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Archives and Collections
Rancho Los Cerritos is an historic home and gardens located in Long Beach, California. While the history of the land dates back many centuries, the house itself was built to be the headquarters of a 27,000 acre cattle ranch in 1844 by Los Angeles resident John Temple. The ranch evolved during the 175 years since its construction, its ownership and land use changing several times before becoming a city-owned museum in 1955. Currently, Rancho Los Cerritos is a National, State, and Local Historic Landmark.
The mission of Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is to restore and preserve the ranch house structure and grounds; collect appropriate resources; and interpret the relationship of the Rancho’s diverse peoples, from the period before Spanish settlement when Native Americans controlled the land, through the development of the Long Beach area, to the present day.
The adobe ranch house, built in 1844, is the most important “artifact” at Rancho Los Cerritos, and the museum collections are aimed toward researching and sharing information about the house. For this reason, our collections include objects and archival materials that are directly associated with the Rancho and its owners, occupants and workers from prehistoric times through 1955.
The Archives contain original documents, maps, blueprints, photographs, and sound and image recordings directly associated with the Rancho and its owners, occupants and workers. Highlights include the Sarah Bixby Smith Manuscript Collection, Llewellyn Bixby, Jr. Manuscript collection, a series of 1872 stereograph cards of Rancho Los Cerritos by William Godfrey of Los Angeles, photographs of the site from 1872 through the 1940s, and architectural blueprints of the adobe during the 1930 remodel. The museum’s collections include more than 1,000 items of clothing and textiles from the 1830s-1930s. There are also over 1,100 historic photographs of the rancho and its occupants, as well as various maps, letters, deeds and other documents relating to the site. The collections also include archaeological artifacts discovered onsite.