A new historic center in Long Beach
We’re fans of Westerns, from classic films like High Noon to TV series such as Hell on Wheels, and we delight in finding real-life echoes of these dramas in our own backyard.
Such bygone days came to life for us at Rancho Los Alamitos, a seven-and-a-half-acre site that’s had a notable history since 500 A.D. This birthplace of the Tongva peoples went through periods as a Spanish land grant, a Mexican rancho, a 19th-century ranch and an oil-drilling locale. Today it’s part of Long Beach, and it’s a fascinating day-trip destination, thanks to a new barn-style audio-visual visitor center.
Highlights include a 16-minute video with words from native peoples and a diorama of diary entries detailing school days and farm labor from the period beginning in the 1800s, when the ranch belonged to the Bixby family. We’re also excited about the regular educational events--say, a September 22 daylong symposium on native plants or a September 29 workshop on canning.
This said, you need not devote an entire day: It can take as little as an hour to see everything from the 19-hand, 1,900-pound draft horses to the main house’s Monet, Cassatt and Vuillard paintings.
Who knew we could step back centuries just a few miles from the beach?
Free and open Wednesday through Sunday afternoons, Rancho Los Alamitos, 6400 Bixby Hill Rd., Long Beach; 562-431-3541 or rancholosalamitos.com