Ventura; a short history


For at least ten thousand years the Chumash people live peacefully on the California coast between Santa Barbara and Malibu, including the Islands of Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel.

1542–The Chumash get a friendly visit from Juan Cabrillo who claims the land in the name of Spain.

1602–Another Spanish ship visits the new territory, this time navigated by Sebastian Vizcaino. He is impressed by the Indians fine plank canoes.

1769–The next visit comes 167 years later. This one a land expedition led by Gaspar de Portola, who was also named Governor of the region.

1782–Mission San Buenaventura is founded.

1795–Rancho days begin when elite Spanish soldiers are granted enormous areas of land for their service to Spain.

1822–California becomes Mexican territory after Mexico’s successful revolt against Spain.

1834–Richard Henry Dana departs Boston as a common seaman en route for the California coast to gather hides for leather goods. He later writes of the experience in his book Two Years Before the Mast.

1848–California is ceded to the United States from Mexico.

1850–California becomes the 31st State admitted to the Union.

1866–The town of San Buenaventura is incorporated. Rancho days fade.

1868–Coast Stage Line is established.

1872–The Ventura Pier is constructed.

1873–Ventura County is formed.

1887–The Southern Pacific Railroad arrives.

1945–Marine Biologist, “Doc” in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row stops in Ventura on his way to La Jolla. He orders a beer milkshake.

1950’s–Surfers begin a regular trek up the Pacific Coast Highway to surf the winter waves at Rincon Point on the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line.

1960–The 101 freeway from Los Angeles to Ventura is completed. The sleepy agricultural town of Ventura with its rolling hills and citrus orchards nestled against the Pacific Ocean, is now easily accessible to the metropolis sixty miles to the southeast.

1961–The planned city of Thousand Oaks is developed halfway between Ventura and L.A. on the 101.

1963–Construction of the Ventura Marina begins. Seven jetties are installed between the Ventura Pier and the marina to divert sand from accumulating in the marina from the heavy north swells.

1964–Fifty acres of orchards are replaced by a shopping mall on the east-side of town, soon the old downtown at the west-end becomes derelict.

1970–North of the Pier a thousand foot long concrete promenade is constructed at the base of the Ventura Point. A twelve story Holiday Inn and two condominium complexes are developed along the promenade.

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