courtesy of the Rancho Los Alamitos archives.
As I remember this area, in the 1930’s the only paved roads were Bixby Avenue (where Rossmoor Center meets Los Alamitos Blvd.), Bryant Avenue (now Orangewood — and Constitution on the base), and Katella… all oiled roads. All the farm roads were dirt. Bixby and Bryant Avenue were from Los Alamitos Blvd east to Hansen, now Knott Avenue . They were maintained by the county until the Los Alamitos Air Base was built, then both streets were closed through the base and owner maintained east of the base.
When Bryant Ranch started selling in the 1950s and the property line was the middle of Bixby Avenue, Mr. Bixby put a four-strand barb wire fence down the center of the road, leaving a narrow, not well maintained road.
In the mid to late 1930’s Lakewood Blvd and the traffic circle were built, also Somerset (now Bellflower Blvd.) was extended from Spring Street south to Hathaway (now Pacific Coast Highway).
All four large ranches, Bixby, Bryant, Bixby land Co., and Hellman all rented to share crop tenants. Many were Belgian immigrants. Crop rent was ¼ to the landlord (a quarter of the crop or a quarter of the cash from the sale of the crop) and ¾ to the farmer. The farmer had all expenses except well repairs and building maintenance. The vegetable farmers paid cash rent.
All share crop farmers grew similar crops — sugar beets, alfalfa, oats, barley, corn, lima beans and blackete beans. I’ll ID Belgian farmers with Bel. and ID farmers with numbers on each ranch as I remember them.
FRED H. BIXBY RANCH
- Bel – George Goeman
- Japanese, and later Filipino vegetable farmers
- Pete Valenzuelo
- Alfred Stinson started in the 1940s. Valenzuela here earlier.
- Ivo Cosyns, 1910 to 1927
- Bel – Otte family – Oscar Watte and his family farmed from the river east to Los Alamitos Blvd. until the Rossmoor subdivision was built (1957).
- Early 1900’s. Mt. Bixby planted Eucalyptus trees to be cut and used for heating wood in all his homes (including his tenant homes).
- Petrus Vlasschaert, 1899-1904; Frank VClasschaert, 1904-1911; Leonard Vlasschaert, 1911-1916 or ’17; Jules DePauw and sons. Albert & George Watte after DePauw.
- Rene Cannou, later Albert Cannou,Bel.
- Laurence Lerno, later Albert Lerno, Bel.
- Ivo Cosyns, later Chareles & Albert Cosyns. Bel. Chas. Cosyns was the last tenant, all farming ended in 1962 or 1963.
BRYANT RANCH TENANTS
- Benoit Rottiersm Bel.
- Constant debbaut, later Victor Debbaut. Bel.
- Leon Vlasschaert. Bel.
- Joe Mello, dairy, later Charles Harris, farmer – about 1934
- Octave Otte, later Ommer Otte, Bel.
- Bryant Feed lot. (Also called the Steele Ranch for the employee who ran the lot.)
- Martin Goeman, later Frank Watte. Bel.
- C. C. DeConnick, later Scott bros. Bel.
- Bryant dairy. Pete DeGroot.
- Bryant Orange grove.
- Kelly, later Albert Watte. Note: This was the Bryany strip south of Seventh S, as I remember.
BIXBY LAND CO. TENANTS
- Aba Aguilar
- Ivo Cosyns, 1927-1941, Bel.
- Alphonse Verhaegen, Bel.
- Bootsma and Azevedo dairies
- F. Herreweghe daity. Bel.
- Camile Cauwell and Rene Baeyens, later DeCraemer., Bel.
- Louis Goeman
- B. Roa – A. Troch and Camil Wuytens. Bel.
- C. Manchaert, Bel. and G. Roa
- B. Sutton and Bakeman, Bel.
- Bixby Land Co. daity and farm office (McOmie’s office)
HELLMAN RANCH TENANTS
- Hellman Ranch Headquarters
- Gustaaf Vandevelde, Bel.
- Japanese vegetable farmers
- C. Mancahert. Bel.
- Rene Quattacker. Bel.
- Frank LaCerno. Mex.
- Cornelius Coopman. Bel.
- August Cairneau. Bel.
- EmilGoossens. Bel.
- Germain Quatacker. Bel.
- Rene Baeyens, later Gaubert and Sons. Bel.
- Gustaaf DePetter and J. DeSadeleer.