Did you know that Oxnard was once home to the largest hotel between Los Angeles and San Francisco? Have you ever wondered the story behind the pagoda in Plaza Park?
Whether you are new to Oxnard or a long-time resident, learning about the city’s rich history is a fun and eye-opening experience.
On Friday, April 19, members of the Chamber’s 2019 Oxnard Leadership Program were treated to a day with local historian Jeff Maulhardt. He led them through various historic sites throughout the city, including the original Oxnard sugar beet factory and Heritage Square.
This was the group’s fourth session this year, having already explored the city’s government, public safety and education.
Maulhardt, a fifth-generation descendant of two of Oxnard’s pioneer families, has authored 15 books about the area and is director of the Oxnard Historic Farm Park, where the group’s tour began. The park is home to two of the oldest remaining structures on the Oxnard Plain: an 1870s farmhouse and brick winery.
After a history lesson and tour, the group drove to the site of the original Oxnard sugar beet factory, which is near Wooley Road and Factory Lane. Two of the original five buildings remain, and are still used to support the distribution of local agriculture.
The group also visited the Carnegie Art Museum where Martha Jimenez, Curator of Education, led the tour. Originally known as Oxnard’s Carnegie Library, it was built in 1906 as one of the free public libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It was converted into an art museum in 1986.
Their final stop was Heritage Square where docent Tom Von Allmen shared the significance of each building’s location, architecture and origin. The 15 beautifully restored Victorian homes preserve some of the special history of Oxnard’s early pioneer families. Many businesses now occupy the buildings, including the restaurant La Dolce Vita and 1901 Speakeasy, where the group ended its day.
Every year, the Oxnard Leadership Program leads participants through 10 unique, day-long experiences to gain a better understanding and appreciation of Oxnard and the surrounding areas’ realities, opportunities and challenges. Each session includes visits to various locations and provides participants with a unique opportunity to meet key business and government leaders who play integral roles in the regions.
In May, participants will learn about the region’s impact on trade and commerce with visits to the Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County - Point Mugu.
Learn more about the Oxnard Leadership Program.