|City of San Buenaventura|
Location in Southern California
Location in California
Location in the United States
|Mission||March 31, 1782|
|Incorporated||April 2, 1866|
|Named for||Saint Bonaventure|
|• Mayor||Sofia Rubalcava|
|• City manager||Alex McIntyre|
|• CA Senate||Monique Limón (D)|
|• CA Assembly||Steve Bennett (D)|
|• U.S. Congress||CA-24: Salud Carbajal (D)|
CA-26: Julia Brownley (D)
|• Total||32.29 sq mi (83.63 km2)|
|• Land||21.89 sq mi (56.68 km2)|
|• Water||10.41 sq mi (26.95 km2) 32.53%|
|Elevation||36 ft (11 m)|
|• Rank||4th in Ventura County|
60th in California
|• Density||3,400/sq mi (1,300/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1667934, 2411779|
Ventura (Listen), officially San Buenaventura (Spanish for "St. Bonaventure"), is a city on the Central Coast of California and the county seat of Ventura County. The population was 110,763 at the 2020 census.
In 1782, the eponymous Mission San Buenaventura was founded nearby, where it benefitted from the water of the Ventura River. The town grew around the mission compound and incorporated in 1866. The development of nearby oil fields in the 1920s and the age of automobile travel created a major real estate boom during which many designated landmark buildings were constructed. During the post–World War II economic expansion, the community grew easterly, building detached single-family homes over the rich agricultural land created by the Santa Clara River at the edge of the Oxnard Plain.
Archaeological discoveries in the area suggest that humans have populated the region for at least 10,000–12,000 years. Archaeological research demonstrates that the Chumash people have deep roots in central and southern coastal regions of California, and has revealed artifacts from their culture.: 11 Shisholop Village, designated Historic Point of Interest #18 by the city at the foot of nearby Figueroa Street, was the site of a Chumash village. They had keen oceanic navigational skills made use of the abundant local resources from sea and land.: 36 The Ventura Chumash were in contact with the Channel Islands Chumash; both mainland and island Chumash utilized large plank-sewn seagoing canoes, called Tomol, with the island people bringing shell bead money, island chert, and sea otter pelts to trade for mainland products like acorns and deer meat.
In 1769, the Spanish Portolà expedition, first recorded European visitors to inland areas of California, came down the Santa Clara River Valley from the previous night's encampment near today's Saticoy and camped near the outlet of the Ventura River on August 14. Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary traveling with the expedition, noted that "we saw a regular town, the most populous and best laid-out of all that we had seen on the journey up to the present time." Archaeological records found that the Chumash village they encountered was settled sometime around 1000 A.D.
Junípero Serra, first leader of the Franciscans in California, founded Mission San Buenaventura in 1782 as his ninth and last mission established near the Chumash village as part of Spain's colonization of Alta California. The mission was named for St. Bonaventure, a Thirteenth Century Franciscan saint and a Doctor of the Church. San Miguel Chapel was the first outpost and center of operations while the first Mission San Buenaventura was being constructed. The first mission burned in 1801 and a replacement building of brick and stone was completed in 1809. The bell tower and facade of the new mission was destroyed by an 1812 earthquake. The Mission was rebuilt and functions as a parish church. Historic tours of downtown include the mission compound.
The Mexican secularization act of 1833 was passed twelve years after Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. Mission land was sold or given away in large grants called ranchos. Rancho Ex-Mission San Buenaventura was a 48,823-acre (197.58 km2) grant that included downtown Ventura. Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted Rancho San Miguel to Felipe Lorenzana and Raymundo Olivas, whose Olivas Adobe on the banks of the Santa Clara River was the most magnificent hacienda south of Monterey. Fernando Tico also received a Mexican land grant for Ojai and a parcel near the river in downtown Ventura.
Following the American Conquest of California in the Mexican-American War, California became a U.S. territory in 1848 and a U.S. state in 1850. After the American Civil War, settlers came to the area, buying land from the Mexicans, or simply as squatters. Vast holdings were later acquired by Easterners, including railroad magnate Thomas A. Scott. He sent Thomas R. Bard to handle Scott's property.
Ventura had a flourishing Chinese settlement in the early 1880s. The largest concentration of activity, known as China Alley, was just across Main Street from the Mission San Buenaventura.
Ventura Pier was built in 1872 at a cost of $45,000 and was the longest wooden pier in California. By 1917, it had been rebuilt to a length of 1,700 feet (520 m). Much of the pier was destroyed by a storm in 1995, but it was subsequently rebuilt.
In 1913, the Rincon Sea Level Road and the Ventura River Bridge opened.
The large Ventura Oil Field was first drilled in 1919 and at its peak produced 90,000 barrels per day (14,000 m3/d). The development of the oil fields in the 1920s, along with the building of better roads to Los Angeles and the affordability of automobiles, enabled a major real estate boom. Contemporary downtown Ventura is defined by extant buildings from this period. Landmarks built during the oil boom include Ventura Theatre (1928), the First Baptist Church of Ventura (1926), the Ventura Hotel (1926), and the Mission Theatre (1928).
On March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, 54 miles (87 km) inland, failed catastrophically, creating a flood that took over 600 lives as it flowed down the Santa Clara River to the ocean.
From the south, travel by auto was slow and hazardous, until the completion of a four-lane freeway (US Highway 101) over the Conejo Grade in 1959. This route, which was widened and improved by 1969, is known as the Ventura Freeway, which directly links Ventura with the rest of the Greater Los Angeles.
In 2017, the Thomas Fire started north of Ventura in Santa Paula, but with the Santa Ana Winds the fire spread into hillside neighborhoods of Ventura and into the area above downtown, and 504 residences burned down in the city.
Ventura is located northwest of Los Angeles on the California coast. The western portion of the city stretches north along the Ventura River which is characterized by a narrow valley with steeply sloped areas along both sides. The steep slopes of the Ventura foothills abut the northern portion of the community. Much of the eastern portion is on a relatively flat alluvial coastal plain lying along the western edge of the Oxnard Plain. Several Barrancas extend from the foothills to the Santa Clara River which forms the city's southerly boundary. The city extends up to the beginning of the Santa Clara River Valley at the historic community of Saticoy.
Ventura is within a seismically active region like much of California and is crossed by several potentially active fault systems. The Ventura Fault is capable of an 8.0 earthquake and a local tsunami up to 23 feet in height. According to the United States Census Bureau, Ventura has a total area of 32.1 square miles (83 km2), of which 21.7 square miles (56 km2) is land and 10.4 square miles (27 km2), comprising 32.53%, is water.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Ventura has a Mediterranean climate, typical of most coastal California cities, with the sea breeze off the Pacific Ocean moderating temperatures. It is not uncommon for the city to be affected by Santa Ana winds off the Transverse Ranges on occasion, which increase temperatures dramatically.
|Climate data for Ventura, California|
|Record high °F (°C)||90
|Average high °F (°C)||66.5
|Average low °F (°C)||44.0
|Record low °F (°C)||28
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||3.59
|Source 1: |
|Source 2: |
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Ventura had a population of 106,433. The population density was 3,316.2 people per square mile (1,280.4/km2). The racial makeup of Ventura was 76.6% White, 1.6% African American, 1.2% Native American, 3.4% Asian (0.9% Filipino, 0.6% Chinese, 0.4% Indian, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.5% Other), 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.8% of the population.
The Census reported that 103,940 people (97.7% of the population) lived in households, 755 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,738 (1.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 40,438 households, out of which 13,014 (32.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 18,907 (46.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,936 (12.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,153 (5.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,621 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 371 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,959 households (27.1%) were made up of individuals, and 4,271 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57. There were 25,996 families (64.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.
The population was spread out, with 23,918 people (22.5%) under the age of 18, 9,581 people (9.0%) aged 18 to 24, 28,814 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 29,957 people (28.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,163 people (13.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
There were 42,827 housing units at an average density of 1,334.4 per square mile (515.2/km2), of which 22,600 (55.9%) were owner-occupied, and 17,838 (44.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.5%. 59,330 people (55.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 44,610 people (41.9%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 100,916 people, 38,524 households, and 25,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,790.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,849.3/km2). There were 39,803 housing units at an average density of 1,889.5 per square mile (729.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.8% White, 1.4% African American, 1.2% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 11.1% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 30.4% of the population.
There were 38,524 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $52,297, and the other income for a family was $60,466. Males had a median income of $43,828 versus $31,793 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,065. About 6.4% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
Ventura is a popular tourist destination in Southern California, owing to its historic landmarks, beaches, and the local leisure economy. Businesses related to tourism and hospitality account for a significant portion of Ventura's economic activity.
The outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia is based in Ventura. Diaper bag manufacturer Petunia Pickle Bottom was founded in Ventura. Research and resource company The Barna Group is located near downtown Ventura.
In 2009 the City of Ventura created Ventura Ventures Technology Center, a business incubator with a high-tech focus. Ventura Ventures Technology Center was created as an economic engine to develop jobs and companies locally, as well as attract entrepreneurs to the area. The Trade Desk was started in the incubator.
Following the legalization of Cannabis in California, Ventura City Council council last adopted a resolution allowing a maximum number of cannabis businesses in the city in February 2021. All cannabis businesses are still prohibited in Ventura city limits.
According to the city's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||Number of Employees||% of Total City Employment|
|1||County of Ventura||8,232||15.08%|
|2||Ventura Unified School District||2,650||4.85%|
|3||Community Memorial Health System||2,176||3.99%|
|4||Employer's Depot Inc.||820||1.50%|
|5||Patagonia Works (Lost Arrow Corp.)||665||1.22%|
|7||Ventura County Community College District||653||1.20%|
|8||City of San Buenaventura||615||1.13%|
|10||Ventura Superior Court||305||0.56%|
The Ventura County Fairgrounds is the home of the annual Ventura County Fair, and over the years has hosted such acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Phish, Smokey Robinson, All American Rejects, Smash Mouth, and Sugar Ray, as well as the Vans Warped Tour. The train station for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner route is adjacent to the fairgrounds.
The Majestic Ventura Theater is an early 20th-century landmark in the downtown. It has been a venue for concerts such as The Doors, Pearl Jam, Van Halen, X, Ray Charles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Fugazi, Incubus, Tom Petty, They Might Be Giants, and Johnny Cash, as well as homegrown artists like KYLE, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Army of Freshmen.
Ventura is famed for the quality and frequency of the surfing conditions at spots such as Surfer's Point near the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
Ventura is the home to the soccer clubs Ventura County Football Club and Ventura County Fusion, of the USL Premier Development League.
Main article: List of mayors of Ventura, California
Ventura had an at-large system of electing council members but changed to seven council districts in 2018 due to threatened legal action based on the California Voting Rights Act. Council members have 4-year terms and their elections are staggered so three or four are up for re-election every two years. The council elects from among its own members a mayor and deputy mayor who serve two-year terms.
Ventura has four college campuses: Ventura College of Law, Southern California Institute of Law, Santa Barbara Business College and Ventura College. Ventura College of Law is a non-profit law school founded in 1969. Ventura College is a community college, part of the Ventura County Community College District. The Brooks Institute of Photography shut down in 2016 after many years in the community.
Public school students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend schools in the Ventura Unified School District. The district has five high schools: Ventura High in the midtown area, Buena High in east Ventura, Foothill Technology High School, Pacific High School and El Camino High School, an independent study program located on the Ventura College campus. Private schools include St. Bonaventure High School, a Catholic school, Ventura County Christian School,  Ventura Missionary School, evangelical Christian schools, and Holy Cross School, Sacred Heart, and Our Lady of the Assumption, Roman Catholic schools for grades pre-kindergarten through 8.
There are three branches of the Ventura County Library in the City of Ventura: E.P. Foster Library on Main Street, Avenue Library on Ventura Avenue, and Hill Road Library on the east side of the city. Saticoy Library is in the unincorporated area of Saticoy outside the east end of the city of Ventura. H.P. Wright Library was closed on November 30, 2009, due to a shortfall in funding in the Ventura County Library System. All books from the H.P. Wright Library were integrated into the E.P. Foster Library in March 2010. Proponents of an east side library continued to agitate for the re-establishment of a branch to replace the H.P. Wright Library, which came to fruition in 2017 with the opening of Hill Road Library on December 3.
The Evelyn and Howard Boroughs Library of Ventura College, dedicated in 2005, serves the students, faculty and staff of the college as well as the general public of Ventura County.
The Research Library of the Museum of Ventura County holds books and archival materials related to the history of the county and surrounding regions. Its holdings are catalogued in the Ventura County Library system and the Central Coast Museum Consortium, and the library is open to the public.
Ventura County Law Library, located in the Ventura County Government Center, makes current legal resources available to judges, lawyers, government officials, and other users.
The major road through Ventura is the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101), connecting the California Central Coast and San Francisco to the north, and Los Angeles to the south. State Route 33, the Ojai Freeway, heads north to Ojai. State Route 126 and State Route 118 head east to Santa Clarita and Simi Valley, respectively.
The East Ventura Station, in the historic Montalvo neighborhood, serves as the western terminus of the Ventura County Line of the Metrolink commuter rail system, which extends to Los Angeles' Union Station. The downtown Ventura Amtrak Station is served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.
Local bus service is provided by Gold Coast Transit. Commuter and intercity bus services are provided by VISTA and by MTD to Santa Barbara.
The Downtown - Harbor Trolley began its free service on July 3, 2013. The Trolley makes loops from Downtown to Ventura Harbor.
Ventura provides water to its residents and some unincorporated areas near the city. Water sources are Lake Casitas, the Ventura River, and groundwater. The water system includes 3 treatment plants, 10 wells, and 27 reservoirs.
Sanitary sewer services are treated at a single plant in 1955. The plant, within a former portion of the estuary of the Santa Clara River, has ponds of treated water that attract birds. Some recycled water from the plant is used for landscaping and other non potable uses.
The Montalvo Community Services District looked at the cost of a new treatment plant in 2014 and considered having the city take over their service area and dissolve the district. The Montalvo Municipal Improvement District had been formed 60 years prior to bringing sewer service to what was then a remote unincorporated area southeast of Ventura. The city of Ventura annexed the last unincorporated portions of Montalvo in 2012 and had already begun to provide water to the community before the annexation.
Downtown Ventura is home to the Mission San Buenaventura, museums, galleries, dining, and shopping. Located in downtown is the historic Ortega Adobe, once home to the Ortega family known for chili products. Downtown Ventura is home to Ventura's ornate city hall with its statue of Junipero Serra. Downtown includes restaurants, wine bars, breweries, and the Rubicon Theatre Company.
The 4,300-square-foot (400 m2) Ventura Visitors Center, at 101 South California Street, has exhibits on the Heritage Valley, Channel Islands National Park, the local arts scene, and maps and brochures about the area.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Ventura was "Two Trees" – two prominent lone trees on a hilltop, visible from most of Ventura. Access to the hill is private property. Signs at the bottom of the trails and at the trees themselves warn against trespassing.
In early October 2017, one of the trees was destroyed by high winds.
In Plaza Park (Chestnut and Santa Clara streets, downtown) stands a large Moreton Bay fig tree. Across the street, the main post office has murals on interior walls commissioned by the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the U.S. Treasury Department as New Deal art.
Ventura Harbor has fishing boats, seafood restaurants and a retail center, the Ventura Harbor Village. The Channel Islands National Park Headquarters is also located at the harbor, and boats to the Channel Islands depart from there daily.
Pierpont Bay (Pierpont) is a residential neighborhood in the one-mile stretch between Ventura Harbor and San Buenaventura State Beach. Reclaimed marshland was subdivided in 1925 and houses were built in fits of development interrupted by years of economic depression, war, and coastal floods (in 1937 and 1962). Long a hodge-podge of rental dwellings, weekend cottages and vacant lots, it was transformed by successive California real estate booms into a fashionable but eclectic mix of newer large homes and older modest beach cottages, now mostly owner-occupied. Pierpont Bay has widely varying architectural styles, a small retail district Seaward Avenue, newer residents' demands for increased municipal maintenance, and continuing disputes about the proper regulation of the neighborhood's public beaches.
The Olivas Adobe, one of the early "California Rancho"-styled homes, is operated today as a museum and performing arts venue. Located adjacent to the Olivas Park Golf Course, the home is one of the most visited historic sites on the central Pacific Coast. Living history reenactments, demonstrations of Rancho life and wonderful ghost stories are presented. A summer music series of performances held in the courtyard features an eclectic assortment of artists from blues to jazz to country.
The movies Swordfish, Little Miss Sunshine and Erin Brockovich were partially filmed in Ventura.
The comedy film The Bet was filmed entirely in the city of Ventura and was written by Ventura residents Chris Jay and Aaron Goldberg, both members of the band Army of Freshmen.
Ventura was fictionalized as "Madison City" by long-time resident Erle Stanley Gardner in his D.A. series of crime novels featuring Doug Selby, the crusading district attorney of a rural California county.
Ventura is the setting for Julie Carobini's 2007 book Chocolate Beach.
The America song "Ventura Highway" was inspired by the feel of the coastal highway running through Ventura, when the songwriter saw the sign to Ventura on a childhood family trip.
Ventura is a course in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. It was called "Skatestreet Ventura".
Kevin Costner has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Attended Buena High School in Ventura, California. He has described spending his teenage years in different parts of California as his father's career progressed. Costner lived in Ventura, then in Visalia; he attended Mt. Whitney High School and moved to Orange County, where he graduated from Villa Park High School in 1973. He earned a BA in marketing and finance from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 1978.
Zachary Levi is an actor known for his role as Shazam in DC's Shazam! and has received critical acclaim for starring as Chuck Bartowski in the series Chuck. He attended Buena High School.
Natasha Halevi is an actress and director known for her work with Fatale Collective and Troma Entertainment. She attended Saint Bonaventure High School. She is married to actor Sean Gunn.
James Ennis III (born 1990) is a professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Frank Churchill is a composer for Disney cartoons who started as a pianist in Ventura.
Theodosia Burr Shepherd (1845–1906) was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in plant breeding. She was called the “Flower Wizard of California”, and "The Pioneer Seed-grower", as she was the first woman in California and possibly in the United States to hybridize flowers. Her seed and bulb business, the Theodosia B. Shepherd Company, is considered to be the foundation of the California seed industry and is listed as number 34 in the City of Ventura Historic Landmarks and Districts. She was compared favorably to Luther Burbank.
Erle Stanley Gardner (1889–1970) created the fictional lawyer Perry Mason, who appeared first in novels and then later in a television series from 1957 to 1966, followed by several "made-for-TV" movies in the 1980s. Gardner himself was a lawyer and did much of his early writing in Downtown Ventura. The First National Bank building at California and Main streets, where Gardner's law office was located, bears his name on a state historical marker and is also identified as the "Erle Stanley Gardner Building" over the front entrance.
this quiet indefatigable woman floriculturist was the first person to grow flower seed for the eastern states' trade. Her seeds have found their way throughout Europe. She is the pioneer flower seed grower of California.
On the foundation which she laid is builded the great seed industry of California.