A.J. Comstock Fire Museum in Ventura

The A.J. Comstock Fire Museum is located in the Figueroa Street Mall one block pedestrian section between E. Main Street and E. Santa Clara Street in Downtown Ventura.

You don't actually walk through this museum; you look through the windows and are treated to a display of vintage items, including equipment and photographs that document the history of the Ventura County Fire Department.

The museum was dedicated to retired fire chief A.J. Comstock, who served the community for 33 years, from 1940 to 1973. 

The Figueroa Street Mall is located on the west end of the Downtown Ventura area, adjacent to Mission Park and the Museum of Ventura County directly west of it and the San Buenaventura Mission directly across from it on Main Street.

This block is also home to the San Buenaventura China Alley Memorial. A Chinese community was established on this block in the 1870s. Chinese merchants, laborers, farmers, cooks, laundrymen, gardeners and servants did business here and lived in small homes. These early settlers maintained their language and customs and rituals in this small enclave. The acclaimed Chinese Fire Brigade was formed here, often the first line of defense at local fires. 

Other contributions of the Chinese immigrants to the community included a water flume above the San Buenaventura Aqueduct along Ventura Avenue and the Chinese Fire Brigade that served China Alley and the surrounding neighborhood. The Chinese Brigade was often the first fire company at the site of a fire and was instrumental in saving many structures in the downtown area. During the early days of immigration, the people of San Buenaventura welcomed their new Chinese neighbors as an inexpensive source of labor. However, with the incorporation of strict national immigration laws in the early 20th century, a hostile environment forced the residents of China Alley to relocate to other areas.

The immigrants dispersed from the area in the early 20th century when immigration laws became more exclusionary and settlers moved away, either back to China or to neighboring areas. The City of San Buenaventura and the Ventura County Chinese American Historical Society dedicated a memorial to these settlers in August 2004.

The Figueroa Street Mall

The Figueroa Street Mall