|1830: Lopez Adobe, at the mouth of Matilija Canyon. Originally served as a soldiers' garrison under the command of Raphael Lopez. The Lopez family lived here for about 90 years. The walls still stand, incorporated into a private dwelling.|
– The United States takes possession of California.
1853 – Fernando Tico sells Rancho Ojai.
|1854 - The earliest known image of the valley was a lithograph made by A. H. Campbell, during surveying for a railroad route from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.|
Oil and Tourism
1861 – George
Gilbert extracts and refines oil near Rancho Arnaz.
1867 – Thomas
Bard, agent for Thomas A. Scott's California Petroleum Company, finally strikes oil in Well No. 6 in the upper Ojai.
But it is too little to late.
But it is too little to late.
1868 – Thomas Bard (at right), at Scott's instruction, sells the first subdivided land within Rancho Ojai.
1872 – Charles Nordhoff’s California for Health, Pleasure and Residence is
1873 – William McKee opens Oak Glen Cottages in the east valley.
|1874 - First jail. Built by town constable Andy Van Curen in his back yard. |
No windows, two cells, six-inch slots for air.
The Village of Nordhoff
1874 – Royce
Surdam (at right) establishes the village of Nordhoff (now the City of Ojai).
1874 – Abram
Wheeler Blumberg’s hotel opens with a grand ball.
|1876 - The Nordhoff School officially opens. John Montgomery donated the land for the first
school in the town center to be built. After a new school was built in 1895, the little brick schoolhouse was used as a private home by several families and later served as several bed and breakfasts. The much-altered school is now the Lavender Inn (a bed & breakfast). |
1875 – The first Ojai Valley Grange organizes.
1876 – John
Meiners gets a ranch northwest of the village of Nordhoff for an unpaid debt.
1877 – Presbyterians begin regular church services that are held in the brick schoolhouse until a church is built in 1884. (Presbyterians were the first to organize a church in the valley).
1881 – Charles Nordhoff makes his first visit to the valley, escorted by William Hollister.
1887 – Railroad services begin between Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
|1884 - First church in the valley. a Presbyterian Church, is built on Ojai Avenue where Fairway Lane is today. The American Colonial Revival structure still stands at the corner of Montgomery and Aliso Streets. Photo: a new bell is hoisted to the belfry in 1889.|
1889 – Sherman Thacher begins taking students for college preparation tutoring.
1891 – The
Ojai newspaper is first published (now the Ojai Valley News).
1893 – The George Thacher Memorial Free Library opens on a lot east of Stewart Creek and 100 feet south of Ojai Avenue.
1893 – Postmaster controversy
1893 – Mary
Gally takes over management of Oak Glen Cottages (Gally Cottages).
1894 – Charles Nordhoff makes his third visit to the valley with his wife and three
1895 – The
Casa de Piedra Ranch School (Thacher School) is destroyed by fire.
1895 – The Nordhoff Grammar School is built on the corner of Ojai Avenue and Montgomery Street.
1895 – William Thacher organizes the Athletic Club and the Tennis Club. A local competition takes place in 1896 with the Ojai Valley Tennis Club challenging the Ventura Tennis Club.
|Nordhoff Hotel built in 1874 by Abram Blumberg where Libbey Park is today.|
|1898 – The
village stages a “Jubilation” to celebrate opening of its new railroad line.
1899 – Tennis tournaments continue to expand yearly and by 1899 a single elimination format with multiple categories and interscholastic matches is held in Nordhoff with spectator attendance of over 500. Some consider this the first "Ojai".
1899 – Golf
is first played in the valley, sponsored by Mary Gally at her cottages.
1899 – The
King’s Daughters is organized (a women's service auxiliary of the Presbyterian Church).
Ojai Improvement Company is formed to construct a luxury hotel.
|1900 - Ojai Avenue. These building fronts were covered by the Ojai Arcade, completed in 1917|
1903 – The
first Foothills Hotel is constructed (designed by Samuel M. Ilsley).
1904 – The
Evelyn Hunter Nordhoff Memorial Fountain is constructed on Ojai Avenue.
1908 – Edward
Thacher is among leaders establishing the Ojai Orange Association.
1908 – The
entrance towers at Foster Park are dedicated.
1909 – Nordhoff High School opens.
1909 – The Charles Pratt house is constructed on Foothill Road (designed by Greene & Greene).
Free-ranging chickens roost along Main Street (Ojai Avenue).
1910 – The
Ojai Orange Association Packing House is constructed.
The Great Transformation
1911 – The Edward Libbey house is constructed on Foothill Road (designed by Myron Hunt & Elmer
1911 – Nick Peirano supplies his Ventura store with fruit from his Santa Ana Valley ranch.
1914 – Candelaria Valenzuela tells of her Chumash people and culture.
1915 – Donald
Crisp directs filming of Ramona at Casitas Springs.
1916 – Construction begins for the
arcade, post office tower and pergola designed by San Diego architects Frank Mead and Richard Requa and financed by Mr. Libbey.
1917 – The arcade, post office tower and pergola are complete. The occasion is celebrated at the first Ojai Day on April 7, 1917 (a day after the United States enters WWI).
1917 – The
village name is changed from Nordhoff to Ojai.
1917 – Fire
rages out of Matilija Canyon in June and devastates much of the residential portion of town. Does not damage the new arcade, post office, or pergola.
1917 – A second fire in November burns out the businesses at the west end of the arcade.
1918 – The
second Foothills Hotel is constructed (designed by Mead & Requa).
1920 – Hotel
El Roblar is constructed. Designed by Mead & Requa (now the Oaks at Ojai).
1922 – Jiddu
Krishnamurti first visits the valley.
1923 – The 1st building of the Ojai Valley School is constructed (designed by Wallace Neff).
1923 – The clubhouse at the Ojai Valley Country Club is built from a design by Pasadena architect Wallace Neff (now the Ojai Valley Inn).
1924 – The
library and music room at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy are constructed.
1924 – The
Villanova Preparatory School for Boys opens.
1926 – Annie Besant, International President of the Theosophical Society, visits.
1926 - Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and Frank Frost sponsor a music festival.
1926 – The
Ojai Valley Garden Club is founded.
1928 – The
Foster Bowl at Foster Park is constructed (designed by Roy Wilson).
1929 – The William Ford house is constructed (designed by Paul Williams).
1933 – Civil Conservation Corps workers first arrive in the valley.
Snowy Topa Topa, circa 1935
1939 – Dr.
Charles Butler leads in founding the Ojai Community Art Center and raising the building funds.
The Second World War
1942 – The
134th Infantry takes over the country club as a combat training camp.
1942 – The
Monica Ros School and California Preparatory School open.
1943 – The 17th Infantry from New Jersey replaces the 134th Infantry (from Nebraska).
1944 – The
Seabees Acorn Assembly & Training Detachment replaces the 17th Infantry.
1945 - Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are here to raise funds for the Navy Relief
A Reach for World Renown
1946 - Aldous Huxley is among the directors of the new Happy Valley School.
1946 – The
Chekhov Players open the High Valley Theater.
1946 – The
Clarence Wylie house is constructed (designed by Harwell Hamilton Harris).
1947 – The
country club reopens after the war with a new name: Ojai Valley Inn.
1947 – The
first concerts of the Ojai Music Festival are performed.
1948 – Beatrice Wood establishes her pottery studio in the east valley.
1951 – The
first “spill over” occurs at the Matilija Dam.
Spirit of the Valley
1952 – The
James Moore house is constructed designed by Richard Neutra.
1952 - Pat and Mike is filmed at the Inn with Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracey.
1955 – Igor
Stravinsky conducts at the Ojai Music Festival.
|Igor Stravinsky||Aaron Copeland|
1955 – Camp
Ramah opens at the site of the former California Preparatory School (formerly the Foothills Hotel).
1955 – The
last train runs on the Ventura-Ojai rail line.
1956 – Avatar Meher Baba visits Meher Mount atop Sulphur Mountain.
1957 – Aaron
Copeland conducts at the Ojai Music Festival.
1958 – The Casitas
Dam and reservoir are constructed (Lake Casitas).
through the Sixties
1968 – Florence Garrigue leads in establishing Meditation Mount.
1969 – The
Krishnamurti Foundation opens the Oak Grove School.
1971 – The
pergola and memorial fountain are removed by the City of Ojai.
1978 – The
first “spill over” occurs at the Casitas Dam (Lake Casitas).
1979 – Ravi
Shankar first performs at the Ojai Music Festival.
1979 – The
Ojai Foundation is established in the upper valley.
1984 – Olympic canoe, kayak and scull races are conducted at Lake Casitas.
The Century’s End
1993 – The Ojai Institute opens (now the Ojai Retreat.)
1998 – Beatrice Wood dies a week after celebrating her 105th birthday.
1999 – The
pergola and memorial fountain are reconstructed.
2000 – The 100th anniversary of the Ojai Tennis Tournament is celebrated.
Ojai Tennis Tourney Photo: Daly Road Graphics
Time Marches On
2001 - Ojai holds a memorial at Libbey Park for victims of the “9/11” disaster in New York City.
2002 - The new Cluff Vista Park is dedicated.
2003 - The City of Ojai passes Ordinance #765 creating the Public Art Program.
2004 - The first Lemire Grand Prix introduces professional bicycling races to Ojai.
2005 - The new Rotary Community Park is dedicated.
2006 - The Oaks at Ojai (originally El Roblar Hotel) undergoes major renovation.
2009 - Nordhoff High School celebrates its 100th year.