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San Buenaventura in Ventura, CA 93003

Updated on January 27, 2015


This beautiful city, originally established in 1782, when Father Junpero Serra founded Mission San Buenaventura, forming the basis of what would become the city. The mission was named for St. Bonaventure, a Thirteenth Century Franciscan saint and a Doctor of the Church. On July 6, 1841, Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted the 4,694 acre (1,900 ha) Rancho San Miguel to Felipe Lorenzana and Raimundo Olivas, whose Olivas Adobe on the banks of the Santa Clara River was the most magnificent hacienda south of Monterey.

After the American Civil War, settlers came to the area, buying land from the Mexicans, or simply as squatters. Vast holdings were later acquired by Easterners, including the railroad magnate, Thomas Scott. He was impressed by one of the young employees, Thomas R. Bard, who had been in charge of train supplies to Union troops, and Bard was sent west to handle Scott's property.

Not easily accessible, Ventura was not a target of immigrants, and as such, remained quiet and rural. For most of the century which followed the incorporation of Ventura in 1866, it remained isolated from the rest of the state. July 4 celebration in Ventura, 1874. Parade Marshall is Thomas R. Bard. Bard is often regarded as the Father of Ventura and his descendants have been prominently identified with the growth of Ventura County. The Union Oil Company was organized with Bard as President in 1890, and has offices in Santa Paula. The main Ventura oil field was drilled in 1914 and at its peak produced 90,000 barrels per day (14,000 m/d). The city is located between the Ventura River and the Santa Clara River, leading to soil so fertile that citrus grew better here than anywhere else in the state. The citrus farmers formed Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, the world's largest organization of citrus production.


Ventura Harbor Village


Driving directions

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San Buenaventura Mission

Old Tree in Ventura - Downtown

If you stop downtown Ventura, besure you take a walk over to Chestnut Street and Santa Clara and see the wonderful tree. Planted in 1874, this tree has a height of 73 feet and a spread of 139 ft.

San Buenaventura

It is a beautiful beach city about 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. You will find body and wind surfacing, downtown which has art, various eatery's and antique shops. In August, we have our county fair, street fairs (you must come taste the tri-tip)....

Working Artists Ventura

The Wav of the Future

The Working Artists Ventura (WAV) project will be a $57 million, state-of-the-art community designed for artists and creative businesses. Located in the cultural district of downtown Ventura, California, the WAV will offer affordable living and working space for over a hundred artists of every kind; painters, sculptors, dancers, poets, musicians, filmmakers and more.

more above WAV


City Hall, 500 block on Poli Street, downtown, Ventura - was the old Couty of Ventura Courthouse

Front Entrance of the City Building (originally the County Courthouse).

Formerly the Ventura County Courthouse features a neoclassical design with doric columns, Italian (Carrera) marble floors, a domed stained-glass ceiling, bronze fixtures and 24 terra cotta friars who stand as sentinels.

Decoration on The City Building

Faces on the side of the City of Ventura Building.

Detail is wonderful! - for you architech history buffs

24 terra cotta friars, city hall, Poli Street, Ventura

Beautiful Skys In Ventura, California


From City Hall Looking Toward The Beach

Looking From the City Building (Poli Street) down Palm Street.

Check out those columns

Large columns show the wonderful detail of this exquisite designed building.

Father Serra - Across from the City Hall Building

Father Serra (1713-1784). Dedicated in 1989 by Master carver, Wilbur Rubottom, created this bronze copy of the original 1936 wood statue created by John Palo-Kangas.

Ventura Harbor

Beautiful Sky - Ventura Evening

Ventura Beach


Ventura River Estuary


Peirano's Grocery Building - Now a Restaurant

Peirano Market, downtown (now restaurant), Main St., across from the Mission.


Chicago For Ribs, 692 E. Main St., Vta (866) 563-7427

Black Angus Restaurant, 4718 Telegraph Rd., Vta. (805) 644-7323

The Greek at the Harbor, Suite 101, 1583 Spinnaker Dr., Vta (805) 650-5350

SEVERAL VICTORIAN HOMES TO SEE - Victorian Home on Thompson Boulevard, Ventura

First National Bank Building

Built in 1904 by architect J.H. Bradbeer, the two-story brick building was one of the first banks in town. For many years it operated as the Mill's Jewelry Store. One of the offices above the bank contained the first (1915) Ventura law office of Erle Stanley Gardner who wrote many Perry Mason mystery stories.

Bank of Italy

Became Bank of America

Side of Bank of America


Spirit Messages from a Murderer

Happenings in Ventura

Spirit Messages from a Murderer

By Richard Senate

The cold seemed to issue from the dark maw of the old brick building. The whole scene was surreal in the extreme. There we were, a group of us, in the cold before the old building, attempting to contact a ghost. Not just any ghost, but one of the best-known ghosts in Ventura, California.

For decades the little brick building was rumored haunted by the spirit of a man lynched in 1869. The little thick-walled building started life as a water filter, constructed by the Spanish Padres in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. It was attached to a seven-mile aqueduct which filtered the water and ran it through underground pipes to the many fountains at Mission San Buenaventura, the ninth and last mission founded by Father Junipero Serra. The building was nick named “El Caballo” (the horse) because, so the story goes, the water font was carved to resemble a horse’s head, the purified water coming out of the horse’s mouth (the Spanish and their Native converts did have a sense of humor). After California became part of the United States a rain storm caused a landslide that took out a section of the aqueduct. Without water to process, the small filter building was abandoned. But in just a few years the structure would take on a new role. The City of San Buenaventura (today known as Ventura) was incorporated on March 10, 1866 and as a new community, it needed a jail. The old filter was converted into a single cell jail by adding an iron door and cutting a slit like window through the walls. It was at this time that the ghost story came into being.


Want More of This:

Richard Senate - Ghost Story Teller

Have you been to Ventura before?

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    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about San Buenaventura.

      Thanks for letting me travel through your photos.

    • profile image

      ticopuppy 7 years ago

      Very nice lens! I am currently working in a lens for Anacapa Island and hope to have it finished in the next couple days. I will put a link to your lens from mine.



    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      Well conceived with a great deal of info both historical and otherwise. I actually lived in Ventura for a short time many years ago right off of Telegraph. It is a beautiful city and I visited down at Ventura Keys quite a bit, but it simply wasn't L.A. What can I say ? Although I have done extensive traveling in my time, Los Angeles is where my heart is. Great lens.