Conejo Valley

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Coordinates: 34°21′36″N119°09′00″W / 34.36000°N 119.15000°W / 34.36000; -119.15000

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Lake Sherwood with Westlake Village in distance. Westlake Village from Sandstone Peak.jpg
Lake Sherwood with Westlake Village in distance.

The Conejo Valley is a region spanning both southeastern Ventura County and northwestern Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States. It is located in the northwestern part of the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Communities in the Conejo Valley are Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Agoura Hills, Lake Sherwood and a portion of Calabasas. [1]

Etymology

In 1803, the Spanish land grant in the area was given the name Rancho El Conejo.[ citation needed ]

In Spanish, conejo means "rabbit", and refers to the rabbits common to the region, [2] specifically the desert cottontail and brush rabbit species. [3]

History

Pre-colonial

Reconstructed Chumash 'ap (house) at the Stagecoach Inn Chumash ap tri village stagecoach inn newbury park ca.jpg
Reconstructed Chumash 'ap (house) at the Stagecoach Inn

The first human residents of Conejo valley were the native Chumash people. Notable Chumash villages included Satwiwa ("The Bluffs") in Newbury Park, Sap'wi ("House of Deer") in Thousand Oaks, and Hipuk in Westlake Village. Sap'wi (Šihaw Ven-632i) is located near Chumash Indian Museum in Oakbrook Regional Park. This park is also home to 4-6,000 year old pictographs, which can be observed on docent-led tours. [4] [5] Satwiwa, which was first settled 13,000 years ago, [6] was located at the foothills of Mount Boney, a sacred mountain to the Chumash people. [7] [8] [9] The Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is available for visitors.[ citation needed ]

Two additional Chumash villages were found by Ventu Park Road. These had a population of 100-200 in each village, and were settled around 2,000 years ago. [10] [11] These former villages, known as Ven-65, Ven-260 and Ven-261, are located on private lands near Ventu Park Road in Newbury Park. [12] A smaller village, known as Yitimasɨh, was located where Wildwood Elementary School is located today. [13] [14] Artifacts retrieved in nearby Wildwood Regional Park include shell beads, arrowheads, and stone tools. [15]

European exploration

Local villagers' first contact with Europeans came in 1770. The Spanish exploratory party led by Gaspar de Portolá, returning from its journey up the coast as far as San Francisco, entered the valley from the northwest. On the outward bound journey, the explorers had traveled up the Los Angeles River, then north to Castaic Junction, then followed the Santa Clara River back down to the coast. On the return trip, they sought a shorter route to the San Fernando Valley, and were guided by natives up and over the Conejo Grade. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi kept a diary of the expedition, and gave Conejo Valley one name that survives today – Triunfo (Spanish for "triumph"). [16] Crespi gave the name El triunfo del Dulcísimo Nombre de Jesús (in English: The Triumph of the Sweetest Name of Jesus) to a camping place by a creek – today's Triunfo Canyon Road begins between Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village.

Later, explorer Juan Bautista de Anza used Portolá's shortcut on his way north in 1774, mentioning in his diary a stop at "El Triunfo". [17] On de Anza's second expedition (1775–76), diarist Father Pedro Font referred to "many watering places, like those of El Triunfo and Los Conejos". [18]

Ranching

Harold and Edwin Janss purchased ten thousand acres (40 km²) of land of what is now central Thousand Oaks from the heir of John Edwards, who had purchased the land from the de la Guerra heirs (all of the land was originally a portion of the Rancho El Conejo land grant) in 1910. A ranch, named the Janss Conejo Ranch, was utilized as a farm and to raise thoroughbred horses with the Santa Susanna Mountains and Simi Hills framing it. Television Westerns such as The Rifleman , Gunsmoke , and Bonanza were filmed in Janss Conejo between the 1950s and 1960s. It was also used as the filming locations for Disney's Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and Westward Ho, the Wagons! both starring Fess Parker.[ citation needed ]

Geography

Conejo Valley seen on a physiographical map of Ventura County. Vc bioregions.gif
Conejo Valley seen on a physiographical map of Ventura County.

Conejo Valley is a 900-foot (270 m) high valley. [19] [20] The area is bordered by the San Fernando Valley and the city of Los Angeles to the east, Simi Hills to the north, Las Posas Hills and the Santa Rosa Valley to the northwest, Conejo Mountain (also known as Conejo Hills) and Oxnard Plain to the west, and the Santa Monica Mountains to the south. The valley is located in the Santa Monica Mountains on an elevated area.[ citation needed ]

Panorama of Conejo Valley from Rabbit Hill, Newbury Park. View-of-Conejo-Valley-from-Rabbit-Hill-Newbury-Park.jpg
Panorama of Conejo Valley from Rabbit Hill, Newbury Park.

Economy

The largest non-retail employers in the Conejo Valley include Amgen, the Conejo Valley Unified School District, Los Robles Regional Medical Center, Anthem Blue Cross, California Lutheran University, Shire Biotechnology, Skyworks Solutions, PennyMac Mortgage and Sage Publications. [21] Other notable employers include Jafra Cosmetics, Teledyne, J.D. Power, Dole Food Company, Guitar Center, Bank of America and Teradyne.[ citation needed ]

Media

The Ventura County Star is a daily newspaper published in Camarillo, California and serves all of Ventura County, including the Conejo Valley.[ citation needed ]

The Acorn is a local weekly newspaper covering Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills, Oak Park, North Ranch and Calabasas, while Thousand Oaks Acorn covers the cities of Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Westlake Village. [22]

Radio

KCLU is the only public radio station in Ventura County. [23] [24]

Tourism

The Oaks is visited by over 5 million each year as of 2002. The oaks mall main entrance.jpg
The Oaks is visited by over 5 million each year as of 2002.
Waterfall at Gardens of the World. Gardens of the World Thousand Oaks.jpg
Waterfall at Gardens of the World.

In 2013 the Conejo Valley Tourism Improvement District (CVTID) was formed by the cities of Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills. [26] CVTID is a non-profit corporation that markets Conejo Valley as a Tourist Destination. [27] Conejo Valley's two largest tourist attractions are the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.[ citation needed ]

Points of interest

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thousand Oaks, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Thousand Oaks is the second-largest city in Ventura County, California, United States. It is in the northwestern part of Greater Los Angeles, approximately 15 miles (24 km) from the city of Los Angeles and 40 miles (64 km) from Downtown. It is named after the many oak trees present in the area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Westlake Village, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Westlake Village is a city in Los Angeles County on its western border with Ventura County. The City of Westlake Village incorporated in 1981 becoming the 82nd municipality of Los Angeles County. The population of the city was 8,029 at the 2020 census, down from 8,270 at the 2010 census.

Newbury Park is a populated place and town in Ventura County, California, United States. Most of it lies within the western Thousand Oaks city limits, while unincorporated areas include Casa Conejo and Ventu Park. About 28,000 residents of Thousand Oaks reside in Newbury Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simi Hills</span> Mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in California, United States

The Simi Hills are a low rocky mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County, of southern California, United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stagecoach Inn (California)</span> United States historic place

The Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park, California, originally known as the Grand Union Hotel, was used as a resting area for people who traveled from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Besides a hotel and stagecoach stop, it has also been used as a post office, church, restaurant and military school. It is California Historical Landmark No. 659 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It played a major role in the development of the stage line transportation network in California. The hotel was also the first business venture in the Conejo Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza</span>

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is a performing arts center and city hall for the city of Thousand Oaks, California. Across Thousand Oaks Boulevard from Gardens of the World, the site is considered the downtown core of the city. City hall includes Planning and Building Department, Public Works and other city departments. A park within the site is named for Richard Carpenter and his wife Mary.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boney Peak</span> Mountain in California, United States

Boney Mountain in Ventura County, California is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains. The prominent mountain visible from Newbury Park, California is 2,825 feet (861 m). It is also known as Boney Peak. The mountain contains four of the highest peaks in the coastal range of the Santa Monica Mountains: Boney Peak, Sandstone Peak, Exchange Peak, and Tri Peaks. The highest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains is Sandstone Peak, situated less than a mile northeast of Boney Peak along the same ridge of volcanic rock. It is the top section of a mass of volcanic rock which solidified around 15 million years ago, and was later uplifted to its dominant position, overshadowing western Conejo Valley. The Chumash Native Americans have a long and deeply spiritual history of interaction at and near the mountain, and the peak is considered a sacred mountain to the Chumash people.

Rancho El Conejo was a 48,572-acre (196.56 km2) Spanish land grant in California given in 1803 to Jose Polanco and Ygnacio Rodriguez that encompassed the area now known as the Conejo Valley in southeastern Ventura and northwestern Los Angeles Counties. El Conejo is Spanish for "The Rabbit", and refers to the many rabbits common to the region. The east-west grant boundaries approximately went from the border of Westlake Village near Lindero Canyon Road in the east to the Conejo Grade in the west. The north-south borders extended from the top of the Simi Hills at the end of Moorpark Road in the north to Hidden Valley in the Santa Monica Mountains in the south. The rancho is the site of the communities of Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conejo Grade</span> Steep grade on US 101 Highway in Ventura County, California

The Conejo Grade is a 7% grade incline on a section of US 101. Also known as the Camarillo Grade, it links Thousand Oaks and cities of the Conejo Valley, with Camarillo and the cities on the Oxnard Plain. With a summit elevation of 841.1 feet (256.4 m), California Highway Patrol inspection stations for trucks are situated on both sides of the highway at the upper terminus of the grade.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arroyo Conejo</span> Creek in the Conejo Valley, California

Arroyo Conejo is the longest creek in the Conejo Valley, sprawling over the cities of Thousand Oaks and Camarillo, and the communities of Newbury Park, Casa Conejo and Santa Rosa Valley. Arroyo Conejo is the primary drainage for the City of Thousand Oaks. Its watershed covers 57 square miles (150 km2) of which 43 square miles (110 km2) are in the Conejo Valley and 14 square miles (36 km2) in the Santa Rosa Valley.

Satwiwa was a former Chumash village in the Santa Monica Mountains of Newbury Park, California. The current Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is operated by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Friends of Satwiwa. Satwiwa has been inhabited by Chumash Indians for over 10,000 years. It is situated at the foothills of Boney Mountain, a sacred mountain for the Chumash.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deer Ridge Open Space</span>

Deer Ridge Open Space is a 188-acre public-owned open-space area in the southwest portion of the town of Newbury Park, California. It contains a series of north-facing mountainous ridges and canyons, dominated by chaparral and oak trees. It shares borders with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to the south, and the Los Robles Trail traverses the length of Deer Ridge Open Space. Its main trailhead is located on Potrero Road, while a smaller access point is located at the southern end of Felton Street. The Los Robles Trail is the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency’s longest trail, and connects to open-space areas and parks such as the Los Padres Open Space, Conejo Ridge Open Space, Hope Nature Preserve, Old Conejo Open Space, and the Los Vientos Open Space. The trail in Newbury Park provides panoramic views of the Conejo Valley and Santa Monica Mountains, before entering the Hope Nature Preserve. The Los Robles Trail provides more than 25 miles of contiguous trails connecting Newbury Park to Westlake Village in Los Angeles County. Immediately south of the Deer Ridge Open Space in Newbury Park are the Hidden Valley and Rancho Sierra Vista Satwiwa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dos Vientos Open Space</span> 1,216 acres (492 ha) parkland in Ventura County, California with more than 41 miles of trails

Dos Vientos Open Space is a 1,216 acres (492 ha) open space area in western Newbury Park, California. It contains more than 41 miles (66 km) of trails used for cycling, hiking and equestrians. Originally a part of the Rancho Guadalasca Spanish Land Grant of 1836, the area is now an important wildlife movement corridor into the Santa Monica Mountains through the Point Mugu State Park. It provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including bobcats, mule deer, coyotes, eagles, hawks, barn owls, mountain lions, and more. It provides regional and internal trail connections, many trails offering panoramic views of the Conejo Valley, Oxnard Plain, Topatopa Mountains, Channel Islands, and the Pacific Ocean. Some of the endangered plant species found here include Conejo buckwheat, Verity's liveforever, and Conejo dudleya. The landscape is undeveloped, and dominated by coastal sage scrub, grassy hillsides, oak woodlands, and chaparral habitats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ventu Park Open Space</span>

Ventu Park Open Space is a 141-acre open space area in Newbury Park, California. Its primary features are the Rosewood Trail leading to Angel Vista, a 1,603 ft peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. Parking for the Rosewood Trail is located at the Stagecoach Inn Park, across Lynn Road from the primary trailhead. The Rosewood Trail begins with oak woodland and crosses a creek at the canyon floor, before climbing up towards the steep Angel Vista Point. There are 360-degree panoramic views of the Conejo Valley, the Oxnard Plain, the California Channel Islands, Pacific Ocean, Point Mugu, Hidden Valley, as well as the Santa Monica-, Santa Susana- and Topa Topa Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Clef Ridge</span>

Mount Clef Ridge is a 1,076 ft volcanic mountain in Thousand Oaks, California. It is a volcanic outcrop that resulted from lava eruptions 30 million years ago. The ridge was formerly under ownership by the Janss Corporation, but was acquired by the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) in 1967. Trails here are available from Santa Rosa Valley, Newbury Park and Wildwood Regional Park. Although being a major feature of Wildwood, it occupies its own open-space area bordering Wildwood's northern boundaries. Mount Clef Ridge Open Space Area occupies 212 acres. From the ridge are great panoramic views of Santa Rosa Valley, Conejo Valley, Hill Canyon, as well as the Santa Susana-, Santa Monica- and Topatopa Mountains. The open-space area is home to plants such as coastal sage scrub, chaparral, Lyon's pentachaeta and Conejo dudleya. The fauna includes mountain lions, deer, coyotes, gray foxes, and more.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thousand Oaks Boulevard</span> Street in the Ventura County, California

Thousand Oaks Boulevard, previously known as Ventura Boulevard, is a street in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County. It stretches from Thousand Oaks through Westlake Village to Agoura Hills. In Thousand Oaks, it is located in the downtown area and was also known as Main Street until the Moorpark Freeway was completed in the 1960s. Today it remains one of the busiest commercial areas in Thousand Oaks, although many businesses are also located at The Oaks and Janss Marketplace. It is Thousand Oaks’ major east-west thoroughfare, connecting The Oaks mall on the west to Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in the east. It runs parallel to the Ventura Freeway. As of 2017, over 230 businesses are housed on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chumash Indian Museum</span> Chumash Interpretive Center in Thousand Oaks, CA

Chumash Indian Museum is a Native American Interpretive Center in northeast Thousand Oaks, California. It is the site of a former Chumash village, known as Sap'wi. It is located in Oakbrook Regional Park, a 432-acre park which is home to a replica of a Chumash village and thousand year-old Chumash pictographs. The pictographs by nearby Birthing Cave are not open to the public, but can be observed on docent-led tours. Chumash people inhabited the village 10,000 years ago.

Reba Marie Hays Jeffries was one of the founders of Newbury Park Chamber of Commerce and later its first female president. She was a prominent supporter of Newbury Park cityhood and opposed the annexation by neighboring Thousand Oaks. She was also an outspoken supporter of preserving Stagecoach Inn and the Newbury Park Post Office when it was proposed that they be demolished.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conejo Recreation and Park District</span> Park management agency in Thousand Oaks, California

Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) is the park management agency for most of the parks in the Conejo Valley, California. Established in 1962, CRPD later established Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) in 1977 through a joint effort with the City of Thousand Oaks. COSCA administers over 15,000 acres of open space and 140 miles of trails, while CRPD administers over 50 community parks. In 2019, CRPD's annual operating budget was $20 million, of which about 70% comes from property taxes.

References

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