Before the arrival of Europeans, Oxnard was home to Native Americans of the “Chumash” Tribe, who thrived on seafood from the Pacific Ocean, as well as Freshwater from the Santa Clara River, which separates Oxnard from the town of Ventura. The Santa Clara River has several tributaries, including Sespe Creek, Piru Creek and Castaic Creek. In conjunction with the area’s very mild, Mediterranean Climate, these rivers and creeks contributed to a very hospitable environment.
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And so it was, when the Europeans arrived. The first European to arrive was the Portuguese explorer Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho, who claimed the Oxnard area for Spain in 1542. It didn’t take very long for Spanish Catholic Missionaries to arrive, and soon there was a mission established – Mission San Buenaventura. Other Spanish settlors arrived, and Oxnard became a prosperous Ranching community.
In 1849, when Gold was discovered in Santa Clarita, California, American prospectors, settlors and farmers began to arrive by the thousands. So much so, that just a year later – in 1850 – California became a State of the United States of America. At first, the American Farmers cultivated Barley, and Lima Beans, but soon, the welcoming climate allowed for a multi-faceted agricultural economy, including Strawberries, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Clara Shortridge Foltz who pioneered public defending was the very first female lawyer to arrive to the west cost at the time. Throughout the state of California the development and increase in population helped invite more Criminal Defense Lawyers as well as Personal Injury Lawyers, it was the beginning of a new era for the legal system in the State.
In the late 1890’s, Henry T. Oxnard established a successful Sugar Beet Factory, along with his three brothers (Benjamin, James and Robert) near the neighboring Port Hueneme. As the Sugar Beet business thrived and flourished, Henry Oxnard named the town after himself, and Oxnard got its first Railroad Station. The Railroad Station brought even more commerce, and attracted a population of Chinese, Japanese and Mexican laborers. The Oxnard Sugar Beet Factory operated continuously from 1899 to 1959, when it closed.
Oxnard has over twenty (20) miles of uncrowded beaches, with sand that is extremely white, and extremely soft. The sand dunes on the Oxnard beaches were used to recreate Middle-Eastern / Saharan desert dunes, in Hollywood’s early movies, including “The Sheik,” starring Rudolph Valentino. While Oxnard’s beaches are free from rocks, driftwood and trash, they do have very dangerous Rip-tides at certain locations. Surfing is excellent.
Since Oxnard is no more than an hour-and-a-half drive from Los Angeles, it is well worth a Sunday trip to buy some Strawberries, and get some sun tanning at the beach.
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