Apricot drying at E.B. Turner Ranch, Sespe. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
Apricot drying at E.B. Turner Ranch, Sespe. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Royce G. Surdam, father of Bardsdale, who came to Ventura County in 1866 from New York, and became one of the county’s first realtors.
Royce G. Surdam, father of Bardsdale, who came to Ventura County in 1866 from New York, and became one of the county’s first realtors.
View of Bardsdale with the German Evangelical places for the people. Church in the distance.
View of Bardsdale with the German Evangelical places for the people. Church in the distance.
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Men drilling the first water well on the Stringtown Ditch at Shiells Canyon.
Men drilling the first water well on the Stringtown Ditch at Shiells Canyon.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

Bardsdale
By F. L. Fairbanks

From Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly, Vol 1. February, 1956

R. G. Surdam, father of Bardsdale, was born in Dutchess County, New York, on August 11, 1835, according to early histories of Ventura County. We are especially interested in him because he was the County's first realtor.

He came to California in 1854, and to Ventura County in 1866. His first real estate venture was not at Bardsdale but at Ojai, where he purchased 1700 acres from Thomas R. Bard and laid the beginnings of the Town of Nordhoff, whose name was later changed to Ojai. Later, in 1887, he bought from Thomas R. Bard about 1500 acres, land purchased by Bard from the More family. Surdam advertised this tract on a grand scale for those days, one of his advertisements appearing in a recent brochure published by Title Insurance and trust Company and generously distributed by that corporation. The booklet was entitled "The Story of Ventura County." In some of the literature put out by Surdam he made extravagant claims for the land, and Bard, feeling that his name had been used without authorization, made public -contradiction of some of the statements and offered to buy back at cost any parcels which the purchaser felt had been misrepresented.

In Southern California water is ever more important than the land on which it is to be used, so concurrently with the Subdivision there was organized Southside Improvement Company, a California corporation, whose Articles were filed on February 28, 1887. It was organized for the purpose of furnishing domestic and irrigating water to the new community. To each l0-acre parcel of land was assigned 20 shares of stock in the corporation. The first directors were Thomas R. Bard, Cephas L. Bard, R. G. Surdam, E. O. Gerberding and F. W. Gerberding, the two latter being brothers-in-Jaw of Thomas R. Bard.

The eastern boundary of the Bardsdale Tract was the present Chambersburg Road, which is a part of the highway from Fillmore to Moorpark.

As near as I can check from the records in the office of the County Recorder the first deed from Surdam conveying land in the Tract was issued to Bernhard Broderson, the second of America Philbrook and the third to Henry Klages. The map of the Tract was recorded in Book 2, page 139 of Miscellaneous Records in the office of the County Recorder of Ventura County. The map says the tract 1297.67 acres.

Through the courtesy of Clarence R, Young, secretary of the Southside Improvement Company now and for many years past, I have had access to the old minutes of Southside. From an economic side they give almost a full history of the growth of the community. For about the first twenty years of the life of Southside the place of business of the water company was at Hueneme. I became a bookkeeper and teller in Bank of Hueneme in 1895, where the Southside kept their funds. I can still remember seeing James Walker, Sr., Geo. N. King, J. R. McKee, Geo. A. Wengert, Diedrich Bartels and others of their stockholders in Hueneme on their meeting days. All of these men were part of the backbone of Bardsdale. J. S McKee was for years the agent of Bard in the sale of lands. Later Geo. N. King served in the same capacity. While working for Bank of Hueneme I had an opportunity to see the generous attitude of Mr. Bard toward all of these Bardsdale settlers. He was president of the Bank, Maj. Thos. J. Gregg the cashier. I recall hearing Maj. Gregg say to Mr. Bard one day that we had too much money on hand and the demand for loans was slow. Mr. Bard said, "I have quite a number of mortgages on Bardsdale property and would be willing to let you have some of them. However, it must be with the understanding that if you need your money at any time you must not annoy or bother the mortgagors. Just charge the paper back to my account." Many of the early settlers in Bardsdale told me after I came to Fillmore that if it had not been for the liberal attitude of Mr. Bard they would have had to lose their lands.

At a very early date there was organized in Bardsdale a German Evangelical Church. According to Mrs. Willis Burson (born Kate Baldeschwieler) the Sunday morning service was, in German and the evening service in English. I think Mrs. Burson is the only living attendant of these services, but the descendants of the early day members are among the best known and most respected members of the community. You run across the names Haase, Hassheider. Michel,
Bartels, Baldeschwieler (later changed to Balden), Ritzmann, Wengert and many others in the records. With the passage of time and the birth of another generation the Evangelical Church Ceased to appeal to the community and the Bardsdale Methodist Church was organized.

In 1948 they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the latter. Mrs. Willis Burson wrote a History of the Bardsdale Church in which she said: "As nearly as can be ascertained services were first conducted in Bardsdale German Evangelical Church under the auspices of the Methodist Church by Rev. George Alexander some time in 1892." The Methodist Church was organize-d in 1898. Her history abounds with the sacrifices made by the community to start and then to maintain their Church. Bardsdale has always been la strongly religious community and the Church has been a rallying point for many community efforts. Mrs. Burson states in her history that the lots for the Church building were given by Thomas R. Bard, and that he made other substantial donations also.

I suppose that one writing the story of Bardsdale should preface it with a reference to an earlier settlement, Stringtown, so called because it was a settlement in which the homes were along what was called Stringtown Ditch, one of the early day water rights in the County. The Stringtown Ditch had its beginning about two miles east of Chambersburg Road and ran as far west as that road. S. A. Guiberson and wife settled east of that and raised large family on lands now owned by the Shiells family. Their home dates from 1860.

Along the Stringtown Ditch lived the Morrison, the Horntons, the Baums, the Curlees, the Asbills and many others. Mrs. Hattie V. (Busick) King tells me that she came to live with her Aunt, Mrs. Guiberson, in 1884 the year of the big flood, when most of Stringtown settlers had their homes washed away by the Santa Clara. Mrs. King states that there were many children in that territory and that all of them went to school across the River, in Cienega schoolhouse. Later a school district was formed a Willow Grove, and still later one at Bardsdale. I mention so fully these items about schools and churches because in every new development in our Country they have been gathering places for the people.

When I first came to Fillmore in 1907, Bardsdale was largely given over to the raising of apricots. Each year about July first saw an influx of pitters with their tent and numerous children, coming from Los Angeles for the only vacation they were apt to have. As time went on the land became too valuable for the growing of ‘cots and the day of the orange and lemons arrived. Now one of the most beautiful sights in the County is the citrus groves in Bardsdale. Originally all water furnished by Southside arrived by gravity: now it is all pumped from wells along the river.

Bardsdale being Surdam’s greatest contribution to the County, it seems fitting that when he died he was laid to rest in the beautiful Bardsdale Cemetery, which looks out over the ranches he was instrumental in starting.

 


 
The City of Fillmore will spend roughly $200,000 to correct multiple violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Two Rivers Park in Fillmore. Restroom fixtures need modifying to meet requirements, along with the dog park. Money from developers of The Bridges subdivision, which was to be used for improvements such as new turf and lights for baseball and soccer fields will now be used to correct violations. Currently, playground equipment and skate park are closed due the COVID-19 health orders.
The City of Fillmore will spend roughly $200,000 to correct multiple violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Two Rivers Park in Fillmore. Restroom fixtures need modifying to meet requirements, along with the dog park. Money from developers of The Bridges subdivision, which was to be used for improvements such as new turf and lights for baseball and soccer fields will now be used to correct violations. Currently, playground equipment and skate park are closed due the COVID-19 health orders.
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On Monday, July 20th at 9:30am, crews blocked off part of 3rd Street near Fillmore First Assembly of God Church to work on powerlines in the area.
On Monday, July 20th at 9:30am, crews blocked off part of 3rd Street near Fillmore First Assembly of God Church to work on powerlines in the area.
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Fillmore’s Vallarta Restaurant has made the move to outside dining for customers as a result of the recent closure of indoor dining by the State of California due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fillmore’s Vallarta Restaurant has made the move to outside dining for customers as a result of the recent closure of indoor dining by the State of California due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Ventura County Healthcare Agency will be holding COVID-19 walk-up testing sites in Fillmore and Piru requiring no fee or appointment. Please see the above flyer for dates, times and locations. Courtesy City of Fillmore.
The Ventura County Healthcare Agency will be holding COVID-19 walk-up testing sites in Fillmore and Piru requiring no fee or appointment. Please see the above flyer for dates, times and locations. Courtesy City of Fillmore.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the circulation of US coin. McDonalds, along with other stores in Fillmore, is asking customers for exact change or pay by debit/credit card.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the circulation of US coin. McDonalds, along with other stores in Fillmore, is asking customers for exact change or pay by debit/credit card.
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Pictured above is Lawrence Hinckley in 1936. He is the oldest child of Ira and Kate Hinckley. Photos courtesy Fillmore
Historical Museum.
Pictured above is Lawrence Hinckley in 1936. He is the oldest child of Ira and Kate Hinckley. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Mildred Wedding
Mildred Wedding
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Card to Crusons
Card to Crusons
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The Artists Barn, that Lawrence worked at until it closed during World War II, when he left to work for Douglas Aircraft.
The Artists Barn, that Lawrence worked at until it closed during World War II, when he left to work for Douglas Aircraft.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

Lawrence Hinckley was the oldest of Ira and Kate Hinckley's two children, born in 1900, four years before his sister, Hattie Mae. His artistic talents were manifested early and while his parents might have preferred him going into a more steady line of work, he enrolled in the newly opened Otis Art institute in Los Angeles. Over the next few years he plied his craft in Santa Barbara and Ojai.

In June of 1936 at the Fillmore Presbyterian Church, Lawrence married Mildred Coombs of Santa Paula. Mildred was a reporter and columnist for the Santa Paula Chronicle. She continued to write columns for the Chronicle through at least 1945.

At first they lived in a small beach house, but Mildred knew this was not practical for the long term. One day while visiting Mom and Dad Hinckley (Ira and Kate), she noticed a derelict barn on the two acres the Hinckley's owned off First St. The idea struck her that the barn could be converted into a home and studio. Her enthusiasm for the idea carried the day and by the fall, the newlyweds had a new home and Fillmore had an art gallery. The gallery would open on November 21, 1936 and be a landmark on Bard Street in Fillmore until 1961. Throughout its run, internationally known artists would visit the gallery as well as regular tourist buses which would stop on their way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
During World War II, they essentially closed the Artists' Barn and Lawrence went to work for Douglas Aircraft heading a team or artists who did charts and technical drawings.

After the war, the Artists' Barn was again a Mecca for artists and art lovers but the Hinckley's expanded into ceramics. Some of the items were purely decorative, while others were also practical items like spoon rests or scissor holders.
One unusual item they made was Fundo the Elephant who was commissioned by the Republican's Women's Club of Santa Barbara. As Mildred Hinckley in her book "The Artists Barn", "The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was "Fundo"…On his white back was printed in red and blue, "Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P." Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription "For Ike" and "Get Well Soon." I wrapped Ike's Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.

Mildred went on to write, "On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, " ...... all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money….."

All the while the Artists' Barn was operating, Lawrence continued to paint and draw. Many local homes and businesses displayed his art work. He was especially know for his landscapes and for portraits of colorful characters.

In 1961 the Artists' Barn finally closed. Lawrence continued his painting and Mildred became even more involved than she had been with the Church of Religious Science. She was the founding minister of the Fillmore Church of Religious Science and was pivotal in the construction of their building on River Street. In recognition for her work she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Religious Science International.

Lawrence passed away in 1987 and Mildred in 1995. They were survived by their son, William, who is a professor of education and two grandchildren. The Artists' Barn was sold and is now a private home.

If you would like to see some of Lawrence's artwork, please visit the Hinckley House at the Fillmore Historical Museum when we reopen. A few of the Artists' Barn ceramics are for a sale in the Museum Gift Shop.

 


 
On Wednesday, July 8th, actress Naya Rivera went missing in Lake Piru after renting a pontoon for herself and her 4-year old son. Her son was found asleep on the boat, wearing a life jacket, about three hours after they left the docks. An extensive search took place until July 13th, when her body was recovered in the north-east end of the lake. Her death
has been ruled an accidental drowning. Photos courtesy Ventura County Sheriff ’s Department.
On Wednesday, July 8th, actress Naya Rivera went missing in Lake Piru after renting a pontoon for herself and her 4-year old son. Her son was found asleep on the boat, wearing a life jacket, about three hours after they left the docks. An extensive search took place until July 13th, when her body was recovered in the north-east end of the lake. Her death has been ruled an accidental drowning. Photos courtesy Ventura County Sheriff ’s Department.
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Naya Marie Rivera
Naya Marie Rivera

On Wednesday, July 8th 33-year-old Los Angeles actress Naya Marie Rivera rented a boat at the lake Wednesday afternoon and went for an excursion with her four-year-old son. The boat was found drifting in the northern portion of the lake with the child alone and asleep onboard. Rivera’s son told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake, and he got back in the boat, but Rivera did not.

Approximately 50 sheriff’s personnel, along with a helicopter, boat crews, divers, and unmanned aerial vehicles searched the lake for five hours Wednesday evening, but Rivera could not be found. The entire shoreline and surface of the lake were thoroughly searched. Divers also searched under water in the area where the boat had last been seen. However, there was no sign of Rivera. The search was suspended at 10:00 pm Wednesday night due to zero visibility in the water and dangerous conditions for the divers.

The search resumed Thursday morning with divers experiencing less than one foot of visibility in the water in daylight. The difficult conditions have made the recovery operation a very slow process. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is assisting in the search with divers and sonar equipment. Approximately 100 personnel are participating in the mission on Thursday, including resources from neighboring counties and the United States Coast Guard. Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident.

The search continued until the morning of July 13, when a body was recovered at Lake Priu. Later that day the Ventura Medical Examiner released the following statement:

The body of a woman found in Lake Piru on Monday July 13, 2020 has been confirmed as Naya Marie Rivera. The cause of death is drowning, and the manner of death is accident.

Naya Marie Rivera, Age 33
Date of Pronouncement: 7/13/2020
Cause of Death: Drowning
Manner of Death: Accident
On the morning of July 13, the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office was notified that the body of a woman believed to be 33-year-old Naya Marie Rivera was recovered from the waters of Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. The circumstances and visual characteristics all indicated that the body was that of Naya Rivera and the identity has been confirmed by dental comparison. The body has been x-rayed and a full autopsy has been performed. The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged. No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy. There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role in the decedent's death, but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing.

 
On Saturday, July 11th at noon at Fillmore Central Park/City Hall, the Justice for Fillmore community held a meeting to discuss institutional racism in our community and society. Fillmore City Council Members, City Manager, Chief of Police and community members were all invited to participate. Due to State of Califoria ruling on meeting, the Fillmore City Manager and Fillmore Chief of Police were unable to attend the event. However, Fillmore City Council Members Manuel Minjares and Lynn Edmunds attended.
On Saturday, July 11th at noon at Fillmore Central Park/City Hall, the Justice for Fillmore community held a meeting to discuss institutional racism in our community and society. Fillmore City Council Members, City Manager, Chief of Police and community members were all invited to participate. Due to State of Califoria ruling on meeting, the Fillmore City Manager and Fillmore Chief of Police were unable to attend the event. However, Fillmore City Council Members Manuel Minjares and Lynn Edmunds attended.
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We’re happy to announce that our clubs in Santa Paula and Fillmore have reopened and are once again serving those who need us most! Our staff is working hard every day to keep everyone safe and healthy following social distancing guidelines. Piru Club is scheduled to open on Monday, July 13th. To register online visit Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley at bgclubscv.org
We’re happy to announce that our clubs in Santa Paula and Fillmore have reopened and are once again serving those who need us most! Our staff is working hard every day to keep everyone safe and healthy following social distancing guidelines. Piru Club is scheduled to open on Monday, July 13th. To register online visit Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley at bgclubscv.org
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Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley has officially started their summer program at all of their sites, including the Fillmore and Piru clubhouses. “It is with great excitement that I can share with you that all of our clubs are open in Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru,” said CEO Jan Marholin. According to Marholin, the organization has spent over $20,000 for sanitizing supplies (courtesy of some specific grants) in all of the facilities for the safety of both staff and club members. In addition, all clubhouses are following rigid guidelines set by both CDC and Ventura County Public Health, and in doing so, they have implemented a strict ratio of 10 youth to one staff member, thus, reducing their total onsite capacity. Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley is committed to continuing to support the youth in our community through this challenging time. There are still a few open spots left in our summer program, visits www.bgCLUBscv.org to register online.

Written by Nancy Rodriguez Hernandez, Engagement & Marketing Coordinator.