> RANCHO CAMULOS - DEL VALLE PERIOD
Camulos Postmark
Rancho Camulos

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Nothing against Angels Flight (misspelled Angeles Flight; see below), but this time it's the back of the postcard that is of primary interest from an SCV history standpoint. It bears the rare Camulos postmark, dated June 9, 1908.

"Ramona" tourism was a phenomenon in the late 1800s and early 1900s when the Del Valle family owned Rancho Camulos, whereupon author Helen Hunt Jackson based some of the settings for her influential 1884 novel, "Ramona." The Southern Pacific Railroad set up a covered platform at Camulos to drop off tourists who wanted to see the "real Ramona's" home. (Far be it for the railroad to disabuse people of the notion that Ramona was a real person.)

Just who the postmaster was, and where the post office was located, will require some further research. It's unlikely the post office was located inside the depot, inasmuch as it predated the depot (which wasn't staffed, to our knowledge). The Southern Pacific's spur line from Saugus to Ventura, with a stop at Camulos, first ran in February 1887. According to Frickstad 1955 (pg. 218), the Camulos post office was established October 19, 1885 — not long after the initial publication of Jackson's book.

Per Frickstad (ibid.), the post office was officially named "Camulas" until the following June 1 when it was corrected to "Camulos." It remained in operation until April 15, 1914, when the mail service was consolidated and switched over to Piru.

If postmaster compensation is an indicator, the Camulos post office wasn't very busy (see Patera 1994, pp. 118-119). Compensation was based on volume. Per Patera (pg. 3), "In the smaller offices, the postmaster was entitled to 100% of the postal revenues. When revenues exceeded $1,000 per year, postmasters were placed into salary categories that increased or decreased in proportion to the revenue of the post office."

Using 1901 as a fairly representative sample, the postmaster at Camulos was paid just $64.07 that year, versus $532.32 at Fillmore, $698.78 at Piru, $192.25 at Surrey (Saugus) and $514.94 at Newhall. With the postcard rate set at 1 cent and letters and packages at 2 cents in 1901, one has a rough idea of the amount of mail handled, since the postmaster's pay equaled all of the money he or she took in from postal customers. (Some early postmasters were women.)

Our postcard is sent from "Bill S." to his friend Mace R. Nelson of 9915 Buckeye Road, Cleveland, Ohio.



Click image to enlarge | Download archival scan


LW3439: 9600 dpi jpeg from original postcard purchased by Leon Worden.
RANCHO CAMULOS
DEL VALLE ERA

SEE ALSO:
• Del Valle Family
• Camulos Postcards
• Winery


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Livestock Ledger 1853

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Del Valle Buggy

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Del Valle Buggy x26

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Picnic of 1886

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Lummis Photos 1888

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Camulos Depot ~1906

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Postmark 1908

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County to Pave Highway 1916

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Revisit After 35 Years 1920

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Sign from Camulos Depot

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Rail Ticket ~1920

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