The Historic Elizabeth Bard Memorial Building in Downtown Ventura

Elizabeth Bard Memorial Building in Downtown Ventura is on the  National Register of Historic Places .

Elizabeth Bard Memorial Building in Downtown Ventura is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Elizabeth Bard Memorial Building is located at Fir and Poli Streets in Ventura. Built in 1901, it operated as the Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital for 30 years. This building, listed as a Ventura Historic Landmark and added to the coveted National Register of Historic Places in 1977, is a Mission Revival structure featuring covered terraces and a covered porch with a three-story bell tower at the southeast corner.

In 1932 the building was sold to the County of Ventura and was used as county offices and as a detention facility. Eventually it fell into disrepair and was sold to private investors in 1982, after which it was extensively renovated...but the external facades were preserved.

Now it is home to a variety of businesses. Yours truly worked in this building for about a year many years ago. Great location! Close to the Ventura Botantical Gardens Trail, which is making a comeback from the Thomas Fire of 2017.

While the building is not open to the general public (unless you are visiting one of the businesses located in it), it is worth admiring this beautiful and historic part of Ventura County.

Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital in 1910.

Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital in 1910.

Old Mission Santa Barbara is a Cultural and Historic Local Landmark

The Santa Barbara Mission was established on the Feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1786 and was the 10th of 21 California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. The Mission continues to be the chief cultural and historic landmark in the city of Santa Barbara. Home to a community of Franciscan friars, the Mission also has a retreat center with guest rooms, conference rooms, a fully equipped commercial kitchen and dining room, a beautiful church with a large and active parish, a museum and gift shop, a cemetery and mausoleum and ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

The Santa Barbara Mission in July 2013

The Santa Barbara Mission in July 2013

Old Mission Church, Santa Barbara (1876), by Carleton Watkins, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Mission Church, Santa Barbara (1876), by Carleton Watkins, via Wikimedia Commons

Mission Santa Barbara is California Historical Landmark No. 309. According to the California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation website: Portions of five units of its extensive waterworks, built by Indian labor and preserved in this part, are a filter house, Spanish gristmill, sections of aqueducts, and two reservoirs, the larger of which, built in 1806, is used today as part of the city water system. The fountain and lavadero are nearby, in front of the mission, and a dam built in 1807 is located in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, one and one-half miles up Mission Canyon. Only ruins remain of the mission's pottery kiln, guard house, and tanning vats.

The Mission, located at 2201 Laguna Street, is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission for self-guided tours as of January 2019 is $9 for adults (18-64) $7 for seniors (65+) and active military (with ID) and $4 for youth ages 5-17. Parking is free.

Docent-led tours (approximately 60 minutes) on most Mondays through Fridays at 11 am and Saturdays at 10:30 am. Cost for docent-led tours is $13 adults, $11 seniors, active military and $8 for youth ages 5-17. Visit www.santabarbaramission.org or call 805.682.4713 to learn more.

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Five Very Interesting Museums in Oxnard and Camarillo

There are over 50 museums highlighted here on Conejo Valley Guide and each and every one of them has interesting features. Here are some additional highlights from a handful of these museums located in the Oxnard / Camarillo area.

The Mullin Automotive Museum is a 47,000 square foot amazingly pristine facility in Oxnard housing over 50 French art deco cars from the 1930s and 1940s. Mullin is open to the public only a few times a month. You will be awestruck by some of the most beautiful cars you've ever seen!

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, known as the Camarillo Bird Museum, is a 22,000 square foot facility in a Camarillo industrial park that contains one of the largest collections of bird, bird egg and bird nest specimens in the entire world. It is open to the public only about 10 times a year.

(The Woolworth Museum items are still here, but access to the public is generally not available)

There is a vintage 1950 Woolworth building in Downtown Oxnard that has been redeveloped and now houses a restaurant and office space. But the 1st floor lobby of this 16,800 sq ft building contains a very small museum chock full of Woolworth nostalgia. This Woolworth Museum isn't large and fancy but will certainly bring back memories for you geezers out there. There is no charge to enter.

For World War II Air Force history, memorabilia and functioning aircraft, visit the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum located at the Camarillo Airport.  You will be treated to detailed information and history led by knowledgeable docents. You may also have an opportunity to step outside to see the aircraft directly adjacent to the runway. 

Located at the Channel Islands Harbor, the Channel Islands Maritime Museum is home to a large collection of maritime art, models and historical items. If you or your kids enjoy model ships, you will not find a better place to go than here. And the well-trained docents will be sure to impart information that is quite interesting.

Since the Woolworth Museum noted above appears to be closed, a nice addition to this list is the Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Garden on Las Posas Road in Camarillo. Open only on weekends from noon to 4pm, the museum displays an assortment of vintage items and curios from the local area going back to the turn of the 20th century.

Throwback Moment: Price-Costco Store Opened in Westlake Village in August 1996

Let’s face it…the Westlake Village Costco is one of the most popular places to go in the Conejo Valley. Always teeming with shoppers and sample hunters, it seems the local community would be lost without this store.

Let’s go back in time to when it opened…

The store opened its doors as PriceCostco on Thursday, August 8, 1996 at 5700 Lindero Canyon Road. Price-Costco was formed in 1993 with the merger of Price Club (which opened its first location on July 12, 1976 in San Diego) and Costco (which opened is first warehouse in Seattle on September 15, 1983).

One of my life’s guilty pleasures…the $1.50 Costco Hot Dog  and Soda deal.

One of my life’s guilty pleasures…the $1.50 Costco Hot Dog and Soda deal.

Who remembers PriceCostco? The merger between the two companies took place in 1993. Price Club was being pursued by Walmart to merge with the Sam’s Club warehouse store chain. Price opted to merge with Costco instead. And wallah…PriceCostco was created. At the time, there were 206 locations. Today there are 766 worldwide.

The prior management team from Price Club, the Price brothers (who knew!), left the company in 1994 and in 1997, “Price” was dropped from the name and it became Costco.

According to a 1/4/96 VC Star article, PriceCostco purchased the 30 acre site at Lindero Canyon Road and Westlake Boulevard in Westlake Village for $9.3 million, with plans for a 136,000 sq ft Price Club .

Local residents were against the addition of the warehouse club to the community. City Council approved the project as it was allowed as part of a long-term commercial development agreement in place with owners of the property. However, the city stipulated approval was required for specifics like exterior color scheme, roofing materials in earth tone colors, etc.

Flashback to 2009: There were high hopes for a 2nd Conejo Valley Costco location in Newbury Park at the corner of Grande Vista Drive and Academy Drive. But according to a T.O. Acorn article on 1/29/09, Costco could not make the project economically feasible as it was “unable to finalize a lease for the site.”

It is clear that Costco prefers to own its own properties, not lease them. In Costco’s annual Form 10-K filing for the fiscal year ended 9/2/18, fully 80% of its 762 warehouses in the U.S. and globally were owned; the remaining 20% were leased.

Lowe’s and LA Fitness were able to work a deal with owners of the property in Newbury Park and the City of Thousand Oaks Planning Commission approved the project to build locations there at a meeting on 12/13/10. We will be seeing the premiere of these business in the first half of 2019.

The Newbury Park Branch Library Broke Ground in March 1990 and Opened Its Doors on January 19, 1991

For those of you who moved to the Conejo Valley over the last 10, 20, 25 years, you probably weren’t aware that the Newbury Park Branch Library, part of the Thousand Oaks Library system, was previously a Ralphs supermarket.

The ground breaking ceremony took place on March 31, 1990 at 2331 Borchard Road. The 31,000 sq ft facility cost $4 million.

Ground breaking of the Newbury Park Branch Library on March 31, 1990, including City of Thousand Oaks City Council members Alex Fiore and Larry Horner. (Photo Credit: Thousand Oaks Library Conejo Through the Lens collection.)

Ground breaking of the Newbury Park Branch Library on March 31, 1990, including City of Thousand Oaks City Council members Alex Fiore and Larry Horner. (Photo Credit: Thousand Oaks Library Conejo Through the Lens collection.)

M*A*S*H Set in Malibu Creek State Park Before and After the Woolsey Fire

Here are some scenes of the M*A*S*H set in Malibu Creek State Park in prior years (mostly March 2017, some prior older) compared to how it currently looks, six weeks after the Woolsey Fire tore through the area.  Amazed at how little damage there was to the set, given the ferocity of the flames.

Additional scenes of the MASH site post-Woolsey Fire.

Neptune's Net and County Line Beach in Malibu are Local-Area "Must Do's"

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Neptune's Net is a Malibu icon, located across from County Line Beach in Malibu at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway. Everyone who lives in the local area just has to experience this favorite eatery overlooking the Pacific. 

Originally built in 1956, the location of the fryer and grill have not changed. However, it was originally a gas station, real estate office and restaurant called "Panorama Pacific at Solimar" but locals called it Jake's Diner (after Eastman "Jake" Jacobs, its owner). In 1974 it was sold and the new owners renamed it Neptune's Net. The current owners purchased it in 1991.

Some of our favorites at Neptune's Net are everything fried (fish & chips, shrimp, scallops, clam strips and calamari), fresh seafood (lobster, crab, shrimp and oysters), burgers and more. Quite a popular biker hangout but at the same time, family friendly.

If you're newbie, check out the menu and then find the back of the ordering line, which often stretches back to the refrigerated drinks area. Grab your drink first as you wait in line. Order. Grab a seat, either in the front patio overlooking PCH, the side patio adjacent to the parking lot or the indoor seating area. Learn more at neptunesnet.com.

After (or before) you've dined, park or re-park (it's nice to clear your spot at Neptune's Net for other folks) your car across the street at County Line Beach, a casual, perhaps 1/3 mile stretch of beach surrounded by residences on each side.

There are no facilities at this beach other than three porta-johns in the parking area. No parking fees. 

County Line Beach is popular with surfers and folks generally hanging out and jumping into the water. There are some rocks to explore on the west side of the beach too. And well-behaved dogs can often be seen at this beach.

Rocks about on the west side of the beach, which stretches around to residences.

Rocks about on the west side of the beach, which stretches around to residences.