Saturday, August 08, 2009

Ranch of the Little Hills

My love of adobes continues...

This time I went to Long Beach, CA to visit Rancho Los Cerritos (Ranch of the Little Hills) which is one of the few adobes in Southern California that has two-floors, a rarity among adobes. In this particular adobe the lower walls are three feet wide to withstand the weight of the second floor whose walls are only two feet wide.

This beautiful adobe was originally built in 1844 by John Temple and served as the headquarters for his successful cattle operation. There were as many as 15,000 cattle on the farm which also included a lucrative hide and tallow business.

After years of severe flooding and drought many of the cattle died, and in 1866 Temple sold the adobe to the Bixby family who turned Rancho Los Cerritos into a sheep ranch. During this time over 30,000 sheep were raised and sheared twice a year.

Sadly, the sheep industry entered years of decline and from 1881 to 1929 the ranch fell into disrepair.

In 1930 Lewellyn Bixby remodeled the ranch for his family with a new roof, expanded rooms, electricity and plumbing, but kept the original adobe intact. His family stayed until 1955 when the adobe was leased to the City of Long Beach and opened as a public museum.

Rancho Los Cerritos is now a National, State and Local Historic Landmark.

There are daily adobe and garden tours for all you adobe lovers. Check out its website by clicking here.

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