It took 30 years, but this center of living history finally got a makeover and is ready to re-open to the public.
Nestled in a residential corner of Long Beach sits Rancho Los Alamitos. The ranch is one of the many integral pieces in Southern California’s cultural, social and economic history. It has earned two listings on the National Register of Historic Places as the origin of the Tongva community and for its adobe core ranch house.
After a complete renovation–a process known as the Master Plan that actually began nearly three decades ago–the City of Long Beach proudly announces the grand opening celebration on Sunday, June 10. The event will feature members of the civic community, Long Beach Polytechnic High School Aurora Quartet and Rancho Riders as they pronounce Rancho Los Alamitos as a “Place for All Time”.
Pamela Seager, Executive & Project Director, Claudia Jurmain, Director of Special Projects & Publications, and William S. Wells, Exhibition Designer, were integral in the new design of the Rancho Center and barns. A redesigned horse barn from 1948 serves as the center of the ranch with its exhibition and screening rooms, colorful wall and floor maps of the ranch and surrounding areas, mural illustrations of plants in the ranch gardens by Dugald Stermer and a photography wall depicting a full-scale story of the ranch from past to the present. Outside, visitors can travel through the gardens and view the restored Stallion Barn, Feed Shed, Dairy Barn and Sheepherders Wagon.
The ranch will have its own collection of horses, goats and chickens living in the barns. There will also be a working Blacksmith’s Shop run by Steve Christensen whose work exists in many of the hinges and metal pieces on the ranch, including the weather vane sitting atop the Rancho Center.
The ranch is a clear collaboration of restoration and modern day aesthetics, as well as technology. It is the first historic landmark on the West coast outfitted with geo-thermal heating and air conditioning systems. All of the piping lives underground, which assists in the maintenance of moderate temperatures. This, in turns, reduces the amount of electicity necessary to heat and cool the Rancho Center and Bookshop.
The June 10th festivities begin at 10:00 am with commemorative speeches and performances, including the Tongva Coming Home Song by Craig Torres…and a dove release. The doors to the newly renovated Rancho Center will open at 11:00 am. Throughout the day, tours, storytelling, crafts, demonstrations and food that will last until 5:00 pm. The event is free to the public.