The former Los Alamitos Volunteer Fire Station now houses the Los Alamitos Museum. The Museum was dedicated on October 25, 1975, and the exhibits first opened on April 26, 1976. The Museum is open to the public from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
History of Los Alamitos
The history of the city dates back to 1542, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered the Southern California coast while sailing under the Spanish flag. The Puvu Indians lived on the land.
It wasn’t until the 1700s, when Russia and the United Kingdom were interested in the California region, that Spain took moves to occupy it. The aim was for soldiers to construct Presidios (forts) and militarily control the area, while Roman Catholic priests would construct missions and convert adjacent Native Americans to Christianity. Father Junipero Serra planted the first of his string of missions at San Diego in 1769.
In 1784, a soldier named Manuel Perez Nieto received a substantial land grant, part of which was Rancho Los Alamitos, called after the plentiful cottonwoods. During the Gold Rush, horse and cattle breeding was especially beneficial for the land’s successive owners.
In 1878, John Bixby purchased the run-down Rancho and Nieto house. He developed enormous farming and ranching operations by amazing business intelligence and energy, which, when reinforced by the discovery of oil in 1920 and later real estate transactions, has sustained his heirs to this day.
The sugar beet boom of 1896 to 1925 was possibly the greatest immediate incentive for the development of Los Alamitos. The Los Alamitos Sugar Company was founded by former Montana Senator William Clark. The plant and warehouses were constructed on Sausalito Avenue, the employees’ cottages on Serpentine Drive, and the factory Club House on Los Alamitos Boulevard subsequently.
This “Company Town” drew people from all countries and backgrounds to work in the plant. Many migrants started small enterprises and built churches, schools, local government offices, and social service organizations. Following the factory’s closure in 1924 due to soil nematode infection, railroad troubles, and old equipment, the formerly busy “city” reverted to a little village surrounded by small farms.
The relocation of the US Naval Air Station from Long Beach to Los Alamitos in 1943 boosted population expansion. The growth of housing tracts and the area’s ongoing economic attractiveness resulted in a city with modern life style mixed with relics of historic businesses, families, and memories.
The Los Alamitos Museum is housed in what was formerly the Los Alamitos volunteer fire station. In the late 1940s, the volunteer firemen began raising funds to acquire the station’s site. The County of Orange then constructed the fire station, which is composed of adobe bricks. The County used the same design for the other stations in the area. This station was entirely volunteer until the Los Alamitos Fire Station was relocated on Green Street.
Next Point of Interest: Grizzly River Run