Toward the late 1870s when the sheep industry in Southern California was on the decline, Jotham Bixby chose to lease or sell portions of the property. By 1884 the town of Long Beach occupied the southwest corner of the Rancho. Eventually Bellflower, Paramount, Signal Hill and Lakewood were founded as well on Los Cerritos lands. Dairy farms thrived and beans, barley and alfalfa were planted. From 1890 to 1927, the Cerritos adobe housed a succession of tenants and fell into disrepair through general neglect.
The Virginia Country Club was built next door and homes had cropped up in the area when, in 1930, Lewellyn Bixby’s son Llewellyn, Sr. chose to remodel Rancho Los Cerritos for his family. Although the renovation was extensive, the original configuration of Temple’s adobe remained intact. Ralph Cornell redesigned the grounds for the family, incorporating the trees that survived from the Temple era. After Llewellyn, Sr.’s death, the family eventually sold the house and 4.7 acres of land to the City of Long Beach. In 1955 the site opened as a public museum dedicated to the history of the Rancho and the surrounding area.