Santa Paula, California

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City of Santa Paula
City
Official seal of City of Santa Paula
Seal
Location in Ventura County and the state of California
Location in Ventura County and the state of California
Coordinates: 34°21′21″N 119°4′6″W / 34.35583°N 119.06833°W / 34.35583; -119.06833Coordinates: 34°21′21″N 119°4′6″W / 34.35583°N 119.06833°W / 34.35583; -119.06833
Country  United States
State  California
County Ventura
Incorporated April 22, 1902[1]
Government
 • Senate Hannah-Beth Jackson (D)
 • Assembly Das Williams (D)
 • U. S. Congress Julia Brownley (D)[2]
Area[3]
 • Total 4.707 sq mi (12.189 km2)
 • Land 4.593 sq mi (11.895 km2)
 • Water 0.114 sq mi (0.294 km2)  2.41%
Elevation 279 ft (85 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 29,321
 • Density 6,200/sq mi (2,400/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 93060-93061
Area code(s) 805
FIPS code 06-70042
GNIS feature ID 1652793[4]
Website www.ci.santa-paula.ca.us

Santa Paula is a city within Ventura County, California, United States. The population was 29,321 at the 2010 census, up from 28,598 at the 2000 census. It has been dubbed the "Citrus Capital of the World." As the initial headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California, Santa Paula was one of the early centers of California's enormous petroleum industry.

Geography[edit]

The city of Santa Paula, according to the United States Census Bureau, has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12 km2), 4.6 square miles (12 km2) of it land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (2.41%) water.

History[edit]

The vicinity of Santa Paula was originally inhabited by the Chumash, a Native American people. In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition, first Europeans to see inland areas of California, came down the Santa Clara River Valley from the previous night's encampment near today's Fillmore and camped in the vicinity of Santa Paula on August 12, near one of the creeks coming into the valley from the north (probably Santa Paula Creek). Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary travelling with the expedition, had previously named the valley Cañada de Santa Clara. He noted that the party travelled about 9 to 10 miles (14 to 16 km) that day and camped near a large native village, which he named San Pedro Amoliano.[5] The arrival of the expedition has been designated California Historical Landmark No. 727.[6][note 1][note 2]

Franciscan missionaries, led by Father Junipero Serra, became active in the area after the founding of the San Buenaventura Mission and established an Asistencia; the town takes its name from the Catholic Saint Paula. Santa Paula is located on the 1843 Rancho Santa Paula y Saticoy Mexican land grant.

In 1872 Nathan Weston Blanchard purchased 2,700 acres (10.9 km2) and founded the town of Santa Paula. Several small oil companies owned by Wallace Hardison, Lyman Stewart and Thomas R. Bard were combined and became the Union Oil Company in 1890.

In April 1911, Gaston Méliès moved his Star Film Company from San Antonio, Texas to a site just north of Santa Paula.

The large South Mountain Oil Field southeast of town, just across the Santa Clara River, was discovered by the Oak Ridge Oil Company in 1916, and developed methodically through the 1920s, bringing further economic diversification and growth to the area. While the field peaked in production in the 1950s, Occidental Petroleum continues to extract oil through its Vintage Production subsidiary and remains a significant local employer.

In 1928, the town was devastated by a flood caused by the failure of the St. Francis Dam in the middle of the night. The loss of life would have been greater if it were not for two motorcycle police officers that noisily warned as many people as possible. A sculpture called "The Watchers" in downtown Santa Paula depicts this act of heroism.[7]

Demographics[edit]

2010[edit]

The 2010 United States Census[8] reported that Santa Paula had a population of 29,321. The population density was 6,230.3 people per square mile (2,405.5/km²). The racial makeup of Santa Paula was 18,458 (63.0%) White, 152 (0.5%) African American, 460 (1.6%) Native American, 216 (0.7%) Asian, 24 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 8,924 (30.4%) from other races, and 1,087 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23,299 persons (79.5%).

The Census reported that 29,188 people (99.5% of the population) lived in households, 44 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 89 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 8,347 households, out of which 4,087 (49.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 4,767 (57.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,267 (15.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 650 (7.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 540 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 45 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,331 households (15.9%) were made up of individuals and 678 (8.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.50. There were 6,684 families (80.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.85.

The population was spread out with 8,722 people (29.7%) under the age of 18, 3,295 people (11.2%) aged 18 to 24, 8,012 people (27.3%) aged 25 to 44, 6,193 people (21.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,099 people (10.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.1 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.5 males.

There were 8,749 housing units at an average density of 1,859.1 per square mile (717.8/km²), of which 4,694 (56.2%) were owner-occupied, and 3,653 (43.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.1%. 15,528 people (53.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 13,660 people (46.6%) lived in rental housing units.

2000[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,598 people, 8,137 households, and 6,435 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,214.6 inhabitants per square mile (2,400.4/km²). There were 8,341 housing units at an average density of 1,812.6 per square mile (700.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 35.2% White, 5.41% African American, 1.02% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, .37% from other races, and 4.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 61.2% of the population.[9]

There were 8,136 households out of which 44.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.49 and the average family size was 3.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.4% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 103.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,651, and the median income for a family was $45,419. Males had a median income of $32,165 versus $25,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,736. About 12.2% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Orange Grove outside of Santa Paula, California.

Santa Paula's economy is primarily agriculturally based, originally focusing on the growing of oranges and lemons. Recently, however, avocados have also been grown, and an avocado was added to the city's official seal (Calavo Growers, Inc. is headquartered here.) Santa Paula's mediterranean climate combined with an estimated 20 feet (6.1 m) of topsoil have made it one of the best locations for growing citrus.

Santa Paula has very few large retail stores, the largest of which are Kmart and Vons. Many residents travel to neighboring cities to purchase hard goods. Santa Paula's Main Street area consists mostly of clothing shops, specialty shops, novelty shops, 99-cent stores, restaurants, service-oriented businesses and office space. The city is home to a smattering of neighborhood stores and small grocery markets. Many of these small shops and markets have a distinct Latin-American flavor, often selling myriad imported items. In addition some markets also have a meat department which sells a variety of beef, poultry, and seafood.

Quality of life[edit]

Union Oil's original headquarters, now the California Oil Museum.

Santa Paula has often been described as a quaint town, boasting a main street reminiscent of Middle America but with a Mexican flavor. In contrast to many Southern California cities which have grown into massive metropolitan areas teeming with people, highways, and buildings, Santa Paula is an oasis of tranquility nestled between large greenbelts of citrus and avocado orchards. Unlike neighboring cities such as Oxnard and Ventura, Santa Paula suffers from very little traffic. City roads are free of congestion, and drivers on the Santa Paula Freeway (SR 126) only experience traffic in the event of a major accident. However, despite the city's lower population and semi-rural setting, Santa Paula is generally bustling with life. People are always out and about, walking, socializing, or playing sports at the city's public parks.

The California Oil Museum,[10] within the historic Union Oil building is located downtown, and the Santa Paula Art Museum and Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum are just up the street. The Santa Paula Mural Project has completed numerous murals depicting the city's history.[11]

Popular media[edit]

Santa Paula was the early film capital of California. Gaston Méliès brought his Star Film Company to the city in 1911, filming movies such as The Ghost of Sulphur Mountain.

Santa Paula has been featured in Hollywood media on numerous occasions, some examples include:

On the television drama The West Wing, Santa Paula is the hometown of fictional Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). In early 2005, Santa Paula Mayor Mary Ann Krause began a lobbying campaign to have Santa Paula declared Vinick's hometown. In a publicity move for the town, city officials officially "claim[ed] Senator Arnold Vinick as a resident of Santa Paula," in April 2005, and opened an official campaign headquarters for the fictional Republican Senator in the town's train depot. (Santa Paula for Vinick) On October 14, 2005, NBC released Vinick's official biography and revealed Santa Paula as the town in which he was raised. [1]

The Santa Paula Train Depot was one of the locations for the Thornbirds mini-series starting Richard Chamberlain.

Parts of the movie Disorganized Crime 1989 starring Fred Gwynne of the Munsters, was filmed downtown on Main Street.

Main Street and other locations featured prominently in the 1990 Winona Ryder film Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael.

Chaplin (1992) filmed throughout the surrounding area and held a casting call in town for background actors.

Santa Paula also served as one of the locations for the motion picture Mr. Woodcock (2007) starring Billy Bob Thornton.

A good portion of Joe Dirt (2001) starring David Spade was filmed downtown as well as at the popular restaurant Mary B's.

The Lindsay Lohan movie Georgia Rule (2007) was filmed in Santa Paula.

The majority of the 1997 film Leave It to Beaver was filmed in Santa Paula, with many Santa Paula residents being cast in minor character roles and as extras. The famous scene of Beaver trapped in the giant coffee cup had Main Street Santa Paula blocked off for almost a week while filming continued.

Dennis DeYoung, former lead singer of the popular 1970s rock group Styx, filmed the music video for Desert Moon, also the title of his first solo album, at the Santa Paula train depot in 1984.

Also, parts of the Brian De Palma movie Carrie (1976) starring Sissy Spacek were filmed in the small town.

Other movies that were filmed partially in Santa Paula include The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), the Chinatown sequel The Two Jakes (1990), the Martin Short/Danny Glover buddy comedy Pure Luck (1991), For Love of the Game (1999), Bubble Boy (2001) starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Bedtime Stories (2008) starring Adam Sandler .

After a 1994 fire destroyed their sets in nearby Fillmore, the TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles filmed in various locations including the Ebell Mansion.

The James M. Sharp House is an historical Italian Villa style house built in 1890. It is located on West Telegraph Road, just outside of Santa Paula, and has been the setting for several movies including Amityville 4 (1989), and The Black Gate (1995), and How To Make An American Quilt (1995).

The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot[disambiguation needed] was again used in the season 3 finale of Glee.

Various commercials, including a Super Bowl Budweiser commercial, have been filmed in downtown Santa Paula.

Parts of The Rockford Files episode, "Coulter City Wildcat" were filmed in Santa Paula.

Notable natives and residents[edit]

  • Jim Colborn: Former Major League Baseball pitcher and current pitching coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Laura Diaz: Southern California newscaster. Most notably with KABC-TV from 1983–2002, KCBS-TV from 2002–2011, and KTTV-TV from 2012–Present.
  • Dana Elcar: Actor, played Pete Thornton in the MacGyver television series from 1985-1992. Spent his later years at his home on Laurel Road in Santa Paula.
  • Nola Fairbanks: Born Nola Jo Modine, had a notable singing career on Broadway.
  • Eric Fleming: Actor, born as Edward Heddy, Jr., July 4, 1925.
  • Danny Flores: Musician, a.k.a. Chuck Rio, wrote and played sax on the 1958 song “Tequila”. Also became known as the "Godfather of Latino Rock ‘n’ Roll".
  • Steve McQueen: Actor, spent the last two years of his life (1979–1980) in Santa Paula where he spent some of his time flying his biplane from the Santa Paula Airport. He and his soon-to-be wife Barbara lived in his airplane hangar at the Santa Paula Airport for a time until they moved into a home on South Mountain Road[12] just outside of town.[13]
  • William Lucking: Actor, played Piney on Sons of Anarchy. Spent much of his early career as a resident, raising two daughters and serving on the school board.
  • Charles M. Teague: U.S. Representative from California, was born in Santa Paula and is buried in the local cemetery. He served as director of McKevett Corp. and Teague-McKevett Co.
  • Grupo Bryndis: is an internationally known Mexican musical group. Originated in Santa Paula, California, U.S.A . by their leader, guitarist and song-writer Mauro Posadas in 1983. Grupo Bryndis is also a Latin Grammy Award winner for best album in 2007.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Registered on February 5, 1960 at Harding Park, Santa Paula Boys and Girls Club Recreation Center, 1400 block of East Harvard Blvd
  2. ^ 34°21′21″N 119°03′03″W / 34.35585°N 119.050867°W / 34.35585; -119.050867 Coordinates of plaque

References[edit]

External links[edit]