Rancho Los Alamitos

Posted on | November 12, 2012 | No Comments

As you may know already, one of the challenges we face periodically here at B&B is the reproduction of old original document papers for clients.  And although we’ve offered this service for well over 30 years, it’s still a challenge we enjoy taking on.  One such project was our recent reproduction of a 1933 bedroom paper for the Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach, Ca.

Our contact for the project, Pam Young Lee (Curator of Collections at the Rancho) sent us a little history of this unique site and the room in which the paper was installed.

Rancho Los Alamitos is an historic site in Long Beach, California.  The site’s history stretches back to the indigenous people who first inhabited the area, as well as the Spanish and Mexican colonizers of California, on up to the American settlement of the area.  From Spanish times onward, the site was a cattle ranch.  A modest adobe ranch house was built around 1800.  Succeeding ranchers modified and added to the adobe core over time.  In 1968, the last ranching family donated 7 ½ acres of Rancho Los Alamitos, including the ranch house, barns, and gardens to the City of Long Beach and the site opened to the public in 1970.  The award-winning historic site has been maintained and operated by the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation since 1986. 

Several years ago, the staff and board of directors made the decision to restore one of the bedrooms in the ranch house – an area that had suffered water damage and was “out of step” with the rest of the restored interiors.  The area under restoration included the adobe-walled bedroom, as well as a wood-frame alcove or sunroom on the south side of the bedroom, added in about 1909.  The restoration called for the bedroom to be restored to an appearance and period consistent with the rest of the ranch house interiors using photographs, historical records, oral histories, and scientific examination of materials.

Using samples of wallpaper “excavated” from the bedroom, as well as an artist’s tracing and color rendering, and input from the experts at B&B, the historic paper from c. 1933 was recreated.  We know the paper is from about 1933, because Long Beach experienced a devastating earthquake that year.  While the 130-year-old ranch house only suffered light damage, the owner at the time took the precaution of coating the interior adobe walls with three inches of Gunite.  The wallpaper chosen to be reproduced was the first layer on top of the Gunite.  The Foundation began serious fund-raising and grant-writing for the bedroom restoration project in 2009.  With funds from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association, the Evelyn M. Bauer Foundation, the Rotary Club of Lakewood, the RLA Foundation, and in-kind donations from America West Termite, the floor to ceiling restoration of the Bixby girls’ bedroom began in the spring of 2012.  B&B reproduced the wallpaper and shipped it to Rancho Los Alamitos in late summer 2012.  It’s been hung.  It looks just like the historic photograph.

THEN and …

NOW

The Foundation’s contractors and staff are putting finishing touches to the bedroom now.”

You can go to the Rancho’s website for tour schedules and admission, www.rancholosalamitos.org

We would like to thank the staff at the Rancho for the opportunity to work with them in restoring the room to it’s 1933 appearance.

 

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