Los Alamos, California

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Los Alamos, California
Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California
Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California
Coordinates: 34°44′31″N 120°16′31″W / 34.74194°N 120.27528°W / 34.74194; -120.27528Coordinates: 34°44′31″N 120°16′31″W / 34.74194°N 120.27528°W / 34.74194; -120.27528
Country  United States
State  California
County Santa Barbara
 • Senate Tony Strickland (R)
 • Assembly Sam Blakeslee (R)
 • U. S. Congress Elton Gallegly (R)
 • Total 3.869 sq mi (10.019 km2)
 • Land 3.868 sq mi (10.018 km2)
 • Water 0.001 sq mi (0.002 km2)  0.02%
Elevation 571 ft (174 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,890
 • Density 490/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93440
Area code(s) 805
FIPS code 06-43252
GNIS feature ID 0245130

Los Alamos is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Although located in the Los Alamos Valley, the town of Los Alamos is usually considered to be a part of the Santa Ynez Valley community. Los Alamos is also connected to other cities Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc, Buellton and other Santa Barbara County cities. The population was 1,890 at the 2010 census, up from 1,372 at the 2000 census.


In 1839, José Antonio de la Guerra, a son of José de la Guerra y Noriega received the Rancho Los Alamos Mexican land grant. The hills above Rancho Los Alamos served as a hideout for bandito, Solomon Pico, whose escapades were popularized by the character "Zorro". During the USA's centennial year of 1876, Thomas Bell along with his nephew John S. Bell, and Dr. James B. Shaw (all from San Francisco), purchased acreage from Rancho Los Alamos and neighboring Rancho La Laguna. Both families allocated a half square mile from each of their new ranches to create the Los Alamos town site with "Centennial Street" as the central thoroughfare.

The Los Alamos Valley prospered and grew quickly serving as a popular stagecoach stop from 1861-1901. The Union Hotel opened in 1880 to serve overnight travelers. The narrow-gauge Pacific Coast Railway also ran to Los Alamos from San Luis Obispo between 1882-1940. Oil was discovered at the Orcutt field in hills north of Valley in 1901, and in the Purisima Hills south of the valley at the Lompoc Oil Field in 1903, providing more economic prosperity. The town flagpole at Centennial and Bell Street was dedicated in 1918. The Chamber of Commerce was active from 1920–32 and instrumental in forming a lighting district, obtaining telephone service, street paving and mail service. Residents today still pick-up their mail from the Post Office downtown, as no street delivery is available.

The growth of the Santa Barbara County wine region, and the popularity of the acclaimed film Sideways and local wineries, have led to the Valley's continued prosperity.

Los Alamos, California is also home to the last standing Pacific Coast Railroad Station, which at present houses the Depot Antique Mall, the town's main attraction. The Depot Mall is one of the largest antique malls in the area with more than 60 dealers.


Los Alamos is located at 34°44′31″N 120°16′31″W / 34.74194°N 120.27528°W / 34.74194; -120.27528 (34.741984, -120.275397).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km2), 99.98% of it land and 0.02% of it water.

Los Alamos is located near the Santa Ynez Valley in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country, on U.S. Route 101. It is a small, unincorporated town in a region of ranches, oil fields, vegetable farms (broccoli, lettuce and strawberries), and wine grape vineyards. While Los Alamos is in a narrow valley, the surrounding terrain consists of rolling hills.

Los Alamos is relatively isolated. It is about 10 miles (16 km) to Buellton, California, and Solvang, California and Los Olivos, California to the southeast, Guadalupe, Orcutt and Santa Maria, California to the northwest along Highway 101, 135, Vandenberg Road and Cabrillo Highway. Lompoc, California and Vandenberg Air Force Base are to the west and southwest, respectively. California State Route 135 is the main road to the base. The large Cat Canyon Oil Field is in the hills to the northeast, the Zaca Oil Field to the east-southeast, and the Orcutt Oil Field is in the hills to the northwest of the town.

San Antonio Creek passes through the town on the way to the ocean.


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Los Alamos has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[3]

Climate data for Los Alamos, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 81
Source: Weatherbase [4]



The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Los Alamos had a population of 1,890. The population density was 488.6 people per square mile (188.6/km²). The racial makeup of Los Alamos was 1,667 (88.2%) White, 5 (0.3%) African American, 10 (0.5%) Native American, 32 (1.7%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 134 (7.1%) from other races, and 42 (2.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 773 persons (40.9%).

The Census reported that 1,890 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 628 households, out of which 244 (38.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 369 (58.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 55 (8.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 37 (5.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 30 (4.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 8 (1.3%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 124 households (19.7%) were made up of individuals and 28 (4.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01. There were 461 families (73.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.52.

The population was spread out with 495 people (26.2%) under the age of 18, 173 people (9.2%) aged 18 to 24, 454 people (24.0%) aged 25 to 44, 589 people (31.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 179 people (9.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females there were 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.

There were 681 housing units at an average density of 176.0 per square mile (68.0/km²), of which 386 (61.5%) were owner-occupied, and 242 (38.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.4%. 1,141 people (60.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 749 people (39.6%) lived in rental housing units.


At the 2000 census,[6] there were 1,372 people, 471 households and 349 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 582.8 per square mile (225.4/km²). There were 488 housing units at an average density of 207.3 per square mile (80.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 76.90% White, 0.22% African American, 1.82% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.51% Pacific Islander, 15.09% from other races, and 4.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 34.69% of the population.

There were 471 households of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.36.

Age distribution was 31.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median household income was $47,321, and the median family income was $49,125. Males had a median income of $32,206 versus $30,714 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,013. About 10.3% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.


The main street in Los Alamos is Bell Street, or California Route 135. Many businesses line the street, such as the historic Victorian Mansion Bed & Breakfast, an 1864 Victorian that houses six themed suites, or the Union Hotel, an old Wells Fargo stagecoach stop. The town also features antique stores, wine tasting, art galleries such as the C Gallery or the ArtBrut Gallery, and eateries such as Full of Life Flatbread[7] (now open on Thursdays), Twin Oaks (now closed),[8] Bell Street Farms,[9] and Cafe Quackenbush. In addition to the wonderful cuisine in Los Alamos, the town also features tasting rooms for two local wineries; Bedford Winery[10] and Casa Dumetz Wines.[11] Several of these eateries and wineries were featured in the summer 2012 issue of Edible Santa Barbara.[12] The local elementary school, Olga Reed School, is located next to Los Alamos County Park. The second park in Los Alamos is Arthur Ferrini Park, located next to the U.S Post Office. Many locals walk or ride their bicycles around town. Los Alamos Old Days is a celebration held in September annually on Bell Street. Los Alamos Old Days is usually two days long and offers stands and booths as well as a parade that celebrates the agriculture and history aroung Los Alamos Valley, the Valley of the Cottonwoods. In fact "Los Alamos" in Spanish means "The Cottonwoods".

Los Alamos is located off the U.S 101 about 10 miles (16 km) north of Buellton, and 15 miles (24 km) south of Santa Maria. Los Alamos is approximately 155 miles (249 km) north of Los Angeles.


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ Climate Summary for Los Alamos, California
  4. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on November 2, 2013.
  5. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Full of Life Flatbreads". 
  8. ^ "Twin Oaks closed". 
  9. ^ "Bell Street Farn". 
  10. ^ "Bedford Winery". 
  11. ^ "Casa Dumetz Wines". 
  12. ^ "Road Trip: Los Alamos". Edible Santa Barbara. Retrieved 14 June 2012.