History of Oxnard
Henry T. Oxnard
In 1896, local farmers began experimenting with sugar beets in addition to barley and lima beans. A prominent local farmer, Albert Maulhardt, visited Henry T. Oxnard and his three brothers’ American Beet Sugar factory in Chino, which led him to plant sugar beets for shipment to the plant. Maulhardt’s success persuaded other ranchers to switch from grain to sugar beets. Encouraged by a pledge of 18,000 acres of sugar beets from local farmers, the Oxnard brothers completed construction of a sugar beet factory adjacent to the beet fields in 1898 on what was then known as Rancho Colonia. The massive brick factory, with its 150-foot smokestacks, was located a few blocks northeast of a town-site that, five years later, would become the City of Oxnard.
The sugar beet factory was responsible for another significant event — bringing a spur line of the Southern Pacific Railroad to the plant site and passenger service to the community.
Oxnard was incorporated in 1903 by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, who officially named the city after the Oxnard brothers who established the American Beet Sugar Company between 1887 and 1889. The city grew steadily into what is the largest city in Ventura County, with a population of just over 200,000 residents.