Pictured above is a mural in progress just outside Nova Storage at 455 A Street. Fillmore artist, musician and activist Gabriel Cardenas is the one responsible for this beautiful artwork.
Pictured above is a mural in progress just outside Nova Storage at 455 A Street. Fillmore artist, musician and activist Gabriel Cardenas is the one responsible for this beautiful artwork.
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The Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association label that inspired the mural.
The Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association label that inspired the mural.

Nova Storage is at it again. After the initial historic fruit label mural was so well received by the community, Nova committed to a public art project consisting of several more murals to be painted at 455 A St. The program was approved by the City of Fillmore Arts Commission on August 26th. Nova Storage reached out to the community by conducting an online poll where people voted on their favorite historic fruit label design. The community’s response was greater than expected and the winner was the SESPE label. Coming soon.

Talented local Fillmore artist, musician, and “artivist” Gabriel Cardenas of Fillmore will once again be beautifying another wall with the painting of the SESPE label. This mural, which began its process this past Saturday, November 14th, is one of a total of four murals scheduled to be painted on the Nova Storage property.

“Being part of the communities we serve is something we embrace at Nova Storage”, said Sam Arias – Sales & Marketing Manager for Nova. “Due to Covid- 19, we were unable to incorporate an Art Student Workshop on “How to Paint a Mural” as we had planned, but when it’s safer we will collaborate with Fillmore High School’s Visual & Performing Arts Dept. Chair Rosalind Mitzenmacher on future mural paintings”.

Nova Storage continues to be active in their local communities, with nine branches providing superior customer service and offering clean, safe and secure facilities at a great rate. Stop by one of their locations, like them on Facebook, follow on Instagram, and visit their website at www.NovaStorage.com.

 


 
Pictured above (l-r) are Theresa Robledo, Julie Latshaw, Martha Richardson, Ari Larson and Cindy Blatt of Fillmore Rotary Club who passed out books to Fillmore students as part of their Annual Dictionary Project.
Pictured above (l-r) are Theresa Robledo, Julie Latshaw, Martha Richardson, Ari Larson and Cindy Blatt of Fillmore Rotary Club who passed out books to Fillmore students as part of their Annual Dictionary Project.
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Rotary member Martha Richardson is shown handing a book to a Fillmore student as they drive by.
Rotary member Martha Richardson is shown handing a book to a Fillmore student as they drive by.
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The Rotary Club of Fillmore just completed their Dictionary Project. For several Years the Club has participated in this project. Members present a dictionary to each 3rd grader in the school district. This year, because of Covid-19, instead of going to each classroom members distributed the dictionaries during each schools distribution day. Each book has a label inside with Rotary’s 4-Way Test. The Club has been doing this project for close to 20 years and during that time we have donated 5,928 dictionaries to 3rd graders in Fillmore and Piru.

 


 
Pictured above is last year’s Annual Holiday Giveaway which will be held Saturday, December 12th from 9am to 12pm at the Veteran’s Memorial Building.
Pictured above is last year’s Annual Holiday Giveaway which will be held Saturday, December 12th from 9am to 12pm at the Veteran’s Memorial Building.
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This year’s annual Fillmore Community Holiday Giveaway will be held Saturday, December 12th from 9 AM – 12 PM outside of the Fillmore/Piru Veteran’s Memorial Building, 511 Second St. This is the annual event where holiday commodities are given to the children who reside within the Fillmore Unified School District boundaries. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the location and format of the Giveaway has changed. This event will be a drive-thru, contactless format. Anyone wishing to receive holiday commodities must preregister prior to December 9th. The age and gender of each child will need to be identified so that age appropriate toys and socks may be pre-package for pick up. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, personal sizing of coats will not be available, instead, nice warm individual blankets will be distributed to each child. As is customary, a holiday bag of groceries will also be available. To ensure that Santa is well for Christmas delivery of toys, he will only be available to wave at the children from a distance this year. Everyone must remain in their vehicle. To preregister for the Giveaway send an email to recreation@fillmoreca.gov, you must provide proof of residency within the School District.

Annual sponsors of the event include our local Fillmore Police and Fire Departments, Santa Clara Valley Legal Aid, One Step A La Vez, Soroptimist International of Fillmore, Rotary International of Fillmore, Fillmore Lions Club, Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Fillmore Citizen’s Patrol, The Fillmore Fire Foundation and numerous other generous personal and business donors including NOVA Storage. Our sponsor list will be updated week to week.

If you would like to help donate to the Fillmore Community Holiday Giveaway, you may give new toys, socks or canned food; drop boxes are located at the Fillmore Police Station and at the Fillmore City Fire Station. Monetary donations are preferred this year to reduce person to person contact, checks may be made out to “The Fillmore Fire Foundation” with a notation of “Holiday Giveaway”. Donations may be mailed to Fillmore Fire Foundation, PO Box 331, Fillmore , CA 93016 or for drop off, please contact Scott Beylik (805) 732-1101 or Keith Gurrola (805) 558-0932.

 


 
Example of the temporary housing for the apricot crew.
Example of the temporary housing for the apricot crew.
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Apricot drying circa 1900.
Apricot drying circa 1900.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

Before there was citrus in this valley, there were apricots. Apricots came to Ventura County with the Missions and spread throughout the county with the settlers.

David Cook planted apricots on his property in Piru in the early 1890s. He advertised “far and wide” in 1897 for workers for a two-week season, promising accommodations: “a pleasant and safe environment for most timid and refined ladies”. The accommodations were tents. He received three hundred applications. Pitting started upstream on Piru Creek and moved down as fruit ripened.

In 1893, S. A. Guiberson planted apricots and spent $1000 perfecting and patenting a pitting machine. By 1900 there were 290 acres planted in Bardsdale. Families with apricot orchards besides the Guibersons were the Bartels, Baldeschweiler (Balden), Daugherty, Stuart, Grimes, Michels, LeBards, Stolls, and Wengerts. Joseph McNab had a pitting shed in Fillmore on the corner of First and Saratoga. Tommy Arundell in Pole Creek was known for apricots which made the pitters drool.

Families came from as far away as Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th century to work in the apricot harvest. For many it was seen as a paid vacation from city life with housing provided by the ranchers.

In July 1904 it was reported that the apricot harvest was in full swing with the employment of hundreds of people young and old. There were said to be 500 pitters at work in the orchards near Piru alone.

By 1912 the citrus crop far outstripped apricots and other “deciduous fruits”. That year the sale of citrus fruits from Ventura County exceeded $37 million in value, while deciduous fruits were a mere $18 million.

The apricot harvest went on through the 1940s, although losing ground to the citrus industry, just as it seems today citrus is giving way to avocadoes. During the years of World War II, the local populace turned out to harvest the apricot crop, much of which was dried and sent overseas to the troops.

 


 
Isaiah Avalos, 20, Fillmore
Isaiah Avalos, 20, Fillmore

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a hit and run traffic collision on Tuesday, November 3rd, in the city of Fillmore which led to the arrest of a 20-year-old Fillmore man for auto theft, hit-and-run resulting in injuries, and petty theft.

On November 3rd, at approximately 6:29 a.m., patrol deputies were dispatched to the area of Mountain View Street and Ventura Street in the city of Fillmore for a report of a driver who fled on foot after his vehicle struck a pole. Around the same time, a second collision was reported nearby. As deputies arrived on scene, a male later identified as Isaiah Avalos, was seen running from the area. Detectives from the Fillmore Police Station responded to assist with the investigation and to locate Avalos. Deputies and detectives found Avalos nearby and attempted to contact him, but he evaded them. After a lengthy foot pursuit, Avalos was taken into custody.

Deputies and detectives discovered Avalos had been reported as a missing at-risk person and the vehicle he had been driving was an unreported stolen vehicle. Avalos was also discovered to be involved in a crime spree involving multiple thefts from vehicles, in addition to another hit and run collision, and vehicle tampering. Detectives are currently investigating these cases.

Avalos was arrested and booked at the Main Jail for VC 10851(a) / Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle, VC 20001(a) / Felony Hit and Run, VC 20002(a) / Misdemeanor Hit and Run and PC 484(a) / Petty Theft. Avalos remains in custody with his bail set at $25,000 and a court date scheduled for 11/17/20.

Nature of Incident: Stolen Vehicle, Hit and Run and Petty Theft Arrest
Report Number: RB# 20-152769
Location: City of Fillmore
Date & Time: 11/03/20 @ 6:29 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Patrol Services and Fillmore Detectives
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence, Age
(S) Isaiah Avalos, 20, Fillmore
Prepared by: Detective Shawn Pewsey #3867
Approved by: Captain Garo Kuredjian

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
On Tuesday, November 10th at 1:46pm, in the 1700 block of Grimes Canyon Road in Bardsdale, a belly dump truck carrying a full load of gravel, and a grey Toyota Camry collided causing the truck to roll on its side, blocking lanes in both directions. The Camry had severe front-end damage. Cause of the crash is still under investigation. Lanes were to be impacted until possibly 10pm according to the California Highway Patrol.
On Tuesday, November 10th at 1:46pm, in the 1700 block of Grimes Canyon Road in Bardsdale, a belly dump truck carrying a full load of gravel, and a grey Toyota Camry collided causing the truck to roll on its side, blocking lanes in both directions. The Camry had severe front-end damage. Cause of the crash is still under investigation. Lanes were to be impacted until possibly 10pm according to the California Highway Patrol.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Sheriff’s deputies responded to an assault call on Thursday, November 5th, in the city of Fillmore which led to the arrest of a 15-year-old Fillmore resident for assault with a deadly weapon and participation in a criminal street gang.

On November 5th, at approximately 1:22 p.m., patrol deputies were dispatched to the 400 block of Sespe Avenue in the city of Fillmore for a report of a subject who had been struck in the head with a hammer. Detectives from the Fillmore Police Station and the Sheriff’s Gang Unit also responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. Detectives determined the victim and his girlfriend were walking in the area and saw a male juvenile in the front passenger seat of a vehicle, flashing gang-related hand signs at them as the vehicle passed by. A short time later, the vehicle returned and the juvenile exited the vehicle. An altercation occurred between the victim and juvenile, with the juvenile producing a hammer. The juvenile struck the victim in the head and body multiple times with the hammer and then fled the scene in the vehicle. The victim had moderate injuries and was treated and released from Santa Paula Hospital.

Deputies and detectives identified the juvenile and arrested him late Thursday night when he turned himself in at the Fillmore Police Station. The juvenile was booked at the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Center for PC 245(a)(1) / Assault with a Deadly Weapon and PC 186.22(a) / Participation in a Criminal Street Gang.

Nature of Incident: Gang Member arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Report Number: RB# 20-153961
Location: City of Fillmore
Date & Time: 11/05/20 @ 1:22 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Patrol Services, Fillmore Detectives, and Sheriff’s Gang Unit
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence, Age
(S) Juvenile Fillmore 15
Prepared by: Detective Shawn Pewsey #3867
Approved by: Captain Garo Kuredjian

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
 
On the corner of Mountain View and Ventura Street construction is underway for Mountain View Apartments. This will be an affordable housing development made possible with financing from Multifamily Housing Program through the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, California Municipal Finance Agency, Enterprise, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., County of Ventura, Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, Walker & Dunlop, and the City of Fillmore.
On the corner of Mountain View and Ventura Street construction is underway for Mountain View Apartments. This will be an affordable housing development made possible with financing from Multifamily Housing Program through the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, California Municipal Finance Agency, Enterprise, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., County of Ventura, Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, Walker & Dunlop, and the City of Fillmore.
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A train crossing the Sespe River but not using the wooden bridge Hartley Sprague describes. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
A train crossing the Sespe River but not using the wooden bridge Hartley Sprague describes. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Hartley Sprague, owner of Rancho Sespe, whose father was convicted of the murder of T. Wallace.
Hartley Sprague, owner of Rancho Sespe, whose father was convicted of the murder of T. Wallace.
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Harry Peyton, who first began working at Rancho Camulos and built water tanks in Piru.
Harry Peyton, who first began working at Rancho Camulos and built water tanks in Piru.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

In 1887 the Southern Pacific Railroad came through the Santa Clara River Valley, and the rest, as it is said is history. Luckily, some of it was recorded for us. In the 1930s, Charles Jarrett did a series of interviews he titled, “Who’s Who in Fillmore, Meeting the Old Timers.” He interviewed Judge C. C. Elkins, Hugh Warring, Fergus Fairbanks, and many others. Two people he interviewed, Hartley Sprague and Harry Peyton, told about their experiences with the railroad coming to our area.

Harry Peyton was born in Quebec in 1858. When he was twelve, his family moved to Vermont where he lived until turning twenty-one. Over the next few years, he worked his way through the fields of Minnesota and North Dakota and working as a carpenter for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He eventually came to Los Angeles (via New Orleans) and there went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a carpenter. His first work began on the siding near Camulos. Peyton said that he built water tanks at Piru and several section houses (dormitories for railroad personnel) along the route. He is also credited with constructing the Fillmore Southern Pacific depot from the prefabricated panels which arrived on flat car.

According to Mr. Jarrett’s article, Southern Pacific didn’t feed its workers very well, so the workers often bought food from local farmers and ranchers. That is how Mr. Peyton met Miss Haidee Atlee. When his work on the railroad was done, he left briefly for Oregon, but the memory of Miss Atlee stayed with him and he returned to marry her in 1888. Some of their descendants are still living in the area.

Hartley Sprague’s family came to the valley in 1871. His father, Frederick, is remembered for two things – building the first school in the area and being convicted of the murder of T. Wallace More, owner of Rancho Sespe. Those stories have been told elsewhere so we’ll concentrate on what Hartley related to Mr. Jarrett about the coming of the railroad to the Sespe.

“(In 1887) the rails crept slowly down the valley. Finally, the tracklayers reached Fillmore and the engineers built a wooden bridge across the Sespe west of town. Mr. Sprague admits he was very skeptical when he examined the structure and was convinced that it would never carry the weight of a locomotive. Days later he was riding up a trail north of Fillmore when he saw black smoke to the east. Stopping his horse, he sat and waited until the chugging little engine finally appeared and crawled along to what he though was certain doom. Nearing the bridge, the engineer throttled down to a snail’s pace and a few minutes later, the doubting rider – far up on the side of Oat Mountain – breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the puffing little trailbreaker proceeding on towards Santa Paula.”

The wooden bridge was later replaced.

If you have missed any of the stories we have been telling, you can catch up at https://www.fillmorehistoricalmuseum.org/story-index.