In commemoration of Rancho Los Cerritos’ 175th Anniversary year throughout 2019, the blog will be featuring a series of stories as submitted by our followers and fans – “back in the day,” historic, nostalgic, and other tales – highlighting fun facts, personal perspectives, and other viewpoints from staff, volunteers, and visitors alike. Enjoy!
Jim Armfield was born in Long Beach and lived in North Long Beach during the 1960s and 1970s and regularly visited Rancho Los Cerritos every couple of months. He has always loved the history and the atmosphere of RLC. Jim wrote to us reflecting on one specific memory he has retained from his more than 50+ years of visits:
“During my junior year (as a history major in the 1970s) at Cal State Dominguez Hills, I had a Black History class in which the teacher expected something special for our year-end term paper or project. I had an idea about the California Gold Rush and the fact that even though slavery had been outlawed by 1848 in California, slaves were being used extensively in the mines. Knowing that the Rancho had an excellent library, I spent many hours there researching my topic. Needless to say, I got an A in the class. My teacher was so impressed with my paper that he let me know that I could use him as a reference whenever I wanted. I could not have done this project without the Rancho. I still have great memories of the Rancho and try to visit every couple of years when I get down to Long Beach.”
Photos of pages from that term paper are shared here, as are books that Jim used for research – yes, the books Jim used in his research are still on RLC’s library shelves today!
As for the language Jim uses in his paper, he comments, “(While it is) not politically correct today using the word “Negro”, my professor of the class (Black History) told me use the proper term based on the era in California (he was also black and I was one of two whites in the class).”
Jim double majored in History and American Studies while at Cal State Dominguez Hills and wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, he recounts that there was no demand for teachers when he graduated. He instead went on to a 30-year career in banking management and a second career in the wine industry. However, his history and schooling has helped him over the years in researching his own family tree and helping others with theirs. Jim also to this day still loves visiting old historical sites and helping people find the burial sites of their ancestors.
Jim currently resides in Reno, Nevada, but maintains a home here in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach, which he returns to once-monthly for about a week at a time. He just finished completely restoring and remodeling a 1920’s craftsman (more California history right there!).
Thanks to Jim for sharing his RLC story in honor of our 175th Anniversary! Do you have a story to share? Please reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org