On the corner of Mountain View and Ventura Street construction is underway for Mountain View Apartments. This will be an affordable housing development made possible with financing from Multifamily Housing Program through the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, California Municipal Finance Agency, Enterprise, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., County of Ventura, Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, Walker & Dunlop, and the City of Fillmore.
On the corner of Mountain View and Ventura Street construction is underway for Mountain View Apartments. This will be an affordable housing development made possible with financing from Multifamily Housing Program through the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, California Municipal Finance Agency, Enterprise, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., County of Ventura, Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, Walker & Dunlop, and the City of Fillmore.
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A train crossing the Sespe River but not using the wooden bridge Hartley Sprague describes. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
A train crossing the Sespe River but not using the wooden bridge Hartley Sprague describes. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Hartley Sprague, owner of Rancho Sespe, whose father was convicted of the murder of T. Wallace.
Hartley Sprague, owner of Rancho Sespe, whose father was convicted of the murder of T. Wallace.
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Harry Peyton, who first began working at Rancho Camulos and built water tanks in Piru.
Harry Peyton, who first began working at Rancho Camulos and built water tanks in Piru.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

In 1887 the Southern Pacific Railroad came through the Santa Clara River Valley, and the rest, as it is said is history. Luckily, some of it was recorded for us. In the 1930s, Charles Jarrett did a series of interviews he titled, “Who’s Who in Fillmore, Meeting the Old Timers.” He interviewed Judge C. C. Elkins, Hugh Warring, Fergus Fairbanks, and many others. Two people he interviewed, Hartley Sprague and Harry Peyton, told about their experiences with the railroad coming to our area.

Harry Peyton was born in Quebec in 1858. When he was twelve, his family moved to Vermont where he lived until turning twenty-one. Over the next few years, he worked his way through the fields of Minnesota and North Dakota and working as a carpenter for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He eventually came to Los Angeles (via New Orleans) and there went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a carpenter. His first work began on the siding near Camulos. Peyton said that he built water tanks at Piru and several section houses (dormitories for railroad personnel) along the route. He is also credited with constructing the Fillmore Southern Pacific depot from the prefabricated panels which arrived on flat car.

According to Mr. Jarrett’s article, Southern Pacific didn’t feed its workers very well, so the workers often bought food from local farmers and ranchers. That is how Mr. Peyton met Miss Haidee Atlee. When his work on the railroad was done, he left briefly for Oregon, but the memory of Miss Atlee stayed with him and he returned to marry her in 1888. Some of their descendants are still living in the area.

Hartley Sprague’s family came to the valley in 1871. His father, Frederick, is remembered for two things – building the first school in the area and being convicted of the murder of T. Wallace More, owner of Rancho Sespe. Those stories have been told elsewhere so we’ll concentrate on what Hartley related to Mr. Jarrett about the coming of the railroad to the Sespe.

“(In 1887) the rails crept slowly down the valley. Finally, the tracklayers reached Fillmore and the engineers built a wooden bridge across the Sespe west of town. Mr. Sprague admits he was very skeptical when he examined the structure and was convinced that it would never carry the weight of a locomotive. Days later he was riding up a trail north of Fillmore when he saw black smoke to the east. Stopping his horse, he sat and waited until the chugging little engine finally appeared and crawled along to what he though was certain doom. Nearing the bridge, the engineer throttled down to a snail’s pace and a few minutes later, the doubting rider – far up on the side of Oat Mountain – breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the puffing little trailbreaker proceeding on towards Santa Paula.”

The wooden bridge was later replaced.

If you have missed any of the stories we have been telling, you can catch up at https://www.fillmorehistoricalmuseum.org/story-index.

 


 
On Wednesday, October 28th at 11:55 am on Bard Street, first responders were called to a collision between a vehicle and a boy on his bicycle. The boy was examined at the scene with minor injuries. Cause of the accident is still under investigation.
On Wednesday, October 28th at 11:55 am on Bard Street, first responders were called to a collision between a vehicle and a boy on his bicycle. The boy was examined at the scene with minor injuries. Cause of the accident is still under investigation.
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On Tuesday, October 20th, Mary Ruth Walker celebrated her 100th birthday by taking her first motorcycle ride through Fillmore. Pictured is Ruthie in “Sidecar Susie” with her family before she takes off. Photos courtesy of the Side Car Team - Jim Estes, ‘Sidecar Susie’ Ellsworth and Troy White
On Tuesday, October 20th, Mary Ruth Walker celebrated her 100th birthday by taking her first motorcycle ride through Fillmore. Pictured is Ruthie in “Sidecar Susie” with her family before she takes off. Photos courtesy of the Side Car Team - Jim Estes, ‘Sidecar Susie’ Ellsworth and Troy White
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Ruthie and her driver Jim Estes riding away in front of her family, friends and neighbors.
Ruthie and her driver Jim Estes riding away in front of her family, friends and neighbors.
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Courtesy Jim Estes

Mary Ruth Walker was born in Santa Paula just a short 100 years ago on October 19, 1920. She was immediately brought home to Fillmore where she has spent each and every one of her delightful first 100 years. When asked by her family what she would like to do to celebrate her first century on earth and 100 years as a resident of Fillmore, she did not hesitate in her response; "I have always wanted to go for a ride on a motorcycle". Despite Ruthie's just having recovered from a broken neck and needing the aid of a walker to get around, Ruthie's family decided to make it happen. The family wisely decided that riding in a sidecar would be a better option for Ruthie than trying to sit on the back of a two-wheeled motorcycle.

Ruthie’s grandchildren contacted Troy White, a custom motorcycle and sidecar builder from the Los Angeles area to see if he knew anyone with a motorcycle/sidecar rig that would be willing to travel to Fillmore on short notice and help make Ruthie's dream ride come true - he didn't. Troy contacted his good friend, lifetime motorcycle enthusiast and member of the Southern California Sidecar Club "Sidecar Susie" Ellsworth. With around 70 years as an integral part of the motorcycle community, Susie is reputed to know everyone and everything related to motorcycles, particularly as related to Southern California. Susie was born into a motorcycle family. Her father not only was a professional motorcycle racer that took Susie to the track as an infant (back in the day he had to race under a pseudonym so he would not be fired from his day job) but performed circus acts under the big top as a clown on a custom built miniature sidecar rig as well. Susie got in touch with her friend and fellow So Cal Sidecar Club member Jim Estes of Oxnard to see if he could help out with Ruthie's wish. Jim has hosted individuals from the age of 3 to 94 years in his sidecar rigs. As a side note, the 94 year old was a nursing home resident from Ventura celebrating her 94th birthday with her very first motorcycle ride - "...I sat on one during the war, but never rode on one". Jim jumped at the chance to participate in Ruthie's celebration.

On the morning of Tuesday October 20th, a group of Ruthie's family, friends, neighbors and well-wishers along with the sidecar team of Susie, Troy and Jim met at Ruthie’s beautiful home on tree-lined Saratoga Street in Fillmore. It was a perfect day. After suiting up with a helmet, jacket and proper safety gear, two of Ruthie's grandsons (one who had travelled all the way from Oklahoma for the event) lovingly lifted Ruthie up and placed her gently into the sidecar awaiting on her front lawn. A lap blanket was placed on her lap and legs to make things cozy. Grinning ear to ear under her Covid mask, the big Harley-Davidson sidecar rig was started and Ruthie was on her way. People with cameras crowded the little neighborhood street waving and wishing Ruthie Godspeed and Happy Birthday. Ruthie waved back as she passed through the neighborhood. The motorcade covered Saratoga street down toward the Train Station, thence on Main over to Central and on to 126 for a bit. All the while, friends neighbors and even complete strangers waving to Ruthie on her 100th birthday motorcycle ride and taking photos. At Ruthie's request, the celebratory entourage made its way over the Santa Clara River and on to the entrance of the recently closed Elkins Ranch Golf Course for a few photographs. Ruthie worked at and was an integral part of the golf course for 25 years. She misses seeing her friends from those times, says "hi" and wishes everyone well.

Retracing the same basic route back to Ruthie's neighborhood, she wanted to stop by the home of some friends a couple of streets over to say "hi" and make them aware of her newly acquired status as centegenarian and Fillmore's newest biker. The rig was pulled right up onto the neighbor's front lawn for some delightful conversation with old friends, expressions of congratulations and of course, more photos. It was a wonderful visit.

Rounding out the afternoon, the group made its way back to Saratoga Street where the block near Ruthie's home was lined with well-wishers and other celebrants with cameras. A couple of passes were made at slow speed up and down the block so Ruthie could wave to everyone and they could all get in their photos. And finally, Ruthie and her motorcycle escort passed back up onto Ruthie's front lawn where she was given a bouquet of flowers and even more photos were taken. All-in-all a magnificent day celebrating a wonderful woman and event.

Fillmore is a wonderful, magical place. It is that way because of the great people that make Fillmore their home and how they touch each other's lives. Just imagine how many lives Ruthie has wonderfully touched in Fillmore over the last 100 years and the portion of the magic and wonderment of Fillmore that surely she must have played a role in creating. Happy 100 Birthday Ruthie!

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Over the past two years, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has seen a rise in residential burglaries throughout the county during the end of the Daylight Savings Time period. These residential burglaries shared several commonalities, including the locations of the residences, which most backed to open space, hiking trails and golf courses. This geographical characteristic allowed the suspects to approach the properties on foot through these open spaces and entering backyards, minimizing their exposure to being seen by law enforcement, victims and neighbors.

These types of burglaries occurred primarily after Daylight Savings Time ended, which allowed the suspects to access the open space under the cover of darkness during the early evening hours. Often times, burglary victims left their residences for dinner and returned after an hour to a ransacked home. Another common factor shared by these burglaries was the method of entry, which was primarily shattered sliding glass doors or windows. Investigators believe the suspects intentionally chose to shatter glass entry points rather than force open a door in order to avoid potential alarm activations. In several cases, the suspects stacked patio furniture or used available ladders to gain access to the second story, where they shattered a glass sliding door or window to quickly access the master bedroom. Suspects primarily targeted designer jewelry, women’s accessories (handbags / wallets) and safes located in the master bedroom.

This year, Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1st and will begin again on March 14th, 2021. During the next five months, sunset will occur much earlier in the day and will provide these criminals a greater opportunity to commit their crimes under the cover of darkness.

Investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office have collaborated with other law enforcement agencies nationwide and determined this pattern of residential burglaries has occurred all across the country and is not specific to Ventura County. Although the Sheriff’s Office has arrested numerous individuals involved in these residential burglaries, investigators would like to make homeowners and residents aware of the past burglary trend and advise them to take extra precautions to protect themselves and their property in the upcoming months:

• Leave interior lights or a television on and a vehicle in the driveway to give the appearance the home is occupied.

• Consider installing a monitored home security system that includes glass break sensors, motion detectors and audible alarm for the downstairs and upstairs of their residence.

• Install high quality exterior cameras with clear day and night time resolution that is at face level.

• Have cameras cover common entry points such as front doors, side gates, back windows and back sliding doors.

• Utilize “Smart” camera systems that have the ability to alert you of activations with an app on your mobile phone.

• If you plan to leave your residence for multiple days, install interior light timers that keep the interior illuminated during the evening hours, and consider having a neighbor check on your home while you’re away.

• Consider storing your valuables in a safety deposit box or large, securely mounted safe in your home. These criminals have been known to steal unmounted heavy safes.

Remember to call 911 if you witness a crime or discover you are a victim of a crime. If you are away from your home and receive an alert from your camera system and confirm suspicious activity, make the Sheriff’s Communication Center your first call at (805) 654-9511. If you call 911 from another jurisdiction, your call will be delayed while the agency answering routes your call to us.

Take note of the make, model and license plate of any suspicious vehicles that are parked in the neighborhood that look unfamiliar. Immediately report suspicious persons that are trying to conceal their identity or are acting nervous. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office requests that you do not approach suspicious persons or vehicles. Call the Sheriff’s Communication Center to report suspicious activity, and a deputy will respond to investigate.

Nature of Incident: Evening Burglary Trends
Report Number: Multiple
Location: Ventura County Communities
Date & Time: Evening Hours
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Services
Prepared by: Sergeant Greg Gibson
Approved by: Captain Denise Sliva

 
 

Built and rebuilt several times over the last century and a half, the historic grape arbor at Rancho Camulos Museum was in dire straits once again in 2020, collapsing under the weight of overgrown vines.

Taking charge of resurrecting this popular garden feature was museum volunteer Bob Cox, who turned a group of his cohorts into a construction crew. Ken Asarch, Maria Christopher, Lynn Edmonds, Gary Gieseman, Tom Rieger, Marie Scherb, Gordon Uppman and Hillary Weireter helped pull down the old foliage and hammered, nailed, sanded and pounded together an historically accurate replica on top of preexisting concrete footings.

Treated lumber replaced broken and rotting boards, but historic pieces were reused, as well. Discovered in the 1867 Camulos Winery were trusses believed to have been used in an early version of the arbor. Cox tightened them up at his home workshop in Fillmore and fabricated additional trusses to complete the roofline.

The original grape plants from Mission San Gabriel have adapted nicely to the new structure, sending up new vines to cover it. They're to be cut back each year so they don't overburden the new arbor anytime soon.

The grape arbor is an important part of the historical landscape of Rancho Camulos. The Del Valle family, who owned the property from 1839 to 1924, frequently hosted meals under the cool shade of the grape vines. Then as now, brides would make their way to the Camulos chapel through the openings in the arbor.

Cox was drawn to the project for a variety of reasons. "Part of it was satisfying my ego," he said. "I enjoyed completing this much-needed project and being able to save the museum a considerable sum of money in construction costs."

The project was also a way for Cox to honor his old Fillmore High School shop teacher, Ralph Rees, who restored the circa-1850 Del Valle buggy and then designed a carriage house to display it on the property. Cox served as foreman of a volunteer group that brought the carriage house to fruition when Rees fell too ill to complete it. (Rees died in 2016.)

For Bob Cox, reconstructing the grape arbor turned into a family affair. His wife, Diana, a longtime museum volunteer, painted many of the boards, and their grandson Kyle helped out, too. Back in 2008, Bob and Diana's son Charlie was married at Rancho Camulos; nephew Kyle, then 2, was the ringbearer.

Bob Cox was named Rancho Camulos Museum's 2020 Volunteer of the Year at a gathering held Sunday, October 25, 2020.

Courtesy https://scvhistory.com/scvhistorycamulos20201025bobcox.htm

 
On Tuesday, November 3rd, people lined up outside at Saint Francis Church to cast their vote in the 2020 election, while also following social distancing guidelines.
On Tuesday, November 3rd, people lined up outside at Saint Francis Church to cast their vote in the 2020 election, while also following social distancing guidelines.
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Helper Rhonda Taylor was posted outside for those who did not wish to go inside the building.
Helper Rhonda Taylor was posted outside for those who did not wish to go inside the building.
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The Santa Clara River Conservancy, together with UCSB and Stillwater Sciences, has just released its planning design for the restoration of the 278 acres site in back of the Fillmore Fish Hatchery. Once a watercress farm, this document outlines the plan to restore this site to native habitat, including public access hiking trails down to the river.

This Sespe-Cienega site is very special in a number of ways. In addition to being part of the Santa Clara River, one of the longest still natural process rivers in the state, this Sespe-Cienega site is a location with a unique water flow of artesian springs, bringing water right to the surface. In fact, that is why the Fillmore Fish Hatchery was originally built here. This makes it a key location for wildlife in the area.

Access the entire planning document at www.santaclarariver.org