Ventura (CA) (Images of America)
Glenda J. Jackson
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Franciscan monk Fr. Junipero Serra, founder of the Spanish mission system in California, raised a cross on the beach on March 31, 1782, at a spot that became a general wayfarer's midpoint between Los Angeles and Point Conception. This was the dedication of Mission San Buenaventura. Bordered by rivers out of the foothills, this coastal area had originally been home to many Chumash Indian villages, dating back to 1000 A.D. The small mission outpost quickly flourished and eventually grew into a town complete with dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, saloons, churches, and various adventures and calamities. On March 10, 1866, the City of Good Fortune incorporated and received one of the first charters from the then 16-year-old, 31st state in the union. Today the city of Ventura bustles with more than 110,000 residents and is known as the Gateway to the Channel Islands.
built on Poli Street. (Courtesy author.) Hill School, built by W. D. Hobson at a cost $7,974, had four rooms near the current corner of Poli and Cedar Streets. Its opening day of March 8, 1873, was marked by a procession up the hill with banners and music. The cornerstone of the school contained a time capsule. A grand ball was held at Spears Saloon. The school was also known as “Ventura Public School,” the “Brick School,” and the “Poli Street School.” It was torn down in 1926. (Courtesy Eric
villages of thatched huts near the Ventura River. Hunters and gatherers, they were dependent on natural resources for their food and shelter. They traveled between the mainland and the Channel Islands in 25-foot-long tomols (plank canoes), first heading south along the shoreline to present-day Port Hueneme and then across the channel to the islands. Ventura’s growth was relatively slow in the beginning; it was hard to reach. The wharf was not built until 1872, and the railroad rolled into town in
save the house, but only time will tell. What a sad testament to the Fosters, who gave so much to Ventura and Ventura County. (Courtesy Robert “Flash” Wheeler.) Gathering research material can be quite exhausting and time-consuming. I have tried my very best to obtain accurate information. Hours spent reading microfilmed newspapers at the E. P. Foster Library and Ventura County Museum of History and Art have provided much of the color sprinkled throughout the book. I’ve talked to many longtime
Street and Ventura Avenue. The last of the “wooden shanties” on Figueroa Street were burned down in the 1920s by local government. (Courtesy Dena Mercer.) Candid snapshots of Chinatown are extremely rare. This 1899 view shows a woman holding a small box camera, apparently having just taken a photograph of two small Chinese children. It must have been frightening to the children, because they are crying their eyes out. Initially, the Chinese were welcomed because they were considered excellent
guaranteed first class. Telephone, Red 244. Main Street, Ventura, Cal.” (Courtesy Paul Wilvert.) These two images show Gandolfo’s Market, Ventura’s first commercial brick building, which still stands today at the corner of Main Street and Figueroa Plaza. The 1877 photograph below shows businesses to the left of Gandolfo’s that include the telegraph office that shared space with district attorney Joseph Hamer. The town marshal, M. M. Henderson, also had office space in one of the buildings.