisions of the old ranch. The ranch house was built in 1844 and decorated to reflect the Victorian life style of the Bixbys.

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