Oxnard is the largest city in Ventura County, California in terms of population. It is located at the western edge of the fertile Oxnard Plain, and is one of the world's most important agricultural centers, with its distinction as the strawberry and lima bean capital. Founded in 1903, it is home to nearly 200,000 citizens (192,997) and is the largest city in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Metropolitan Area.
The city is home to two large U.S. Navy bases (Port Hueneme and NAS Point Mugu). The Port of Hueneme is the busiest commercial port between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Oxnard is also a major transit hub in Southern California, with Amtrak, Union Pacific, Metrolink, Greyhound, Intercalifornias and many others stopping in Oxnard. Oxnard also has a regional airport called Oxnard Airport (OXR).
Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is now Oxnard was inhabited by Chumash Native Americans. The first European to encounter the area was Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who claimed it for Spain in 1542. During the mission period, it was serviced by the Mission San Buenaventura, established in 1782.
Ranching began to take hold among Californio settlers, who lost their regional influence when California became a U.S. state in 1850. At about the same time, the area was settled by American farmers, who cultivated barley and lima beans.
Henry Oxnard, who operated a successful sugar beet factory with his three brothers (Ben, James, and Robert) in Chino, California, was enticed to build a two-million dollar factory on the plain inland from Port Hueneme. Shortly after the 1897 beet campaign, a new town soon emerged. Ironically, the Oxnard brothers never lived in their namesake city, and they sold both the Chino and the giant red-brick Oxnard factory with its landmark twin smokestacks in 1899 for nearly four-million dollars. The Oxnard factory operated from August 19, 1899 until October 26, 1959. Given the growth of the town of Oxnard, in the spring of 1898, a railroad station was built to service the plant, which attracted a population of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican laborers and enough commerce to merit the designation of a town. Oxnard intended to name the settlement after the Greek word for "sugar"..."zachari", but frustrated by bureaucracy, named it after himself.
Oxnard was incorporated as a California city on June 30,1903, and the public library was opened in 1907, one of only three built west of the Mississippi river financed by Andrew Carnegie. Prior to and during World War II, the naval bases of Point Mugu and Port Hueneme were established in the area to take advantage of the only major navigable port on California's coast between the Port of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay, and these encouraged the development of the defense-based aerospace and communications industries.
In the mid-century Oxnard grew and developed the areas outside the downtown with homes, industry, retail, and a new harbor named Channel Islands Harbor. Martin V. ("Bud") Smith (1916-2001) became the most influential developer in the history of Oxnard during this time. Smith's first enterprise in 1941 was the Colonial House Restaurant (demolished 1988) and then the Wagon Wheel Junction in 1947. He was also involved in the development of the high-rise towers at the Topa Financial Plaza, the Channel Islands Harbor, Casa Sirena Resort, the Esplanade Shopping Mall, Fisherman's Wharf, the Carriage Square Shopping Center, the Maritime Museum, and many other major hotel, restaurant and retail projects.
In June 2004 the Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County Sheriff imposed a gang injunction over a area of the central district of the city, in order to restrict gang activity. The injunction was upheld in the Ventura County Superior Court and made a permanent law in 2005. A similar injunction was imposed in September, 2006 over a area of the south side of the city.
Oxnard is located at (34.191292, -119.182497).
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of 94.8 km²
). 65.6 km² (25.3 mi²) of it is land and 29.2 km² (11.3 mi²) of it (30.83%) is water.
Oxnard is located on the Oxnard Plain, an area with fertile soil. With its beaches, dunes, wetlands, creeks and the Santa Clara River, the area contains a number of important biological communities. Native plant communities include: coastal sage scrub, California Annual Grassland, and Coastal Dune Scrub species; however, most native plants have been eliminated from within the city limits to make way for agriculture and urban and industrial development. Also native to the region is the endangered Ventura Marsh Milkvetch, and the last self-sustaining population is in Oxnard in the center of a recently approved high-end housing development.
Like the rest of California, Oxnard is subject to earthquakes due to its location near the San Andreas Fault.
One active fault line that transverses Oxnard is the Oak Ridge Fault, which straddles the Santa Clara River Valley westward from the Santa Susana Mountains, crosses the Oxnard Plain through Oxnard, and extends into the Santa Barbara Channel.
The fault has proven to be a significant contributor to seismic activity in the Oxnard region and beyond. The Northridge Earthquake, a devastating magnitude 6.7 temblor that occurred on January 17, 1994, is believed to have occurred in the Santa Clarita extension of the Oak Ridge Fault. Landslides and ridge-top shattering resulting from the Northridge Earthquake were observed above Moorpark, a city just east of Oxnard.
A May 1
California Department of Finance estimate shows the city's population right at 200,000, with the Oxnard Metro
at roughly 800,000 people. As of the census
of 2000, there were 170,358 people, 43,576 households, and 34,947 families residing in the city. The population density
was 2,598.8/km² (6,729.7/mi²). There were 45,166 housing units at an average density of 689.0/km² (1,784.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 42.08% White
, 3.78% African American
, 1.26% Native American
, 7.39% Asian
, 0.41% Pacific Islander
, 40.36% from other races
, and 4.72% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 66.22% of the population.
There were 43,576 households out of which 46.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.8% were non-families. 14.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.85 and the average family size was 4.16.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,603, and the median income for a family was $49,150. Males had a median income of $30,643 versus $25,381 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,288. About 11.4% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
of Oxnard is driven by international trade
, and tourism
. Oxnard is one of the key manufacturing centers in the Greater Los Angeles Area
. The Port of Hueneme is the busiest and only deep-harbor commercial port between Los Angeles
and San Francisco
, and is vital to trade with the Pacific Rim
economies. Companies utilizing the Port include DelMonte, Chiquita, BMW, Land Rover, and Jaguar. Other key industries driving Oxnard's existence include finance
and the high tech industry.
Some of the major companies headquartered in Oxnard are Haas Automation, Seminis, Raypak, Drum Workshop, and Boss Audio. Procter & Gamble and Sysco maintain their West Coast operations in Oxnard.
The Dallas Cowboys held their pre-season training camp at River Ridge Field in Oxnard in 2001, 2004-06, and 2008 (the Cowboys trained at California Lutheran University in nearby Thousand Oaks from 1964-89). The Los Angeles Raiders trained at River Ridge in the 1980s and 90s.
According to the Camarillo General Plan PDF
: "The areas studied showed a high percentage of Group I soils, primarily located on the relatively flat Oxnard Plain
. The Oxnard Plain
, because of these high-quality agricultural soils, coupled with a favorable climate, is considered one of the most fertile areas in the world."
Oxnard has been known for several different crops over the years, including: sugar beets, lima beans, Stock (the cut flower), and strawberries. In the years of Oxnard's growth during the 70's and 80's, many farms and ranches were annexed for development, and many new development plans threatened much of the plain's farmland. In 1995, a grassroots effort known as SOAR (Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources) was initiated by farmers, ranchers and citizens of Ventura County in an effort to save the vast agricultural asset of the Oxnard Plain.
The Oxnard Plain
is well-known for its strawberries
. According to the USDA
, Oxnard is California’s largest strawberry producer, supplying about one-third of the State's annual strawberry volume
From the end of September through the end of October, strawberries are planted and harvesting occurs from mid-December through mid-July in Oxnard. The peak harvesting season in California runs from April through June, when up to 10 million pint baskets of strawberries are shipped daily
The state of California supplies over 85 percent of U.S. strawberries, with the U.S. supplying for a quarter of total world production of strawberries.
California Strawberry Festival
Each year Oxnard hosts the California Strawberry Festival
during the summer at Oxnard College
, featuring vendors as well as food items based on the fruit such as strawberry nachos, strawberry pizza, strawberry funnel cake, strawberry sundaes, and strawberry champagne.
The City of Oxnard is served by 54 public school campuses which provide education to more than 53,000 students in grades K-12. If all Oxnard public school districts were unified into one district, similar to cities such as New York and Los Angeles, it would be the 71st largest school district in the United States.
Elementary & Junior High Schools
The City of Oxnard and surrounding communities are served by four different school districts which oversee education for students grades K-8. They are:
On February 12 2008 a shooting involving students occurred at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard.
All public high schools in Oxnard are operated by the Oxnard Union High School District
, which provides high school education to 20,000 students at 10 campuses in three cities (Oxnard, Camarillo
and Port Hueneme
) as well as the unincorporated areas of El Rio
and Channel Islands
oversees Adolfo Camarillo High School
, Channel Islands High School
, Hueneme High School
, Oxnard High School
, Pacifica High School
and Rio Mesa High School
, as well as the continuation high schools Frontier, Oxnard Adult, Pacific View and Puente. Santa Clara High School
is a private Catholic high school.
Colleges and universities
Oxnard is served on the collegiate level by Oxnard College
and nearby California State University, Channel Islands
. Additionally, California Lutheran University
, California State University, Northridge
, University of Phoenix
and University of California, Santa Barbara
all have satellite campuses in Oxnard.
- Del Norte District
- Central District/Downtown Oxnard
- Bartolo Square North
- Bartolo Square South
- Cal Giesler
- Durley/Kamala Park
- Five Points Northwest
- Fremont South
- Hill Street
- Hobson Park East
- Hobson Park West
- La Colonia
- Northeast District
- East Village
- Rio Lindo
- Rose Park
- West Village
- Northwest District
- Southcentral District
- Blackstock North
- Blackstock South
- Bryce Canyon North
- Bryce Canyon South
- Ormond Beach (North)
- Pleasant Valley Estates
- Pleasant Valley Village
- Southeast District
- Diamond Bar
- College Estates
- College Park
- Mar Vista
- Ormond Beach (South)
- Oxnard Pacific
- Terrace Estates
- Tierra Vista
- Villa Capri
- Southwest District
The City of Oxnard is home to over of scenic, relatively uncrowded coastline. The beaches in Oxnard are large and the sand is exceptionally soft. The sand dunes in Oxnard, which were once much more extensive, have been used to recreate Middle-Eastern
desert dunes in many movies, the first being The Sheik
with Rudolph Valentino
. There are very few rocks or driftwood piles at most beaches, but Oxnard is known to have dangerous rip-currents at certain beaches. Oxnard is home to world-class surf, although its best surf is inaccessible to the general public because it breaks at the beach inside the Navy base at Point Mugu
. Only those with access to the base can surf its fast-moving (and at times up to 15 foot) break. Silver Strand has excellent surf.
Beaches in Oxnard include: Mugu Rock State Beach, Ormond Beach, Hueneme Beach, Silverstrand Beach, Hollywood Beach, Hollywood-By-the-Sea, Mandalay Beach, Oxnard State Beach, Oxnard Shores, 5th Street Beach, McGrath State Beach and Rivermouth Beach.
The Port of Hueneme is the only deep water port
between the Port of Long Beach
and the Port of San Francisco
, and the only military deep water port between San Diego Bay
and Puget Sound
. It is operated jointly by the United States Navy
and the Oxnard Harbor District
The port is a shipping and receiving point for a wide variety of goods destined for the Los Angeles Basin
, and beyond including automobiles
, and bananas
. Agricultural products such as onions
, and flowers
The United States Navy maintains a facility at Port Hueneme, in support of the naval air station at Point Mugu to the south, with which it comprises Naval Base Ventura County. Port Hueneme is the West Coast home of the Construction Battalion, the "Seabees," as well as a link in the coastal radar system.
Oxnard is home to one harbor: Channel Islands Harbor
, with Ventura Harbor
located in adjacent Ventura
. Channel Islands Harbor
is located on the south shore of Oxnard and is nicknamed the "Gateway to the Channel Islands" because of the high number of operations that sail to the islands out of the harbor. Both harbors are vital fishing industry
The city is situated in a Mediterranean, or dry subtropical climate zone, experiencing mild winters that are warmer than average, and mild summers that are cooler than average. Onshore breezes keep the communities of Oxnard cooler in summer and warmer in winter than those further inland. The average mean temperature is 60 degrees. Average minimum temperature is 52.4 degrees and the average maximum temperature is 70 degrees. Generally the weather is cool and dry, with 354 days of sunshine a year. The last recorded snow fall was in January 1942.
Culture and the arts
Oxnard offers several cultural institutions. These include the Carnegie Art Museum
, founded in 1907 as the Oxnard Public Library by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie
; the Chandler Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife
, founded by the late Los Angeles Times
publisher Otis Chandler
, which housed the largest collection of rare and vintage automobiles in the nation until the contents were auctioned off following Chandler's death in 2006; the Murphy Auto Museum
, founded by neurosurgeon Dan Murphy
; The Heritage Square
, a collection of restored Victorian
houses which were once owned by Oxnard ’s pioneer families (Heritage Square
is also home to the Petit Playhouse
and Oxnard ’s award-winning Elite Theatre Company
; the Ventura County Maritime Museum
; The Gull Wings Children's Museum
; The Henry T. Oxnard Historic District
; the Herzog Winery
and wine cellar, the nation's largest collection of fine kosher wines; the Seabee Museum
and the The Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center
, home to the New West Symphony
It is also home to the award winning Oxnard Independent Film Festival
- Many bands in the punk "Nardcore" music scene are from Oxnard, California, including Dr. Know, Agression, Stalag 13, Scared Straight, Ill Repute, False Confession, Ten Foot Pole, In Control, No Motiv, and Habeas Corpus. The city and neighboring Ventura both maintain a thriving punk music scene to this day, driven by a fusion of both the skater and surfer scenes. Oxnard has recently sprung a growing Metal scene, bands such as Decimator, Scourge, Hostile, Encoma, Far From Perfect and Skullgrind Bloodbath,Mutated,Los Callejeros. One of the older Oxnard metal bands such as Wretch helped start the local metal scene. Most of these bands play a Death Metal or Trash kind of a style or a combination of the two.Oxnard is also home to a thriving hip hop music scene, particularly among Hispanic youths.
Famous people from Oxnard
- César Chávez: Farm worker, political activist and union leader, lived in the La Colonia Barrio of Oxnard during his childhood. Several streets and schools in the Oxnard area and surrounding areas bear his name.
- Lupe Anguiano: Former nun and civil rights activist known for her work on women's rights, the rights of the poor, and the protection of the environment.
- William D. Soo Hoo: William `Bill" Soo Hoo was born in Oxnard in 1924, attended Oxnard schools and joined the U.S. Army in 1943. Upon his return to Oxnard at the end of the war, Soo Hoo began a career of community service serving on the Grand Jury, the Oxnard City Council in 1962, and was elected mayor of Oxnard in 1966. He was the first Asian to serve as mayor in Southern California.
- Wendel Eckford: Professor of History. Dr. Eckford earned his Ph.D. at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA. Dr. Eckford is widely known for his work in urban theory and history and has worked on major urban and historic preservation projects in the U.S. and overseas. Dr. Eckford lived in Oxnard from the mid 1960's to the 1980s when he left to attend Prairie View A & M University of Texas where he earned a Bachelors of Architecture degree. Prior to earning his Ph.D. Dr. Eckford worked as an architect and historic preservation specialist for many years.
- William P. Clark -born, American politician, served under President Ronald Reagan as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1981 to 1982, United States National Security Advisor from 1982 to 1983, and the Secretary of the Interior from 1983 until 1985.
- Martin V. ("Bud") Smith: Developer and philanthropist. Built the Financial Plaza Towers and financed construction of CSUCI's school of business and economics.
- George Thompson: Owner of George Thompson's Diamond Company. Coined the phrase "you have a friend in the diamond business". Was tried for false advertising and fraudulent business practices. Due to the bad publicity, his business dropped and he was forced to move his business from Oxnard to Camarillo.
Athletes & Sportspeople
In alphabetical order by last name:
Musicians and entertainers
- Madlib: Oxnard-based record producer, musician, rapper, and DJ. Noted for his work and collaborations in the jazz and hip-hop scenes.
- DJ Phobia Hip-Hop producer,and DJ.(90's Hard House DJ)
- DJ Babu: Filipino-American disc jockey for the Beat Junkies and Dilated Peoples.
- Down AKA Kilo: Rapper.
- James Cameron: Three-time Academy Award-winning film director.
- Homer Keller, composer (1915-1996)
- Kankick AKA Kanzulu: Hip-Hop producer, rapper and DJ.
- Ryan Fredette: Singer of defunct, legendary band In Control
- Michael Lee: Keyboardist and composer; graduated from Rio Mesa High School.
- Miki Ariyama: Japanese Shodo Artist, Model, and J-Poetry Recording Artist. Signed to Soulbound Records
- Oh No: Hip-Hop rapper, producer. Brother of Madlib. Signed to Stones Throw Records.
- Pakelika: hydro-mechanix,kottonmouth kings band member,rapper,actor,smokin word artist,3 time band of the year hightimes magazine, signed to suburban noize records
- Sonny Bono & Cher: Record producers, singers, actors and politicians. Famous for Sonny & Cher rock duo.
- Steve Reali Robinson IV: Hiphop Producer, Emcee, and DJ(Turntablist). Also known as The Mictablist. Founder & C.E.O of 1312 Group & Soulbound Records.
- Rich Moore: Academy Award-winning animation director (The Simpsons), and co-owner of Rough Draft Studios, Inc.
- Roc C: California-based rapper and member of the Stones Throw record label.
- The Warriors: hardcore band.
Scholars and Scientists
Gutleben, Dan, The Oxnard Beet Sugar Factory, Oxnard, California, 1959 - Revised 1960, page 1, Book available at the Oxnard Public Library
Mitchell, John, Influential developer Martin 'Bud' Smith dies, Ventura County Star, November 20, 2001
Shepherd, Dirk, Save the Wagon Wheel, VC Reporter Newspaper article, Jan 11, 2007 link to article