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Ventura County, California

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Location: Ventura County, Californiamap
Surnames/tags: Ventura_county_california California
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Early History of Ventura County, California

This profile is part of the Ventura County, California One Place Study.


Ventura County comprises the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is also considered the southernmost county along the California Central Coast. Two of the California Channel Islands are part of the county: Anacapa Island, which is the most visited island in Channel Islands National Park, and San Nicolas Island. [1]

Cities & Towns

  • Camarillo

Camarillo is named for Adolfo and Juan Camarillo, two of the few Californios (pre-1848 California natives of Hispanic ancestry) to preserve the city's heritage after the arrival of Anglo settlers. The railroad coast route came through in 1898 and built a station here. Adolfo Camarillo eventually employed 700 workers growing mainly lima beans. Walnuts and citrus were also grown on the ranch. Adolfo bred Camarillo White Horses in the 1920s through the 1960s and was well known for riding them, dressed in colorful Spanish attire, in parades such as the Fiesta of Santa Barbara.

The city grew slowly prior to World War II but the war effort saw the construction of the Oxnard Army Air Field (later Oxnard Air Force Base in 1951, now Camarillo Airport) to the west of town. The community also grew as the new base along with nearby Naval Air Station Point Mugu and a Seabee base at Port Hueneme brought many workers and their families to the area. The grounds of Camarillo State Hospital, which opened in 1936 south of town, are now the campus of California State University, Channel Islands. [2]

  • Fillmore

Fillmore is a small city in Ventura County, California, United States, in the Santa Clara River Valley. In an agricultural area with rich, fertile soil, Fillmore has a historic downtown that was established when the Southern Pacific built the railroad through the valley in 1887. The rail line also provided a name for the town: J. A. Fillmore was a general superintendent for the company's Pacific system. In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition, the first Europeans to see inland areas of California, came down the valley from the previous night's encampment near today's Rancho Camulos and camped in the vicinity of Fillmore on August 11. Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary traveling with the expedition, had previously named the valley Cañada de Santa Clara. He noted that the party traveled about 9–10 miles and camped near a large native village. Founded in 1887 upon the arrival of the Southern Pacific Rail line, the city voted to incorporate in 1914, after a vigorous campaign by local business owners and the Fillmore Herald. [3]

  • Moorpark

The area was later part of the large Rancho Simi land grant given in 1795 to the Pico brothers by Governor Diego de Borica of Alta California. Robert W. Poindexter, the secretary of the Simi Land and Water Company, received the land when the association was disbanded. A map showing the townsite was prepared in November 1900. It was a resubdivision of the large lot subdivision known as Fremont or Fremontville. An application for a post office was submitted on June 1, 1900, and approved by August of that year. The application noted that the town had a railroad depot. The town grew after the 1904 completion of a 7,369-foot tunnel through the Santa Susana Mountains. Moorpark was then on the main route of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Coast Line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The depot remained in operation until it was closed in 1958. It was eventually torn down.[4]

  • Newbury Park

Timberville was a 19th-century name for Newbury Park. Newbury Park is named after Egbert Starr Newbury, the founder of Newbury Park, as well as the first postmaster in the Conejo Valley in 1875. Egbert Starr Newbury called his ranch Newbury Park, which became the name for the entire town. Egbert Starr Newbury and his family-owned thousands of acres in the Conejo Valley, but only lived in Newbury Park for a total of six years. He moved from Michigan to Southern California for health reasons in 1871, opened the Conejo Valley's first post office in 1875. He left California two years later. The Newbury Park Post Office has changed locations numerous times but the Newbury Park name has survived and is still used even though much of the area was incorporated into the city of Thousand Oaks. In the late 19th century, Newbury Park was on the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Stagecoach Inn (Grand Union Hotel) was built in 1876 and is now a California Historical Landmark and museum. [5]

  • Oak Park

The location of Oak Park was originally part of Rancho Simi, a Spanish land concession in Alta California given in 1795 to Francisco Javier Pico, a soldier of the Santa Barbara company, and his two brothers, Patricio Pico and Miguel Pico by the Spanish government. Lindero Canyon Road follows the western border-line (lindero in Spanish) of the land grant. Throughout the 20th century, studios used the area to film movies and in particular westerns. Movies filmed locally include The Red Pony and A Walk in the Sun.

Oak Park was formed from ranchland owned by Jim and Marian Jordan, stars of the radio show Fibber McGee and Molly. The land was purchased by Metropolitan Development Corporation in the 1960s. Homes were developed starting in the late 1960s. Kanan-Dume Road (named after a local family) was the only access road to the community, from Agoura Hills, California, in neighboring Los Angeles County. As such, the community was served by police and firefighters based in the nearest Ventura County city, Thousand Oaks, 10 miles away.

  • Oak View
  • Ojai
  • Oxnard

is a city in Ventura County, California, United States. On California's South Coast. Incorporated in 1903, Oxnard lies approximately 60 miles west of downtown Los Angeles and is part of the larger Greater Los Angeles area. The first European to encounter the area was explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho, who claimed it for Spain in 1542. During the mission period, Mission San Buenaventura, established in 1782, used the area for raising cattle. Henry T Oxnard, founder of Moorhead, Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar Company who operated a successful sugar beet factory with his three brothers (Benjamin, James, and Robert) in Chino, California, Given the potential growth of the town of Oxnard, in the spring of 1898, a railroad station was built to service the plant, which attracted a population of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican laborers and enough commerce to merit the designation of a town. The Oxnard brothers, who never lived in their namesake city, sold both the Chino and the giant red-brick Oxnard factory in 1899 for nearly $4 million.

  • Piru
  • Port Hueneme
  • Santa Paula
  • Simi Valley
  • Somis

Somis is an unincorporated community in Ventura County, California. It was established in 1892 by Thomas Bard and D.T. Perkins on a portion of the Rancho Las Posas Mexican land grant. Somis is in the Las Posas Valley. The name of this townsite may have been derived from “water of the scrub oak,” a Chumash placename referring to the presence of water. There was a Ranchería named Somes noted in records from 1795 and 1796. [6]

  • Thousand Oaks

One of the earliest names used for the area was Conejo Mountain Valley, as used by the founder of Newbury Park, Egbert Starr Newbury, in the 1870s. During the 1920s, Thousand Oaks was home to 100 residents. A local name contest was held, where 14-year-old Bobby Harrington's name suggestion won: Thousand Oaks. The valley is characterized by its tens of thousands of oak trees. From 1804 to 1848, Thousand Oaks was part of Alta California, It was the Spaniards who first named it Conejo Valley or Valley of Rabbits. Conejo Valley was given the name El Rancho Conejo in 1803. This year, Jose Polanco and Ignacio Rodriguez were granted El Rancho Conejo by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga of Alta California. The land contained 48,671.56 acres. El Conejo was just one of two land grants in what became Ventura County, the other being Rancho Simi. As a result of the Mexican War of Independence in 1822, Alta California became a Mexican territory. In 1822, Captain José de la Guerra y Noriega filed Conejo Valley as part of the Mexican land grant. It remained a part of Mexico until the short-lived California Republic was established in 1846. It became a part of the U.S. after California gained statehood in 1850. The valley was now known as Rancho El Conejo. The ranch period began when the de la Guerra family sold thousands of acres through the 1860s and early 1870s. Two men owned most of Conejo Valley in the 1870s: John Edwards, who came from Wales in 1849, and Howard Mills, who came from Minnesota in 1870. While Edwards owned most of present-day Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, Mills owned most of Westlake Village and Hidden Valley. Edwards' home was located on an acre of land where The Oaks Mall currently is located, while Mills built his home where Westlake Lake sits today. The third person to buy former Rancho El Conejo land was Egbert Starr Newbury. He bought 2,259 acres of land here in 1874, land which stretched from Old Town Thousand Oaks and into today's Newbury Park. He later established the valley's first post office in 1875: Newbury Park Post Office. When the Conejo Valley School District was established in March 1877, there were 126 residents living in Conejo Valley. [7]

  • Ventura
  • Westlake Village

Historical Attractions

Online Resources

Cemetery Records

Find A Grave - Ventura County [8]

Census Records

  • 1790 United States Census [9]
  • 1800 United States Census [10]
  • 1810 United States Census [11]
  • 1820 United States Census [12]
  • 1830 United States Census [13]
  • 1840 United States Census [14]
  • 1850 United States Census [15]
  • 1860 United States Census [16]
  • 1870 United States Census [17]
  • 1880 United States Census [18]
  • 1900 United States Census [19]
  • 1910 United States Census [20]
  • 1920 United States Census [21]
  • 1930 United States Census [22]
  • 1940 United States Census [23]

Land Records

Newspapers

Libraries





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