Place:Ojai, Ventura, California, United States

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NameOjai
TypeCity
Coordinates34.449°N 119.247°W
Located inVentura, California, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Ojai 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 long by 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 known for its boutique hotels, recreation opportunities, hiking, spiritual retreats and farmers' market of 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 origin of the name Ojai has historically been known as derived from an Indigenous word meaning nest, though the specific Indigenous nation is not identified. The city's self-styled nickname is "Shangri-La" referencing the natural environment of this health and spirituality-focused region as well as the mystical sanctuary of 1937 film adaption of James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon.

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History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Chumash

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.

Nordhoff

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.

Railroad

The Ventura and Ojai Valley Railroad connected Ojai to the national rail network near Ventura station in 1898. A nine-day Pineapple Express with rainfall intensity reaching per per day caused floods destroying the rail line in January 1969. The former rail line was converted to the Ojai Valley Trail in 1989.

Libbey

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.

The Taormina neighborhood was established as the first historic district in the city in 2016. The housing development was built in the style of French architecture of Normandy in the 1960s and 1970s by members of the Theosophy movement adjacent to the Krotona Institute of Theosophy. Taormina's founder, theosophist Ruth Wilson, envisioned the development as a retirement community for fellow theosophists but in the early 1980s a court ruling required the community to be open to residents of all faiths and backgrounds.

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