Originally from Scotland, the Strathearn Family purchased 15,000 acres of old Spanish Rancho from Simi Land and Water Co. around 1890.
The Simi Adobe/Strathearn House is Ventura County Historical Landmark No. 6, State Landmark No. 979 and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Simi Adobe was originally built by Santiago Pico, original grantee of El Rancho Simi, in 1810. The Adobe was considered an important link between the San Fernando and Ventura missions.
After buying the property, the Strathearns built their nine-room Victorian-style farmhouse and kept two usable rooms of the adobe that were used as a dining room and kitchen. The Strathearn family occupied the house until 1968.
Built in 1930, the original Simi Library was located on Third Street near Los Angeles Avenue. Members of the community raised funds to purchase land and asked the Ventura County Library System to build this first purpose-built branch library in the county. It operated until 1962, when a new library opened on Church Street in the Community Center. The Simi Library briefly served as the first Simi Valley Museum until Strathearn Historical Park opened in 1969. The Library was designated Ventura County Historical Landmark No. 40 in May 1978. (More recently, in the Simi Valley Public Library became a separate municipal public library on July 1, 2013.)
The Haigh/Talley Colony House was designated Ventura County Historical Landmark No. 41 in May 1978 and was named to the National Register of Historic Places that same year. It is one of 12 pre-cut, partially assembled two-story homes shipped by rail in 1888 to the townsite of "Simiopolis" (this was just for six months; it was later changed back to Simi). The house was occupied by the Haigh family in 1903 to 1909 and the Talley family from 1924 to 1961 and was moved from its original location at Second and Ashland Streets to the Strathearn Historical Park in 1970.
Another Ventura County Historic Landmark at Strathearn is the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church building. The small frame building was originally constructed in 1902 at the corner of Third and Pacific Streets as a Presbyterian Church. After the small congregation merged with a Methodist congregation at a community church, the building became a mission church of the Santa Clara Church in Oxnard. It was the city's only Catholic church until a new Saint Rose of Lima Church was built in 1965. It was relocated to Strathearn Park in 2002 and restoration was completed in 2007.
Saint Rose of Lima Church at StrathearnVentura County Historical Landmark No. 91 is the Chumash Village of Shimiji, dating back to 500 to 1800+ A.D. A portion of the village, north of the adobe, is protected and has been partially excavated. Shimiji is the Chumash name for "wisp" in reference possibly to the thin clouds over the valley and is believed to be the precursor to today's "Simi."
The Wood Ranch Barns were donated to the historical park in 1982, as developers prepared to initiate construction in the Wood Ranch section of Simi Valley. The barns were built in 1945 and were designated as Ventura County Historical Landmarks in July 1983. The main barn is 100 feet by 50 feet and the feed barn is 160 feet by 23 feet. The barns were situated on the 5,000 acre Taylor Ranch, owned by Adrian and Emma Wood. The "Closed" barn displays a number of domestic items and old farm implements. The "Open" barn houses a collection of old wooden wagons and other farm implements.
The park is open 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday and 1-4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Docent-led tours are available Wednesday through Sunday at 1pm for a $3 donation. The park's visitor center contains a number of displays pertaining to local history. For more information, visit www.simihistory.com or call 805.526.6543. The park is managed by the Simi Valley Historical Society and Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.