Long Beach City Guide
The area that would eventually become Long Beach has passed through many hands. The land was originally inhabited by the Tongva natives, until the land was claimed by Spain. In 1784, a Spanish soldier named Manuel Nieto received a grant of 300,000 acres as a reward for his military service. This land was divided into six parcels and the area known as Rancho Los Cerritos ("Ranch of the Little Hills") was eventually sold to Jonathan Temple, who created a prosperous cattle ranch. In 1866, Temple sold the land to the sheep-raising firm of Flint, Bixby & Co., who in turn sold it to William E. Willmore in 1880. Willmore had aspirations of creating a farming community named Willmore City, but his endeavor ultimately failed and he was bought out by a Los Angeles consortium called the Long Beach Land and Water Company. The name of the community was changed to Long Beach, and it was incorporated as a city in 1888.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world's largest shipping ports, and the oil fields have long played a part in the city's economic growth. However, Long Beach was always, first and foremost, a seaside resort. The Pike, a waterfront amusement park and arcade, drew tourists from 1902 through the 1960s. Long Beach became known as "Iowa by the sea," due to the large number of visitors arriving from the Midwest.