November 15, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Long Beach's Los Cerritos (Images of America)

Long Beach's Los Cerritos (Images of America)

Geraldine Knatz

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: B01K3G2E04

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Evolving from a 27,000-acre rancho, to a colony of farmers, and then to a neighborhood subdivision, Long Beachs Los Cerritos is the story of a fiercely independent community established prior to William Willmores vision of a city of Long Beach took hold. Life centered around the historic Rancho Los Cerritos throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries as John Temples cattle ranching was replaced by Jotham Bixbys sheep ranching and tenant farming operations. Jotham Bixby sold off land for small farms to create the Cerritos Colony, and further subdivided land to create the Los Cerritos neighborhood. Invaded by oil drilling rigs after the discovery of oil in nearby Signal Hill, fires and noise caused the residents to flee. Los Cerritos declined but rebounded in the 1930s, aided by the presence of the Virginia County Club, stately homes designed by world-renowned architects, and the restoration of the historic rancho adobe by the Bixby family.


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and the main road leading from Los Angeles to San Diego, and between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel Rivers. When Nieto died, his land was divided into six parcels. Nieto’s daughter Manuela Nieto de Cota received 27,000 acres, which became known as the Rancho Los Cerritos. The Cotas built the first adobe structures on the land, known as the Cerritos. No evidence of this adobe currently exists. In 1843, the land was sold to John Temple, a transplanted Easterner who had business operations in Los

J. Bixby and Company. Living at the rancho for 15 years, Bixby raised his family along with 30,000 head of sheep. As the sheep operation scaled down, Bixby focused his attention on subdividing his property. Much of the land of the Rancho Los Cerritos was divided into small farms or sold. Some farms were leased to tenants and used to grow grains or operate dairies under the direct supervision of Jotham or his son George H. Bixby. In 1890, George Bixby built a large home that became the center of

Angeles River. Adults and children often spent time along the banks of the Los Angeles River. In this photograph are, from left to right, Oliver Sweningsen, Edwine Vignes Sweningsen, Amelia Vignes, Marie Vignes Sans Souci, and Fred Sans Souci. (Courtesy of Ellen Collins.) Los Cerritos Market. Residents were fortunate to have a grocery store in the neighborhood, located at 3912 American Avenue (now Virginia Road), later 3923 Long Beach Boulevard. The early proprietors were brothers Walter C. and

Studios’ back lot. From the beginning, the neighborhood attracted prominent physicians, attorneys, and businessmen, many of who purchased lots close to the Virginia Country Club. Homes designed by noted architects such as Paul Revere Williams, Kirtland Cutter, Edward Killingsworth, James R. Friend, Hugh Gibbs, Kenneth Wing, and Charles and Henry Greene can be found in Los Cerritos. Prevalent styles are Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Monterey, and Tudor Revival. A gated community of homes known as

pallbearer for the funeral of Francisca Ferrer de Watson in May 1903. After several years, the family moved to the Dominguez property before becoming one of the first homeowners in the Los Cerritos subdivision in 1910. Their home was the center of social activity in the early days of the Los Cerritos neighborhood. Because the Vignes family believed its five daughters should be educated, they were instrumental in the establishment of schools where they lived, first as part of the Cerritos School

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