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Click here to go straight to a number of articles about Oak View in years past.
According to research by Patricia L. Fry, Ojai resident and author of The Ojai Valley: an illustrated history (see link for book at Matilija Press, Ojai), here are some key points of interest:
- Watermelons were once grown where Dahl’s Market now is.
- A Sears store used to exist in the Dahl’s mall.
- Apricot orchards covered much of the remaining land (see Apricot Street, two streets west of Hwy 33, off West Oak View Avenue, Mahoney Avenue, or Santa Ana Boulevard). This area was once called Oak View Gardens, as the houses were being developed, primarily sold to oil workers. (See Percy Watkins’ article The Road to Ojai in the December 6, 1958 issue of the Oak View Sentinel that explains how the Oak View Gardens were developed).
- Hiram Watkins (1866-1942) and his wife Allie Belle Watkins (? – 1951) owned 75 acres of land east of Hwy 33 in Oak View and tended an Apricot orchard there. They later opened a gasoline service station / grocery store at the corner of Hwy 33 and Watkins Way (near Boccali’s Pizza & Pasta). In 1928, the market for apricots dried up. So, they pulled out all of the apricot trees and went back to making brooms to sell to merchants in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles, or to sell door-to-door when business was slower. It’s said he made the brooms in a barn near Mirror Lake, Oak View, CA. Percy was a son who married Effie. Percy contributed some history to the Oak View Sentinel
- Mrs. Jessie R. Caldwell ran a gas station and grocery in Oak View Gardens (1927), where the Shell station is now, at Hwy33 and Santa Ana Boulevard.
- Rumor has it the Oak View Library started in 1930 in a garage.
- Glenn Memorial Park, in memory of Captain Glenn A. Loban and others who lost their lives in the war, was created at the corner of West Apricot and Mahoney Avenue.
- The History of Rancho Arnaz … Dr. Don Jose de Arnaz (b. 1821 Spain) (related to Entertainer Desi Arnaz) first built the adobe house there. The adobe bricks were made by local Indians. In 1930, Thomas Langford bought the lands around Rancho Arnaz, and his son Arthur Langford later bought it. They grew and developed up to 43 varieties of apples on the land.