Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is Open to the Public the First Sunday of Each Month

The Santa Paula Airport was dedicated in August 1930. Today it is a non-towered facility with nearly 300 aircraft, handling approximately 97,000 arrivals/departures a year. Much of the original 1930’s-era facilities still exist and are used today, giving the airport a very authentic representation of the Golden Age of Aviation.

Located at the Santa Paula Airport, the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is open the first Sunday of each month, with an array of hangars open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Upcoming dates: 7/7/19, 8/4/19, 9/1/19, 10/6/19, 11/3/19, 12/1/19.

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Each of the privately owned hangars houses a variety of vintage aircraft and collections of various types, as well as other memorabilia, such as antique radios, model aircraft and race cars. Some hangars celebrate highlights of fascinating aviation careers, while others contain antique aircraft undergoing the process of restoration. Hangar owners or docents are available to answer questions. 

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You've got to take the time to stop by. It is fun, low key and quite interesting. The hangars are directly adjacent to the airfield, so you are guaranteed to see aircraft taking and landing up close. The range of items on display at the various hangars is quite diverse. In fact, one of the most extensive, well organized collections of vintage radios I've ever seen is located in one of the hangars.

A look at just a few of the vintage radios currently on display in one hangar.

A look at just a few of the vintage radios currently on display in one hangar.

Obviously an aviation aficionado in this hangar!

Obviously an aviation aficionado in this hangar!

The participating hangars are fairly well spread out at the 51 acre airport but if you're not up for walking, there's a complimentary tram that will take you around. These are some very nice people who have obvious passion for what they do and enjoy sharing it with the general public. I struck up several conversations with hangar owners and they were full of great stories and information.

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There is no charge for visiting the Aviation Museum, though donations are welcomed. Visit www.aviationmuseumofsantapaula.org or call 805.525.1109 for more information.

The Museum is not open on rainy days.

Directions: Arriving by car from the east, exit the Santa Paula Freeway (SR 126) at 10th street, turn right off the ramp, and then a quick left onto Harvard Boulevard. Turn left at the next signal at Eighth Street, under the freeway, left onto Santa Maria Street and park in the lot. Arriving from the west, exit the freeway at Palm Avenue, turn right and then a quick left onto Santa Maria Street, about a half mile to the end at the parking lot.

Lots to see, both inside and outside of the hangars.

Lots to see, both inside and outside of the hangars.

Hillside Letters in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County

There are over 500 hillside letters, or “mountain monograms,” in the United States, including 81 in California. What are hillside letters, you ask. They are simply large single letters, abbreviations and sometimes even messages erected on a hillside, usually by a school or town.

The Big “C” overlooking UC Berkeley (From Wikipedia; public domain)

The Big “C” overlooking UC Berkeley (From Wikipedia; public domain)

One well known hillside letter is a giant concrete block letter “C” built in the hills overlooking UC Berkeley that was constructed on March 23, 1905.

We have our share of hillside letters here in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County, some of which you may be aware of…others, perhaps not.

The mountain monograms visible in our neck of the wood include:

The letters CLU on Mt. Clef Ridge above Cal Lutheran University are maintained by students.

Hilltop A overlooking Agoura High School up a steep hill. Made out of wood, I believe.

Here is a view of the letter VC north of Ventura College in late April 2019.

Here is a view of the letter VC north of Ventura College in late April 2019.

If you drive north up Catalina Street, west of Ventura High School, you will be able to see this letter V on the hillside.

The letter F is located in the hills west of Fillmore and is quite easy to see.

This letters SP letters in the hills south of Santa Paula is cleared brush. They originated originated in 1922. More information on THIS PAGE.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley is not a mountain monogram but is perhaps the visible hillside attraction throughout Ventura County.

Hillside Letters "SP" on South Mountain in Santa Paula

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When driving southbound in Santa Paula, look up towards the mountain south of the city (aptly named South Mountain) and you’ll see the letters SP boldly emblazoned high up on the hill that overlooks the Santa Paula Airport.

According to the Santa Paula Times, the letters are 125 feet long and 25 feet wide and originated in the 1922 time frame when a group of high schoolers made the trek up the mountain to carve the letters.

The brush was cleared annually over the years until the 1970s; for decades thereafter, the brush overgrew the letters and made them difficult to see.

Then, as part of the city’s centennial celebration in 2002, the Times noted that Limoneira Co. and other volunteers and donors worked to clean up the letters for all to see.

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Santa Paula is not alone in its mountain monogram. Other local area cities with monograms include Agoura Hills (there’s a letter A in the hill north of Agoura High School), the letters CLU emblazoned on the hill overlooking Cal Lutheran University, the letter F in the hills east of Fillmore, the letter V in the hills above Ventura High School and the letters VC in the hills above Ventura College.

Of course, the most prominent icon landscaped into a hill in Ventura County is Happy Face Hill seen by westbound drivers on the 118 near Kuehner Drive.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Earned Income Tax Credit & Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Locations in Ventura County

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The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program is a refundable tax credit available to individuals and families earning less than $49,194 and $54,884, respectively, in 2018. This is the federal government's largest anti-poverty measure and refunds can amount to as much as $6,431 (for 2018) for families with three or more qualifying children.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program recruits volunteer tax preparers to provide free preparation of federal and state income tax returns to taxpayers with incomes less than $55,000 in 2018. VITA benefits these taxpayers by eliminating the cost of commercial tax return preparation and by securing valuable tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit and EITC.

Local VITA location sites are as follows (see this IRS link for details, including dates and times):

What to bring:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)

  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents

  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number

  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN

  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return

  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers

  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)

  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received

  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available

  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check

  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms

  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number

  • Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements

  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable

www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers

Where to Find Ventura County Emergency Updates on Thomas Fire in Ventura County

The Thomas Fire as seen from the Conejo Valley (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

The Thomas Fire as seen from the Conejo Valley (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

The Thomas Fire was first reported on Monday night around 6:30 p.m. in Santa Paula, in the vicinity of Steckel Park and Thomas Aquinas College near the 150 (Ojai Road). Due to gale force Santa Ana winds, the fire spread quickly overnight to over 55,000 acres in less than 24 hours in Santa Paula, Ojai and Ventura.

As of Tuesday night, December 5, the "Thomas Fire" has burned over 150 structures, including the Hawaiian Village Apartments in Ventura

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County today as a result of the fire. (He also issued an emergency proclamation today for the Creek and Rye fires in Los Angeles County.) 

Text the United Way of Ventura County at UWVC to 41444 to donate to Thomas Fire victims; 100% of the donations will go directly to those affected by the fires.

Schools have been closed Tuesday in Ventura County and on Wednesday the following schools are slated for closure due to the wildfires:

  • CSU Channel Islands
  • Nearly all K-12 schools in Ventura County, including Conejo Valley USD, Fillmore USD, Moorpark USD, Ojai USD, Pleasant Valley SD, Santa Paula USD, Ventura USD, Simi Valley USD, Oxnard Elementary and Union High School Districts and other schools listed at www.vcoe.org.
  • UPDATE: The following districts will be closed the rest of the week (12/7-12/8): Briggs Elementary School District, Hueneme Elementary School District, Mesa Union Elementary SD, Mupu Elementary SD, Ocean View Elementary SD, Ojai USD, Oxnard Elementary SD, Oxnard Union HS District, Pleasant Valley SD, Rio Elementary SD, Santa Clara Elementary SD, Ventura USD.
  • UPDATE: As of 2:30PM 12/6, school is planned for Simi Valley and Conejo Valley Unified School Districts.

Here's where to go for updates:

First and foremost, visit readyventuracounty.org for updates, mandatory evacuation areas, voluntary evacuations, evacuation shelters, school closures, road closures and other information.

If you are a Twitter user, the Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer provides periodic updates via Tweets at twitter.com/VCFD_PIO. The VCFD Twitter page also provides updates and some useful "Retweets" from other sources at twitter.com/VCFD.

Local area newspaper sites have Twitter and Facebook feeds that may come in handy:

Among TV news sites, I've found ABC 7 to have some great coverage abc7.com.

Subscribe to VC Alert, a free serviced utilized by all 10 cities in Ventura County as well as unincorporated areas for emergency updates. Text VCALERT to 313131 to register.

Cal Fire posts updates on its site at www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.

Historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot and Moreton Bay Fig Tree in Santa Paula

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The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in Santa Paula is located at 963 E. Santa Barbara Street, adjacent to the Museum of Ventura County's Agriculture Museum. Built in 1887, this was the first train depot in Ventura County, serving passengers until 1934 and hauling freight until 1975. It was also one of the first prefabricated structures in Ventura County, with its second floor serving as living quarters for the station's agent and family. It was designated as Ventura County Historical Landmark #23 in April 1972.

The Depot is now home to the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and a gift shop. A nice place for visitors to stop by and obtain tourist information.

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Also located in the restored Railroad Depot is Santa Paula Society of the Arts, which hosts an art gallery on weekends from noon to 4pm.

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Just south of the Depot, across Santa Barbara Street, stands a towering Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Ventura County Historical Landmark #79, designated in September 1982. This tree was planted July 4, 1879 by the Reverend Eben H. Orne to honor the birth of his daughter Cecilia. Quite a beautiful, large tree.

This majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree is over 130 years old and looking great.

This majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree is over 130 years old and looking great.

The Murals of Santa Paula Provide a Pictorial History of the City

The City of Santa Paula is the geographical center of Ventura County, located in the rich agricultural Santa Clara River Valley. The city is surrounded by rolling hills and rugged mountain peaks in addition to orange, lemon and avocado groves. Santa Paula is often referred to as the "Citrus Capital of the World."

Santa Paula covers an area of 4.7 square miles and at the date of the 2010 U.S. census had a population of 29,321. It is the 7th largest (and inversely 4th smallest) city in Ventura County in terms of population. The city was incorporated on April 22, 1902.

Something unique to see while in Santa Paula is a series of nine murals that depict various historical aspects of the city, including its first inhabitants, the Chumash, the discovery of oil, its Latino culture, founding of the Santa Paula Airport, local farming and more. Learn more at this link and by visiting www.santapaulamurals.org.

"Trains, Planes & Automobiles" "Honoring Founders and Pilots of Santa Paula Airport""Celebrating Santa Paula's Artists and Architects"

Click this link for other things to do in Santa Paula!