Climate, Resources and History.
As published in the Ventura Signal | July 12, 1879.
The Ventura Signal apologizes for filling its pages with a long and detailed article about the agricultural resources and products of Ventura County from another newspaper — the San Francisco Call — due to the "temporary absence" of the local paper's senior editor. The boosterish article was written for an East Coast audience and was predicted to "stimulate a large and healthy immigration upon our shores the coming fall, and the inauguration of a new and more prosperous era." After all, Ventura County was home to just 7,000 souls in 1879 and had room for half a million, according to the writer.
Here at SCVHistory.com, we've decided to accept the newspaper's apology.
While there is much information for Ventura County historians to digest, of particular interest to Santa Clarita Valley history are the descriptions of the nascent oil industry of the Santa Clara River Valley a few short years after the boom started in Pico Canyon west of Newhall; the means of reaching Ventura by land from the south, which involved transfering from the Southern Pacific Railroad to the Telegraph Stage at Newhall (it would be another decade before the tracks extended to the coast from Saugus); and the fact that Rancho Camulos, at the western edge of the old Rancho San Francisco (covering the western half of what we know as the Santa Clarita Valley), already was recognized as "one of the most beautiful places in all southern California" with "justly celebrated" wine and brandy — three years before author Helen Hunt Jackson visited the place and five years before her resulting novel would inspire a nation of "Ramona" seekers.
Editorial notes: We've corrected typesetting errors and modified obsolete punctuation; and where two forms of a term are given, we've selected one (e.g., "schoolhouse" for "school house"). Otherwise the text is unaltered. A copy of the original newsprint appears at bottom. The reader will note that despite the similarity of the name, the Ventura Signal had no relation to the Newhall Signal, which first appeared four decades later.
Ventura was organized by a special Act of the Legislature of 1871-2 and created out of the eastern half of Santa Barbara county. It is bounded on the north by Santa Barbara and Kern, east by Los Angeles county, and south and west by the Pacific Ocean, and includes the islands of San Nicholas and Anacapa. Area, 1,096,000 acres, 175,000 acres of which are arable and about 150,000 acres of grazing land. There are about 80,000 acres under cultivation. Assessed value of all property for 1878, $3,270,161. Average assessed value of all lands, $4.50 per acre. Resources, agricultural and mineral. Population of the county, $7,000 [sic].
Ventura county, although one of the youngest in the state, has, on account of its delightful climate, and the extent and fertility of its soil, risen rapidly to a fore most rank in commercial importance. It is yet in its infancy, and a grand future awaits the development of its marvelous resources. It is scarcely more than a dozen years since the beginning of the new civilization, the advent of the modem plough, the telegraph, the school-book, and seven years ago the first printing press. Over thousands upon thousands of acres of as good land as the crow flies over, the song of the steam corn sheller is heard in place of the howling of coyotes. Generous fields of wheat and barley bend their treasures before the scythe of improved headers and reapers, drawn by horses of good stock, and driven by thrifty hands, where but recently the vaquero, with whirling lasso, galloped his broncho gaily over untilled soil after bands of horses arid cattle, and the herder smoke his cigarette, lazily watching the flock of sheep and goats. Excellent flouring and grist mills, driven by water, have supplanted the old Mexican matato — a stone slab and pestle for grinding corn — and the more vigorous notes of Weber, Chickering and Mason & Hamlin are somewhat subduing the seductive tones of the Spanish guitar. Bull fights are [illegible] into political caucuses, and old scrub stock in horses, cattle and sheep are stepping down and out to make room for blooded animals. Lumber-laden schooners from the upper coast of California and Oregon, returning to San Francisco with our grain and oil, and the nervous shrieks from steamers at our wharf, at Capt. Roberts oil well, and the locomotive of the Southern Pacific railroad, on our northeastern boundary, are but suggestions of what is to come. It will be remembered that it is a century since the old Spanish padres established their missions along this coast, but in all that time there was nothing done toward developing its resources agriculturally. The native Californians were not progressive. Their houses were built of adobe. They raised small patches of beans and corn, and some vegetables, but their main reliance was upon their flocks and herds. The mission orchards usually supplied figs, olives, and a few other semi-tropical fruits. They cultivated the mission grapes and made wine. Comparatively isolated in this sunny clime, where nature was so bountiful, they worshipped the cross devoutly, observed their religious holidays faithfully, smoked cigarettes, thrummed the guitar, drank wine, danced, and lived a free and happy life, with little care for the future or present. But now all is changed. The new civilization has cut up their once boundless pastures into grain fields. Unable to cope with their more industrious and crafty neighbors, they are gradually turning their faces toward northern Mexico. The better class are courteous, cultivated, and polite in their intercourse with Americans. The children are handsome, many of the señoritas models of beauty. They possess an artless charm — a native witchery of grace in manner and motion that would tire the heart of a Saratoga belle with envy.
Under the Mexican government the principal part of California was cut up into large ranches, each of which comprised a number of leagues, or several thousand acres of land. With the exception of a small portion of Government land, Ventura county is divided up into the following ranchos, with the number of acres named in each:
45,000 acres — 35,000 acres arable. This ranch lies south of the Santa Clara river, has been partitioned, and the most of it sold to small owners. It is well populated, has a number of schools, is in the Santa Clara valley, and contains some of the very best farming land and artesian wells in the state. This is a great barley and hay raising district. Hueneme is its shipping-point. For further particulars address Thos. R. Bard, Hueneme, Ventura Co., Cal.
SIMI AND LOS POSAS.
These two ranches are situated above La Colonia, in the same valley and tributaries, and contain together 139,000 acres, of which about one-fourth is tillable. A great portion of it is good wheat and flax land. They contain also thousands of acres of fine grazing land, large bodies of timber, a fine climate, and soil for the raising of semi-tropical fruits. This is a fine opportunity for a colony. Address Thomas R. Bard, at Hueneme, or C.E. Hoar and A.W. Brown (Hueneme) who reside upon these ranches at present.
lies south and east, with its southern boundary ten miles from the coast. This mountain valley lies 1,700 feet above the sea-level, and is a great wheat growing section. It is protected from the sea breeze by a high mountain range; it has a large body of grazing land and an immense growth of fine live and white oak timber. The climate is delightful especially for pulmonary sufferers, and the scenery is grand and impressive. Good school, hotel, etc. H.W. Mills may be addressed at Newbury Park. A daily line of stages runs through, between Ventura and Los Angeles.
contains 31,000 acres and is situated in the southeastern part of the county. It borders on the sea and is mountainous. There are about 10,000 acres of arable and large tracts of grazing land. It is devoted to barley, corn and stock-raising.
lies east of La Colonia, contains 10,000 acres, of which 4,000 acres can be cultivated, and 4,000 acres of good grazing land; else a small vineyard producing excellent wine. Juan Camarillo, the owner, may be addressed at Ventura.
THE TAPO RANCHO
lies in the northeast corner of the Simi. This fine ranch belongs to the estate of Francisco de la Guerra and has been established for sixty years. It contains 15,000 acres, about 1,500 of which are arable, and the balance is grazing land.
SANTA CLARA DEL NORTE
lies six miles east of Ventura, and along the Santa Clara river. It contains 13,988 acres, the greater portion being under cultivation. It was settled early and contains some large fine vineyards where immense quantities of wine are made. The wine sells readily at 50 cents per gallon, and the winegrowers challenge the state to produce a better article. Thrifty and extensive orchards, fine little farms cut off and owned by different parties, and a good neighborhood. The greater portion of the ranch is owned by Schiappapietra Bros., who may be addressed at Ventura. Besides the artesian wells, the ranch may be irrigated from the Santa Clara river. Amongst other products there are 1,000 acres in flax the present season.
Lying on the sea-shore below Ventura is the well-cultivated ranch of D.W. Thompson, containing 2,300 acres and Olivas' ranch of 2,500 acres. The justly celebrated
SANTA PAULA Y SATICOY
lies immediately east and northeast of the town of Ventura, extending along the Santa Clara valley, between the river of that name and the foothills, some seventeen miles. On it are situated the villages of Saticoy, six miles, and Santa Paula, nineteen miles, from Ventura. It was purchased several years ago by Wm. Briggs, with the view of establishing immense orchards. Being further south he supposed his fruit would ripen earlier, enabling him to get them into market ahead of his competitors. He set out 25,000 fruit trees, but time proved this idea a fallacy. In the fall of 1866 Mr. E.B. Higgins purchased the four leagues of land of Geo. G. Briggs and had it surveyed and subdivided. In 1867 the extremely liberal terms upon which he offered it for sale produced the first uprising for farming lands and the general immigration to southern California. It is owned by farmers and sustains a large population. It has churches, schoolhouses, pleasant homes and is one of the most flourishing parts of this coast. It has a warm exposure, sloping south and eastward, and affords a fine view of the sea and island. It is peculiarly well adapted to the growing of all semi-tropical fruits, as well as of hardier climes.
lies along the valley northward and eastward. It contains about 9,000 acres, nearly all of it excellent land for corn, wheat, barley, flax, vegetables and semi-tropical fruits. There is here a large strip of Government land, settled up by a thriving and industrious population. Here, too, are a great many apiaries, as the finest bee pasturage on earth is to be found along the foothills. At the head of Santa Clara valley, and where it dips into San Fernando, is the
SAN FRANCISCO RANCHO
containing 11,500 acres of grazing land and 3,000 acres of tillable land. It is favorably located and owned principally by H.M. Newhall of San Francisco. A portion of this rancho lies in Los Angeles county. The station called Newhall, on the S.P.R.R., is located here. About ten miles down the Santa Clara valley is located the famous
Rancho, where the justly celebrated Comulos wine and brandy is produced. This fine place is owned by Ignacio Del Valle and is under a high state of cultivation. It is one of the most beautiful places in all southern California — large and thrifty orchard, a fine residence and surroundings in the old Hidalgo style. Orange and lemon trees in bearing, and extensive buildings for the manufacture of wine. They are now manufacturing a fine grade of olive oil. This beautiful place is but thirteen years old, and is an evidence of what may be done in this country in the way of fruit-raising.
derives its name from the old Mission of San Buenaventura. A part of this town is situated within its limits. It comprises about 48,000 acres, of which 3,500 acres are arable; and there is also a great deal of grazing land. Along its northern boundary is a strip of government land in the oil belt, and south of the Ojai. The tillable land is fertile and has a fine southern exposure along the base of the foothills overlooking the sea. It has been subdivided into small tracts and is thickly settled.
CANYADA LARGA RANCHO
lies north of Ventura, a long the river of that name, and is well protected by the foothills on either side. It contains 6,500 acres, of which over 1,000 are tillable and under a high state of cultivation. Here are to be found some beautiful suburban homes — handsome villas with fine orchards — and well planned grounds, adorned with flowers and ornamental shtrubbery,
THE SAN MIGUELITO RANCHO,
containing over 8,000 acres, lies east of the Santa Clara river, with the ocean for its southern boundary. There is but little available land on it, being used principally for grazing. Close to this rancho is the vast deposit of kaolin or rock soap, which has been mined, pressed and sold by the Ventura Rock Soap company. The rancho belongs to Col. G.B. Taylor. Following northwardly up the beautiful Cañada Larga from the sea shore at Ventura, a distance of twelve miles, leads up into the
containing one of the most beautiful valleys on the continent. The Ojai rancho contains 17,600 acres, about 10,000 of which are tillable and under good cultivation. It was long ago cut up into small farms and is the great wheat-growing section. It contains the large village of Nordhoff, in which there is a fine brick schoolhouse where divine service is held. The valley is covered with a luxuriant growth of live and white oak timber with some cottonwood. It is walled in by mountains and is about 1,000 feet above sea level. Here are some fine farms, thrifty orchards, and well-stocked apiaries. The air is pure and the scenery grand and romantic. There is some government land which is about all taken up and occupied. There are a great many petroleum springs in the vicinity. Lying west of Ventura rover — which is the boundary — and enclosed within the same circle of mountains is the
SANTA ANA RANCHO,
containing 17,705 acres, of which about 4,000 are arable. It is in most respects the same as the Ojai, being covered with a fine growth of timber, and well adapted to wheat raising. It has a great number of well-cultivated farms and a large body of grazing land. Further particulars [may] be had by addressing A.D. Barnard, Ventura. The above list contains a brief description of the original grants, and the number of acres they contain. They are mostly cut up into small farms and are being sold off in lots to suit purchasers. These lands embracing some of the most fertile on the coast, and capable of producing in abundance about everything grown on the continent, either in fruits, cereals or vegetables, may be purchased at low prices on good terms. It is safe to say, briefly, that taking everything into consideration — delightful and healthy climate, fertility of the soil, and all other natural advantages — there is not a spot on the globe that offers any better inducements to the industrious man who wishes to make himself and family a comfortable and happy home. Almost every variety of soil and situation may be found to suit the growers of corn, barley, wheat, oats, flax, potatoes, beans and all classes of vegetables. The stock raisers find every condition favorable for raising hogs, horned cattle, horses, sheep and goats; the fruit growers all that is required to grow successfully every variety of fruit known to semi-tropical and north temperate climes, and the hillsides and cañons afford the finest pasturate in the world for the beekeepers.
The principal town, and town and county seat, is beautifully situated on teh seashore about 311 miles southeast of San Francisco. The town is handsomely located on a slightly elevated bench from 20 to 50 feet above high tide. The surf rolls along the foot of the streets running north and south. It is an incorporated town and contains a population of 2,000 souls. Perhaps no town on the coast has a more abundant supply of good, pure water. It is furnished by the Santa Ana Water Company and brough at considerable expense from the Ventura river, which is supplied from the cool mountain streams on the north. It is conveyed down in a ditch to an immense reservoir situated on an elevation of over 150 feet, from whence it is conducted in ample pipes throughout the streets. There are some first-class stores, good hotels and the usual number of shops, saloons and small places of business. There are four churches — the Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational and Catholic. There is also an Episcopal organization and a goodly number of Liberals and spiritualists. The most valuable improvement is the Public Library and reading rooms, which is owned by the town. It contains about 1,000 volumes including history, poetry and miscellaneous literature The reading room is free to all, and on its tables are the leading magazines and pictorial of the day.
I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 201, F.&A.M. Lodge No. 214, and Ventura Royal Arch Chapter No. 50 hold regular meetings in their halls; also, Constancy Lodge No. 209, I.O.G.T., is flourishing. In the rear of the century-old olive trees of the old mission orchard stands a new brick Court House, which cost about $10,000. Crowning the summit of a hill is a large and well built public schoolhouse, costing a like sum. It is built in the modern style and is well furnished with the best and latest improvements and is always supplied with a corps of competent teachers. There are other school buildings, beside a number of private schools. The professions are well represented. The Monumental Hook and Ladder Company is well equipped and has a building and bell tower for its apparatus. Bartlett's and the Ventura brass bands discourse excellent music.
The old Mission of San Buenaventura was founded by the Spanish missionaries in 1732 [sic: 1782]. Its first centennial will shortly be celebrated with becoming honors. The old Mission Church, surmounted by its Moorish towers, still stands in an excellent state of preservation and is used as a place of worship. The same old bells brought over from Spain that startled the rude ear of the Indian nearly 100 years ago still ring out from the old tower and have rang [sic] in and out many changes. There are but three or four old Indians left to heed its calling. Standing near are two ancient palm trees, said to be the largest in the State. Their long, slender foliage swing higher and thither in the wind, presenting a very beautiful appearance. The old buildings around the church with their tiled roofs are falling into decay, and the old orchard is cut down. The new civilization contrasts vividly here with the old. There are two oil refineries where our crude oil is refined and sold in the markets, both illuminating and lubricating. A good and substantially built wharf, 1,200 feet long, extends into deep water where steamers and schooners land and lie in safety. Connected with the wharf are warehouses (which will hold 20,000 centals of grain), which were built at a cost of $150,000. The Pacific Coast Steamship Co.'s steamers land here weekly from San Francisco, going south, and also on returning. There is also a weekly freight steamer, and another passenger steamer will shortly be put upon the line. A number of schooners ply between our ports and the upper coasts and Oregon, bringing down lumber and carrying back grain to San Francisco. The Telegraph Stage Company's coaches make close connections daily with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Newhall, (fifty miles distant northeast), carrying passengers and the mails. The telegraph stages run northwest through Santa Barbara (distance thirty miles) and San Luis Obispo. There are private lines running between Ventura and Santa Barbara, carrying passengers. A tri-weekly stage runs from Ventura to Los Angeles to accommodate passengers who do not wish to take the cars at Newhall. There is a tri-weekly mail to Hueneme and Newberry [sic] Park, on the Conejo. The Western Union Telegraph Company have an office here, Thomas Gray, operator; also, Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express, Sheridan Bros., agents. W.S. McKee runs a daily hack, carrying mails and passengers to Nordhoff in the Ojai Valley and for the accommodation of McKee's Glen Cottage Hotel. H.F. Jewell runs a hack for the accommodation of his hotel and cottages at the famous Matilija Hot Sulphur Springs. Ventura has a daily mail — north, south and east. Colonel J.W. Goodwin is Postmaster.
There are two weekly newspapers here, the Free Press, published by McLean & McCoy, and the Ventura Signal by Sheridan Brothers. They are both honestly and ably conducted and devoted to the best interests and development of Ventura county in particular and Southern California in general.
is a quiet, orderly town, and has never sought to outgrow the rich agricultural country behind it. A peculiar feature is its neat and clean cottages and well-kept flower gardens. Ventura avenue has some handsome residences and one of the finest drives on the coast. The scenery is sublime. Eastward the eye sweeps over the broad Santa Clara Valley, resting on the distant Guadalasca range of mountains. To the south and west the grand old Pacific with the mountainous islands of Anacapa and Santa Cruz, twenty-five miles distant, where the mirage often creates fantastic visions, building castles, domes and bridges. On the north, serrated hills rise one above another, ending in Topa Topa Peak, 4,744 feet above sea level and twenty miles distant. Almost every State in the Union and many portions of the world are represented among her citizens, who are generally hospitable, intelligent and progressive.
the only other seaport, and the next largest town in the county, is located twelve miles below Ventura. It is in the heart of a rich agricultural region and is the shipping point for a large section of country. It has an excellent wharf, extending 800 feet, where steamers and sailing vessels lie in safety. Here are some of the largest warehouses south of San Francisco for the storage of grain. Warehouse "A" is 56 feet long by 215 feet wide, with a six-foot platform extending the entire length on the east. Warehouse "B," 66 by 161 feet, with a twelve-foot platform on the west side. Warehouse "C," 66 by 312 feet, with a twelve-foot platform extending along the west side. The wharf is 40feet wide at the outer and 18 feet at the shore end, with car-track the entire length, enabling the company to handle grain very rapidly. There are twenty-four cars, each carrying one hundred sacks of grain which are kept loaded for ready handling in loading a steamer or schooner. The Hueneme Wharf and Lighter Company own these improvements. Thos. R. Bard, who is largely interested, is President, and A.B. Stovell, wharfinger and agent for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Near the wharf and within a few feet of the surf is one of the best artesian wells on the coast, from which the town, as well as steamers, are supplied. The water is slightly impregnated with sulphur and iron. There is a lighthouse on Point Hueneme. The town contains several stores, smith shops, etc., and a fine schoolhouse where worship is held, and here as in all other portions of the county, interesting Sunday Schools. R.G. Livingston is Postmaster, and A.B. Stovell, telegraph operator.
the next town in size, is delightfully situated on the Santa Clara River, in the centre of a choice region for all classes of farming, and especially adapted to the successful growing of semi-tropical fruits. It occupies a plateau near the foothills, about sixteen miles northeast from Ventura, and contains a population of 250 inhabitants. The town is amply supplied with water brought down from the Santa Paula creek into a reservoir situated on an elevation of 85 feet, from whence it is distributed in pipes. Blanchard & Bradley's flouring mills are situated at the mouth of the cañon on the northern part of the town. They are run by water power obtained from the Santa Paula creek and manufacture an excellent grade of flour, which commands a large and ready sale. These gentlemen are also owners of the 100-acre orange orchard so attractive to the traveler entering the place from the west. It was planted in 1874 and is in a flourishing condition, some of the trees (especially the sweet-rind lemon) making a growth of from six to eight feet the past season. The orchard is protected by lime hedges, Monterey cypress and blue-gums and will soon come into bearing. Nearly all this fine section lies under irrigating ditches, and with its fertile soil-sloping exposure to the south and east, its protection from winds and fogs, its fine climate, renders it a garden spot which it already closely resembles. There are many beautiful little farms with thrifty orchards in the vicinity. It is also close to the great oil regions and the extensive apiaries of the Santa Paula and Sespe. The Farmer's Canal and Water Company's Ditch, carrying 400 inches of water, [which] is taken out of the Santa Clara river two-and-a-half miles above, flows through the village and about six miles below, irrigating a number of choice farms. There are two other ditches in operation, and a third is in contemplation, sweeping around high up on the base of the foothills, which will bring in and irrigate the very best portion for fruit growing. There is a good schoolhouse with all the modern improvements in furniture, and a good school library, and an average attendance of eighty pupils. The Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Christians all have church organizations and ministers, but having no church edifices, worship in the school house. The Union Sunday School is in a flourishing condition and meets here. There are a number of stores of general merchandise, shops, etc. Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express has an agency. A good hotel is kept by C.N. Baker. A.H. Shepard is Postmaster and telegraph operator. Dr. S.P. Guiberson, a gentleman of scientific and literary attainments, holds the scales of justice and adds to his other duties a real estate office. Taken all in all, Santa Paula has a promising future. The Telegraph Stage Company's coaches pass through daily, connecting with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Newhall. For further information address Dr. S.P. Guiberson.
This promising village is situated on the Santa Clara River about eight miles northeast of Ventura. Here are the famous Saticoy Springs, a great place in olden times for migratory Indians and Mexicans, and around which many a bloody tradition clusters. It is now the centre of a prosperous and thrifty settlement and embraces some remarkably choice farms and young orchards. It commands a beautiful and uninterrupted view of the broad Santa Clara Valley, with its mountain boundaries, the ocean and its islands. There are one or two stores and smith shops to supply the neighborhood. There is an excellent schoolhouse where Sunday Schools and divine services are held. This community is above the average in culture, exhibits considerable musical talent and has a good brass band of a dozen pieces. Jules Quesnel, Postmaster. For further information address E.B. Higgins, the original owner of the grant.
is located on the old Conejo road from Ventura to Los Angeles, twelve miles cast of the former place, and eight and a half northeast from Hueneme. It is in the centre of a prosperous agricultural region and draws considerable trade from the back country. The soil hereabouts is very fertile, and the farms under good cultivation. The Santa Clara Water and Irrigating Ditch Company's ditch passes through the village. It will carry 2,000 inches of water and irrigates a large number of farms. In the future, water will be taken from the Las Posas, and by bringing another ditch from the Santa Clara River, around the base of the hill, the greater portion of the country may be irrigated. The village contains two good stores, a hotel, blacksmith shop, and nearby, a good schoolhouse where religious services are held by different denominations. A.S. Clark, Postmaster.
is situated fifteen miles north of Ventura in the beautiful Ojai Valley, the great health resort of the Southern coast. The valley lies 1,000 feet above sea level, is protected from fogs and sea winds by a circular wall of mountains, affording one of the most perfect climates to be found in the world. The village is pleasantly located in the midst of groves of live and white oak trees. Those trees give a pleasant shade, and from their branches depend fringes of long moss which add a picturesque charm to the landscape. There are two first-class country hotels for the benefit of invalids, tourists and the traveling public. A good brick public schoolhouse is furnished in modern style. Church services are held here by the Presbyterians and Methodists. There is also an interesting Sunday School. A description of the advantages of this wonderful valley as a health resort would require a separate chapter. Nearby are the famous Matilija Hot Sulphur Springs where there is a good hotel and cottages for the accommodation of invalids. Thomas Gilbert, merchant and Postmaster at Nordhoff, may be addressed for particulars concerning this desirable region. Below will be found a carefully prepared table giving the acreage and the kinds of crops growing at the present time, which will convey to persons residing at a distance a concise idea of what is being done in Ventura County:
Barley, acres — 36,000
Corn, acres — 19,000
Wheat, acres — 13,000
Beans, acres — 1,800
Oats, acres — 550
Potatoes, acres — 300
Flax, acres — 1,250
Alfalfa, acres — 900
Canaryseed, acres — 285
Miscellaneous crops including vegetables, tobacco, peanuts, etc. — 570
Total acres — 73,655
Harvesting of wheat and barley is going on at this writing (June 11th), and although the hot winds a short time ago did much damage, the yield bids fair to be very good. Corn is looking well. To the above may be added the number of acres in orchard and vineyard: General variety of fruits, 1,100 acres; English walnuts, 15,00 acres; oranges, 300 acres; lemons, 75 acres; vineyards, 210 acres. Total, 3,185 acres. The above does not include a large number of lives and almonds. Limes are so plentiful as to be used as hedges and are not reckoned.
The following exhibit of last year's operations may serve as a basis, but owing to partial failures the two preceding seasons, it is perhaps not up to the standard. The shipments made over the wharves at San Buenaventura from May 1, 1878, to February 10, 1879, and Hueneme up to December 1, 1878: Barley, 241,179 sacks; wheat, 5,100 sacks; corn, 49,163 sacks; beans, 19,104 sacks; mustard seed, 1,701 sacks; canary seed, 2,268 sacks; potatoes, 710 sacks; rock soap, 1,035 sacks; sea shells, 200 sacks; sea moss, 30 bales; dried fish, 161 bales; wool, 1,399 bales; honey, 4,530 cases; miscellaneous merchandise, 250 tons; hogs, 11,022 head; oil, 649 barrels.
Freight received during period: General merchandise, 5,000 tons; lumber, 2,033,230 feet.
Last year's wheat crop was a failure, owing to rust, and besides, we manufactured a part of the crop into flour. Owing to the low price of hogs, a light shipment was made. There were, at the beginning of the present season, about 25,000 head of hogs on hand. During the dry year, a large number of sheep were driven into Colorado and New Mexico. There were, at the beginning of the present season, about 56,000 head and over 1,000 head of high-grade Angora goats.
It is confidently believed by scientific men and good judges that the oil interests of this section arc paramount to all others, and it would not be surprising if the development of the oil resources should yet produce an excitement second only to that of the discovery of gold on Sutter Creek.
What is known as the oil belt comprises an area of fifty miles in length and probably twenty-five in width extending through the county and on through Los Angeles county. Oil crops out into the sea at Carpinteria, Santa Barbara county, and the hillsides and cañons are full of springs flowing out of the ground. The Los Angeles oil company, operating on the Sespe in this county, twenty-seven miles from Ventura, struck a flow some time ago of 150 barrels per day at a depth of 1,514 feet. The oil, which is of fine quality, rises to within 50 feet of the surface, whence it is pumped. The elevation of the well is about 1,500 feet, and oil may be conducted in pipes over a smooth surface and without obstructions to the wharf at Ventura. The Southern California Petroleum Co. has leased the oil territory on the ex-Mission. They have two wells and six tunnels and are flourishing. Edwards & Dubbs' Alta Oil Refinery at Ventura has a refining capacity of 25 barrels per day. The Star Oil Co., represented by D.C. Scott, has a large territory, and refinery at Ventura. They can refine 30 barrels per day. They are furnishing the Santa Barbara Gas Co. with oil for making gas. A party has just arrived from Pennsylvania who will establish a large refinery. Messrs. Remington & Davis and other parties are now boring with good show of success. For further information on this all-important subject address D.O. Scott, E.A. Edwards, or Capt. Wesley Roberts, superintendent of the Los Angeles Oil Co.
Beekeeping is rapidly growing into an important industry. The cañons and mountainsides afford the choicest bee pasturage. Ventura county shipped the past season 425 tons of honey. There were 4,600 colonies of bees in the county at the commencement of the present season. For further information address John Hund; Nordhoff, who is Secretary of the Bee-Keepers Association.
Ventura county is preeminently good for all kinds of stock. Owing to the mildness of our climate, the expense of keeping stock over a long winter is saved. Stock breeds rapidly, and there are few diseases to contend with. Rich and nutritious grasses abound. Much interest is manifested in the importation of the very best breeds of horses and cattle. Poland-China and Berkshire are the principal breeds of hogs. On this important subject the following gentlemen may be addressed: Robert Ayers, L.D. Roberts, Nordhoff; J.F. Cummings, J.F. McCutcheon, Abner Haines, J.K. and John Grils, Santa Paula, Mayhew & Everett, I.T. Saxby, Ventura; H.P. Flint, Hueneme.
SOIL, PRODUCTIONS, PRICES OF LAND, ETC.
Our soil is principally a close-grained, sandy loam with no hard-pan sub-soil, or clay. The upland valleys are adobe and vegetable mould, the washings from the mountain sides. The soil retains moisture to a remarkable degree. Corn, barley and wheat are the principal crop and are grown to perfection. As high as 5,000 pounds of barley have been raised per acre. Corn does remarkably well. Ohio and Indiana farmers who are located here say they can raise more corn with half the labor than can he raised in the states. Our wheat takes a high rank in the market and makes A-1 flour. Rye and oats do well. Flax, broom-corn, canary seed, etc., thrive. Our vegetables can hardly be equaled on the continent. Every variety of fruit found in the north temperate or semi-tropical climes grow here. The apple, peach, pear, plum and other northern fruits are found growing by the side of the orange, lemon, lime, apricot, nectarine; madeira nut, olive, almond, date fig, guava quince and pomegranate, and each seems equally are home. Most of the orchards are very young, but specimens of all kinds of fruit have come into bearing, and bear evidence of their perfect adaptability and success. Briefly it may be stated that there is not a thing grown on the American continent, either grain, vegetable, fruit or flower, but what is grown successfully in Southern California, and in many cases to a greater degree of perfection. Poultry raising is very profitable and is carried on quite extensively. Prices of land vary, of course, according to location, improvements, etc. Lands rage all the way from $10 to $50. Unimproved lands can be purchased as low as $2 per acre and upward, while some of the choicest pieces of improved land could hardly be bought for $150. Good average land under cultivation may be bought at from $20 to $25 per acre. Lands may be rented at from $2 to $3 per acre or half the crop. Large quantities of grain are raised by volunteering.
TIMBER, WATER, RAINFALL, CLIMATE, GAME, ETC.
Of the two great desideratums in a sub-tropical country — timber and water — Ventura county possesses a bounteous share. The timber is principally live oak, white oak and sycamore, the trees growing to good size in the cañons and along the streams. In the mountains back of the coast are vast forests of fir and pine, which at present are almost inaccessible. The Santa Clara is the principal river. It rises in the Soledad pass, and flows southwestwardly through the broad and prairie-like valley of that name, emptying into the sea six miles below Ventura. Large ditches taken from along this stream irrigate vast bodies of fertile land. The Piru, Sespe and Santa Paula, all raising in the mountains and fed by numerous streams, flow into the Santa Clara from the north. The San Buenaventura River rises in the mountains, thirty-five miles northward, and making a rapid descent through the Ojai Valley, empties into the Pacific Ocean, on the east by San Antonio creek and west by Santa Ana Coyote Creeks. The water of these streams is pure and cold and abounds in trout. Rabbits, hare, quail and pigeons are abundant. Along the lagoons and wheat fields are legions of ducks and wild geese. Deer are quite plentiful along the foothills, and over the first range of mountains are black cinnamon and grizzly bear, wild cats and California lions. What is called the "rainy season" usually sets in about the 1st of November and lasts until the 1st of March. Of course these dates vary. After the first rain, which usually lasts from two to four days, the farmers commence to plough for the new crops. The grass and flowers spring up all over the face of the earth. Hills and valleys that were a sober brown are green and gay with bird and bloom. When the rains fall it is usually for a few days, and the sun comes out and the farmer goes on with his work. He works in shirt sleeves and finds a shade in the middle of the day comfortable. The evenings, nights and mornings are cool. By the first of March or April the grain has made a rapid growth, and no more rain falls until the next November. Thus, what is the beginning of Winter in the States is our Spring and beginning of new life. The nights are cool, but all Winter long the tenderest flowers blossom in the open air. Roses, pinks, lilies, fuchsias and a hundred varieties of flowers fill the yards and gardens with glorious colors. The orange and lemon trees are golden with fruit blossoms and tender bud. Honeysuckles and other sweet-scented flowers clamber over your porch and trail into the open window. But inside sit the occupants before a little fire, and it feels comfortable. They are necessary here all the year round. Through the Summer months the nights are cool enough to render a pair of warm blankets necessary. Snow falls at intervals only in the mountains, and their glittering peaks mapped out against a clear, blue sky contrast strangely with the green fields and bright-colored flowers of the warm, sunny valleys. the air is pure and sweet and bracing. With the salt sea-waves of the Pacific Ocean gently draking on the south, and the pine and fir-covered mountains on the north, it could not be otherwise. Chills and fevers and malarial diseases cannot and do not exist. Sunstrokes, tornadoes, hydrophadia, yellow fever — and, with one slight exception, earthquakes — are unknown. The highest medical authorities have asserted that in the mountain valleys (such as the Ojai), back a short distance from the sea, and protected from the fogs and rougher winds, by the foothills, is to be found the most beneficial climate for persons suffering from throat and lung diseases, to be found anywhere. Thousands of sufferers who sitin overheated rooms and look wearily and hopelessly through frozen window panes through the long and severe Winters of the East might, in the warm sunshine and tempered air of outdoor life in these valleys, find a new lease on life by seeking them in time. It is confidently believed that when all the advantages and excellence of this climate become generally known, the Mediterranean and Florida will be overlooked, and Southern California will become the greatest sanitarium of the continent.
The mean temperature is from 50 to 55 degrees in January and 70 to 76 in July. Rainfall ranging from five to fifteen inches the season.
The young county of Ventura, with a population of but 7,000 inhabitants, has room for a number of people. Within the commercial lines of Ventura, well nigh a half million people may be comfortably sustained. With all her vast resources and natural advantages she cordially and confidently invites immigration.
The best way to reach San Buenaventura is to take one of the steamers of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, which sails every Thursday form their wharf, at the foot of Davis street, San Francisco. They are good, staunch steamers, with trusty and polite officers; cabin fare, $12, steerage, $9. Time about 30 hours. The Ancon and Orizaba, belonging to the same line, sail alternately every fifth day, touching at Santa Barbara where passengers may take the stage to Ventura, 30 miles. Passengers who prefer the land may take the cars of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which runs daily trains southward to Los Angeles and Arizona. Passengers for Ventura get off at Newhall and take the Telegraph stage the balance of the route, about 50 miles. Fare, first class, from San Francisco to Ventura, $24; second class, $17. Time, about 56 hours.