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New Book Looks At Little Known Stories, Forgotten Pictures From Ventura County's History

(Photo courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)
Five living U.S. Presidents at the dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley in 1991

Features photos dating back 150 years to modern day

It has 40 miles of beach, a two billion dollar a year agricultural industry, and the largest population of the three counties in the Tri-Counties.

But, did you know that when California became a state in 1850, Ventura County wasn’t one of the state’s original counties? California started with 27 counties, and what is now Ventura County was part of Santa Barbara County until the 1870's,

That’s one of the tidbits in a new book about Ventura County. Carina Monica Montoya is the author of “Images of America: Ventura County.”

The 128 page book is filled with photos which tell the county’s story. It starts with the Channel Islands, where studies show Chumash people lived eight to 10,000 years ago, and goes to modern times.

The Fillmore resident says there are also some mostly forgotten stories, like the U.S. Navy air craft carrier which was anchored off one of the Channel Islands for use as a target for missiles under development.

Montoya has done five history books for Arcadia Publishing, but says the Ventura County one was among the hardest because of the pandemic.

Among the photos in the book are ones of the Mission San Buenaventura in the early 1800's; Jungleland, a Thousand Oaks ranch which was home to exotic animals used in movies; and pictures of the damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake which hit communities like Fillmore and Simi Valley hard.

(U.S. Navy photo)
President John F. Kennedy visiting Point Mugu Naval Air Station in 1963.

There’s also a rare photograph of President John F. Kennedy visiting Naval Air Station Point Mugu shortly before his death. And, did you know there was a time when all five living U.S. Presidents visited Ventura County? It was for the 1991 dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.


“Images of America-Ventura County” is available locally through the “Bank of Books” bookstore in Ventura, and online through Arcadia Publishing, and Amazon.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.