Bixby Road

So many Bixbys were involved in the early development of Long Beach that it’s hard to keep them apart, but Jotham Bixby (1831-1917) was certainly the big cheese – during his lifetime, locals called him “the Father of Long Beach”. The Bixbys were a Maine family with cousins in the Flint family. Ben Flint came out to Northern California in 1850 for the Gold Rush; his brother Thomas and cousins Llewellyn and Amasa Bixby joined him the following year. They mined a decent amount of gold, took it back east to cash it, then returned to set up a sheep ranch at San Juan Bautista and run a stagecoach line. In 1866, the cousins, now incorporated as Flint, Bixby & Co., bought Rancho Los Cerritos from John Temple, who would soon pass away. Jotham and his wife Margaret (1843-1927) moved down as caretakers, and with their wool profits they bought a half interest in the property in 1869. This land would eventually make up the northern half of Long Beach. Jotham and another cousin, John W. Bixby, then added Rancho Alamitos to their holdings in 1878. Jotham also picked up thousands of acres of Rancho Palos Verdes, later sold to Frank A. Vanderlip. As Long Beach grew, Jotham Bixby served as a bank president and subdivided much of his land: Bixby Road was named in 1907 on his Los Cerritos tract. He and Margaret had seven children.