|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2011)|
|City of Ojai|
Location in Ventura County and the state of California
|Named for||Chumash: 'Awha'y ("Moon")|
|• Mayor||Paul Blatz|
|• Senate||Hannah-Beth Jackson (D)|
|• Assembly||Das Williams (D)|
|• U. S. Congress||Julia Brownley (D)|
|• Total||4.401 sq mi (11.398 km2)|
|• Land||4.386 sq mi (11.359 km2)|
|• Water||0.015 sq mi (0.040 km2) 0.35%|
|Elevation||745 ft (227 m)|
|• Density||1,700/sq mi (650/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|ZIP codes||93023 & 93024|
|GNIS feature ID||1652763|
Ojai (// OH-hy) is a city in Ventura County in the U.S. state of California. Located in the Ojai Valley, it is northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara. The valley is about 10 miles (16 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide, surrounded by hills and mountains. The population was 7,461 at the 2010 census, down from 7,862 at the 2000 census.
Ojai is a tourism destination with boutique hotels and recreation opportunities including hiking, and spiritual retreats, as well as for a farmers' market on Sundays with local organic agriculture. It also has small businesses specializing in local and ecologically friendly art, design, and home improvement—such as galleries and a solar power company. Chain stores (other than a few gas stations) are prohibited by Ojai city law to encourage local small business development and keep the town unique.
The city's self-styled nickname is "Shangri-La" referencing the natural beauty of this health-and-spirituality-focused region. While there are no known references, it is commonly claimed that the mountains visible from the city were used, but then cut, from the 1937 movie as the mystical sanctuary of James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon.
Chumash Indians were the early inhabitants of the valley. They called it Ojai, which derives from the Ventureño Chumash word ʼawhaý meaning "moon". The area became part of the Rancho Ojai Mexican land grant made to Fernando Tico in 1837, and he established a cattle ranch. Tico sold it in 1853 without much success to prospectors searching for oil. By 1864, the area was settled.
The town was laid out in 1874 by real estate developer R.G. Surdam and named Nordhoff, California, in honor of the writer Charles Nordhoff. Leading up to and during World War I, American sentiment became increasingly anti-German. Across the United States, German and German-sounding place names were changed. As part of this trend, Nordhoff was renamed Ojai in 1917.
The public high school in Ojai is still named Nordhoff High School. The public junior high school, named "Matilija", formerly served as Nordhoff Union High School and still features large tiles with the initials "NUHS" on the steps of the athletic field.
The main turning point in the development of the city was the coming of Edward Libbey, early owner of the Libbey Glass Company. He saw the valley and fell in love, thinking up many plans for expansion and beautification of the existing rustic town.
A fire destroyed much of the original western-style downtown Nordhoff—Ojai in 1917. Afterwards Libbey helped design, finance, and build a new downtown more in line with the then contemporary taste for Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture. The projects included a Spanish-style arcade along the main street, a bell-tower reminiscent of the famous campanile of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis in Havana, and a pergola opposite the arcade.
To thank Libbey for his gifts to the town, the citizens proposed a celebration to take place on March 2 of each year. Libbey declined their offer to call it "Libbey Day", and instead suggested "Ojai Day". The celebration still takes place each year in October.
The arcade and bell tower still stand, and have come to serve as symbols of the city and the surrounding valley. Libbey's pergola was destroyed in 1971, after being damaged in an explosion. It was rebuilt in the early 2000s to complete the architectural continuity of the downtown area.
Ojai is located at  The city is generally at 745 feet (227 m) above sea level.(34.449079, -119.246654).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), of which only 0.35% is water, and the rest is land.
Since Ojai is lined up with an east-west mountain range, it is one of few towns in the world to have a "Pink Moment" occur as the sun is setting. The fading sunlight creates a brilliant shade of pink for several minutes on the Topatopa Bluffs, over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above sea level at the east end of the Ojai Valley. Nordhoff Ridge, the western extension of the Topatopa Mountains, towers over the north side of the town and valley at more than 5,000 feet (1,500 m). Sulphur Mountain creates the southern ranges bounding the Ojai Valley, a little under 3,000 feet (910 m) in elevation. The Sulphur and Topatopa Mountains are part of the Transverse Ranges system.
The Ventura River flows through the Ventura River Valley, draining the mountains surrounding Ojai to the north and east and emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the city of Ventura. The Ventura River was once known for its steelhead fishing before Matilija Dam and Lake Casitas were constructed, eliminating habitat for this trout species.
The climate of Ojai is Mediterranean, characterized by hot, dry summers, sometimes exceeding 100 °F (38 °C), and mild winters, with lows at night sometimes below freezing. As is typical for much of coastal southern California, most precipitation falls in the form of rain between the months of October and April, with intervening dry summers.
|Climate data for Ojai, California (1905-2012)|
|Record high °F (°C)||91
|Average high °F (°C)||66.6
|Average low °F (°C)||35.9
|Record low °F (°C)||13
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.92
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ .01 in)||6||6||6||4||2||1||0||0||1||2||3||5||36|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Ojai had a population of 7,461. The population density was 1,695.3 people per square mile (654.6/km²). The racial makeup of Ojai was 6,555 (87.9%) White, 42 (0.6%) African American, 47 (0.6%) Native American, 158 (2.1%) Asian, 1 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 440 (5.9%) from other races, and 218 (2.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,339 persons (17.9%).
The Census reported that 7,281 people (97.6% of the population) lived in households, 48 (0.6%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 132 (1.8%) were institutionalized.
There were 3,111 households, out of which 876 (28.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,396 (44.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 366 (11.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 128 (4.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 151 (4.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 25 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 992 households (31.9%) were made up of individuals and 496 (15.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34. There were 1,890 families (60.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.95.
The population was spread out with 1,520 people (20.4%) under the age of 18, 515 people (6.9%) aged 18 to 24, 1,446 people (19.4%) aged 25 to 44, 2,547 people (34.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,433 people (19.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.1 years. For every 100 females there were 84.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.
There were 3,382 housing units at an average density of 768.5 per square mile (296.7/km²), of which 1,717 (55.2%) were owner-occupied, and 1,394 (44.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 4,243 people (56.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3,038 people (40.7%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,862 people, 3,088 households, and 1,985 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,773.0 people per square mile (685.2/km²). There were 3,229 housing units at an average density of 728.2 per square mile (281.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.01% White, 0.60% African American, 0.50% Native American, 1.58% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 6.26% from other races, and 2.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.84% of the population.
There were 3,088 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.
The median income for households in the city was $44,593, and the median income for a family was $52,917. Males had a median income of $40,919 versus $30,821 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,670. About 7.9% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.9% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.
- Ojai Unified School District
- Chaparral High School
- Matilija Junior High School
- Meiners Oaks Elementary School
- Mira Monte Elementary School
- Nordhoff High School
- San Antonio School
- Summit Elementary School
- Topa Topa Elementary School
The Ojai Valley is home to several private boarding schools:
- Besant Hill School (formerly Happy Valley School)
- The Thacher School
- Ojai Valley School
- Villanova Preparatory School
- The Oak Grove School
- Monica Ros School (preschool through 3rd grade)
- The Brooks Institute of Photography's Ventura Campus is about 10 miles (16 km) south of Ojai on State Route 33
- The Ojai Valley is also home to: the Montessori School of Ojai, a private day school, Laurel Springs School, which specializes in distance education and home-schooling, and Global Village School, a progressive K–12 homeschooling program.
- Camp Ramah in California is in the hills of Ojai.
Public Libraries: Ventura County Library—14 county locations, with three branches in the Ojai Valley:
Ojai's culture is heavily focused on ecology, health and organic agriculture, walking/hiking, spirituality, music and local art. It is often seen as a hippie-friendly city, and many New Age shops exist. The benign climate has also fostered subcultures devoted to driving and exhibiting classic cars and there are several motorcycle clubs that regularly tour through Ojai as well. On 8 July 1999 former Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad, one of the twelve men who walked on the moon, died of injuries suffered from a motorcycle accident in Ojai.
The Ojai Music Festival, founded in 1947, is an annual festival of performances by some of the world's top musicians and composers, and occurs on the first weekend after Memorial Day. Notable appearances include Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Pierre Boulez, who was festival director in 2003. The outdoor bookshop Bart's Books, subject of news programs and documentaries, has been in Ojai since 1964. Ojai is home to the annual Ojai Playwrights Conference, a two week playwrights festival that brings professional writers and actors from across the country to Ojai. The community is served by The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Ojai Valley News and The Ojai Post.
Ojai is the setting for the 2010 comedy film Easy A (much of which was shot on location), and for part of Michael Scott's book The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Ojai is the location of the fruit orchards of the fictional Ojai Foods, central to the conflict and drama of the Walker family in the ABC series Brothers & Sisters.
The title characters of TV series The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man (Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin) are described in the series as having been childhood sweethearts in Ojai, and a number of episodes from both series take place in Ojai and its vicinity.
Ojai is shown in a mile marker in the Steven Seagal movie Hard to Kill after Kelly Lebrock's nurse character rescues him from an assassination attempt at a hospital.
The town of Ojai and its surrounding area is home to many recreational activities. Los Padres National Forest borders the town on the north, and many back country areas within the forest are accessible from Highway 33, the major north–south highway through town. Matilija Creek is a spot to enjoy splashing under waterfalls, backpacking, and soaking in a hot spring. To the west, the Lake Casitas Recreation Area offers camping, picnicking, and hiking as well.
The valley has several public courts in downtown Libbey Park. There are also two major golf courses: the Soule Park Golf Course, and the noted Ojai Valley Inn Golf Course.
Annually, in early April, the town hosts a bicycle race that draws professional and amateur teams from around the country. The "Garrett Lemire Memorial Grand Prix" began in 2004 as a tribute to a 22-year-old cyclist from Ojai who died racing his bicycle in Arizona the previous year. The race is held on a 1 mile (1.6 km) circuit that circumnavigates Libbey Bowl in the heart of downtown Ojai. Proceeds from event promote cycling safety and education in local schools. Also in April, "The Ojai" tennis tournament is held. It is the oldest tennis tournament west of the Mississippi River (founded in the 1887) and has been an early competition for many players who went on to earn one or more Grand Slam titles.
In early June, often coinciding with the Music Festival, the Ojai Wine Festival is held at Lake Casitas. Over 3,000 wine lovers sample the products of over 30 wineries. Proceeds go to charity.
Notable current and past residents
- Lori Jo Hendrix, model, actress
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, musicians
- Bud Abbott, actor, producer, and comedian
- David Allen, author, Getting Things Done
- June Allyson, actress
- Colman Andrews, writer and editor
- Ethel Percy Andrus, founder of AARP
- Sergio Aragonés, cartoonist
- Paul Bergmann, football player
- Max Bemis, lead singer of the band Say Anything
- Elmer Bernstein, film and television composer
- Emily Blunt, actress
- Ingrid Boulting, artist, actress
- Pierre Bouvier, singer of Simple Plan
- Eileen Brennan, actress
- Mario Calire, Grammy award winning drummer
- Julie Christensen, singer
- Julie Christie, Oscar-winning actress
- Cory Coffey, BMX rider
- Dave England, Jackass star
- Glenn Corbett, actor
- Anthony de Mello, Spiritual leader
- Byron Katie, Spiritual leader
- John Diehl, director, actor in Stargate and The Shield
- Ellen DeGeneres, stand-up comedian, television host, actress
- Vernon Dvorak, meteorologist, Dvorak Technique for tropical cyclone analysis
- Maynard Ferguson, jazz musician, composer
- Joe Flanigan, actor
- Robben Ford, blues/jazz guitarist and vocalist
- Larry Hagman, actor in I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas
- Anne Heche, actress, director, and screenwriter
- Toby Hemingway, actor in The Covenant and Feast of Love moved to Ojai with his mother when he was 13. His mother, writer Annamaria Hemingway lives there still.
- Otto and Vivika Heino, ceramic artists, "The Pottery"
- Anthony Hopkins, actor
- Richard Jefferson, Australia-based molecular biologist, open source science advocate, founder of CAMBIA
- Mikael Jorgensen, keyboardist for Wilco
- Cody Kasch, actor and SAG award winner for Desperate Housewives
- Linda Kelsey, actress in Lou Grant
- Roger Kellaway, jazz pianist and composer.
- Ed Kowalczyk, lead singer for Live
- John Krasinski, actor 
- Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher
- Diane Ladd, actress, writer, director nominated three times each for Emmys and Oscars
- John Langley, creator of COPS
- Harry Lauter, character actor in film and television
- James Kyson Lee, Korean American film actor, was educated at Villanova Preparatory School
- Zachary Levi, actor in Chuck and Less Than Perfect
- Ted Levine, actor in The Silence of the Lambs and TV's Monk
- Larry Linville, actor in M*A*S*H
- Jackie Lomax, musician, first artist signed to Apple Records, a label started by The Beatles
- S.A. Martinez, singer/rapper of the group 311
- Dave Mason, English musician, singer and songwriter
- Elisabeth Maurus (aka Lissie), folk-rock musician
- Malcolm McDowell, actor
- Charles Millard Pratt, oil industrialist and philanthropist
- Rodney Mullen, Skateboarder
- Bill Paxton, actor in Aliens and Apollo 13
- Caspar Poyck, actor, producer, chef, speaker and psychodigestive therapist
- Anthony Quinn, actor, painter, and writer
- Betsy Randle, actress, Boy Meets World
- Rick Rossovich, actor in Top Gun and Roxanne
- Louise Sandhaus, graphic designer
- Peter Scolari, actor in Newhart and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show
- Jan Smithers, actress in WKRP in Cincinnati
- Mary Steenburgen, Oscar-winning actress, who lived and raised her children in Ojai
- Izzy Stradlin, guitarist, formerly in rock group "Guns N' Roses"
- Donna Steichen, Roman Catholic journalist and critic of feminism
- Peter Strauss, actor in The Jericho Mile and Rich Man, Poor Man
- Loretta Young, actress and TV Hostess
- Chuck Testa, taxidermist and subject of an internet meme
- Caroline Thompson, screenwriter and director
- Christopher Trumbo, screenwriter
- Rodney Walker, mid-century modern architect.
- Reese Witherspoon, Oscar-winning actress and producer.
- Beatrice Wood, artist, teacher at the Happy Valley School
- David Zucker, director of Airplane!, Top Secret!, and The Naked Gun
- McCall, Lynne; Perry, Rosalind (2002). California’s Chumash Indians : a project of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Education Center (Revised edition ed.). San Luis Obispo, Calif: EZ Nature Books. ISBN 0936784156.
- U.S. Census
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ojai, California
- "Visit Ojai" City of Ojai official website. Accessed 28 February 2014
- Harrington, John Peabody. The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957. Kraus International Publications, 1981, 3.89.66-73
- "MAP of the town of NORDHOFF" 1 MR 225. Ventura County Recorder Retrieved December 3, 2013 from CountyView GIS.
- Meltzer, Betty Kikumi (2005-08-21). "Looking for Charles Nordhoff". Redlands Daily Facts (Redlands, Calif.).
- Wigglesworth, Angela (1998-08-29). "Rediscovering the Lost Horizon: Shangri-la Does Exist - It's in California and It's Idyllic, says Angela Wigglesworth". Financial Times (London (UK)). p. 18.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- 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.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Ojai Library
- Oak View Library
- Meiners Oaks Library
- Third Man to Walk on Moon Dies in Motorcycle Accident NASA Press Release, 1999-07-09.
- Head at the Internet Movie Database
- "History" The Ojai Tennis Tournament official Website Accessed 28 February 2014
- Beale, Lauren (October 14, 2012) "A place to get away from 'The Office'" Los Angeles Times
- Hernandez, Marjorie (September 28, 2011). "Video of resident Ojai taxidermist goes viral" Ventura County Star
- "Local Screenwriter Dies". Ventura Breeze. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Beale, Lauren (January 18, 2014) "Reese Witherspoon no longer legally bound to Ojai ranch" Los Angeles Times
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ojai, California.|
- The City of Ojai
- Ojai Wikimapia
- New York Times: "Spas and Stars, but Ojai Tries to Stay Grounded"
||Meiners Oaks||Unincorporated Ventura County||Unincorporated Ventura County|
|Unincorporated Ventura County||Upper Ojai Valley|
|Unincorporated Ventura County||Mira Monte||Unincorporated Ventura County|