This outdoor mural is the largest mural of the series, extremely wide illustrating historic transportation modes consistent with Santa Paula's beginnings. It emphasizes the historic importance of the railroad to Santa Paula's beginnings. It is south facing at 815 Santa Barbara Street near the historic Santa Paula Train Depot. The depot is the western terminus of the Fillmore-Western railway, a tourist train that runs between Fillmore and Santa Paula. The depot also houses the Santa Paula Art Society with many of its works on display.
I took a series of photographs to try to encompass all of the mural. Rail, road and earliest air transportation are quaintly illustrated in this vividly colored and accessible mural across the avenue from the historic huge spreading Moreton Bay Fig Tree, a famous icon of Santa Paula. A towering branch of this huge tree can be seen in the lead and subsequent photos.
A bronze dedication plaque is adjacent the left side of the mural. Please look at all the photos to see this impressive work of art. This mural was completed in 2001.
Walking west along Main Street toward the historic clock tower that is the centerpiece of the city at Davis Street also brings you to the next mural opposite the tower. This colorful mural east-facing celebrates historic Santa Paula as the Citrus Capital of the World. The mural commemorates the period from 1880 to 1945, when Santa Paula laid its claim. Scenes show orchards, fruit pickers and packing house workers.
The huge Limoneira Ranch growing lemons and oranges still employs many in the Santa Paula area and their modern climate-controlled packing houses today are massive. Many of the old wooden packing houses were backdrops for Hollywood film making in the past, and the hulks of some still exist in the area..
Please enlarge all photos to appreciate the art of the mural, which shows much of the culture of Santa Paula's citrus agriculture in her year-around growing climate producing five to six picks of lemons from each tree annually. The packing house citrus crate labels are works of art also, and are historic artifacts as well as valued collector's items. This cultural mural is at the corner of Main on Davis Street.
The mural was completed in 1999. A bronze dedication plaque should be read for your appreciation of these murals, which cost over $20,000 each.
This mural in the shade of the huge landmark Moreton Bay Fig Tree celebrates the town's lasting heritage of artists and the architects responsible for many of the most recognizable buildings between the Santa Paula Oil Museum at Tenth and Main and the Universalist Church building at Eighth and Main. There are many, many buildings downtown of significant architectural value and beauty, historic and modern. Responsible early building architects depicted in the mural are Herman Anlauf, Roy C. Wilson, Robert Raymond and John Stroh.
Famous local artists, some with works in the national Smithsonian Institution, are represented in the mural, including Jesse Arms Botke and her husband, Cornelius Botke; also well-known depression-era photographer Horace Bristol. Artists Douglas Shively and Robert Cluny are also featured in the shaded mural.
The mural was somewhat difficult to photograph in the shade, but improves upon enlargement of the images. Please click on them.
This mural was completed in 2004, and is at 136 No. Tenth Street, facing north to the Santa Paula Railroad Depot, home of the Santa Paula Art Society.
The Latino heritage is very strong in Santa Paula. A wonderfully colorful and lively mural celebrates Hispanic life, located at a prime location in a Mexican food restaurant's parking lot on the corner of Tenth and Main Street just across from the California Oil Museum. A panoply of Latin life is shown, including a glorious wedding celebration, close family scenes and vocational life. The restaurant offers Mexican food both indoors and out in their street patio along Main Street. Enjoy the food there and the mural in their rear parking lot accessed from Tenth Street south of Main.
The mural is vibrantly colored characteristic of the Hispanic love of bright colors, and is west facing and sunlit adding to its cultural charm. Don't miss this eighth mural on your walking tour!
The mural was completed in 2003. A bronze dedication plaque is to the right of the mural.
Your next and presently newest mural to see was dedicated in 2007 and is about six blocks west near the corner of Fourth Street and Main.
The heritage of the Chumash Indians native to Ventura County who dwelled in the area now known as Santa Paula and its surrounding environs ages ago is celebrated in a mural on the west-facing wall of the Santa Paula Public Library at 119 No. Eighth Street.
This mural of the series was most difficult for me to photograph well because it is appropriately finished in muted earth tones typical of the vegetable and mineral pigments available to the Chumash from nature. Cave paintings by the Chumash Indians are still to be found that used these same natural pigments in the general area ranging to above the city of Santa Barbara farther west. Also, this artistic celebration of the Chumash Indian culture is behind trees with dense foliage. I apologize my photos simply do not do the mural justice.
Fortunately, closeup viewing is available and benches in front of the mural invite closer contemplation and appreciation of this work of art. The Chumash Indians used a natural crude oil seep along what is now Highway 150 northwest of Santa Paula to caulk and waterproof the seams of their crude boats called tomols. They used these craft to paddle to the offshore Channel Islands, also establishing island cultural groups dependent upon a fish and mollusk diet there. The art and culture of the native Chumash is well portrayed in this mural, so please get a closer look from the benches provided.
This mural was completed in the year 2000. Please see the website for a far better rendition of this mural, and more information.
Santa Paula has a rich history in exploration for oil and the extraction of crude oil from the surrounding land and mountains. There is a historic crude oil seep from the north side of the 2,727 foot Sulphur Mountain foothills with a marked turnoff along what is now Highway 150 that goes from the Santa Paula 126 Freeway to the town of Ojai. The Highway 150 becomes Tenth Street in Santa Paula. The first known people to exploit this discovery were the early Chumash Indians who used the crude to waterproof their long canoes they fashioned called 'tomols', well before the exploration of southern California by a Spanish ship of discovery in 1542 led by Juan Cabrillo.
The Union Oil Company established and constructed at the corner of Tenth and Main Street a period building housing their first headquarters and offices. They exploited the nearby crude oil that was gathered and refined for gasoline to power the new invention of the automobile at the turn of the nineteenth century. That building today is the California Oil Museum described in another tip on these pages. Today, oil wells and exploration continues over the length of Sulphur Mountain and northeast of the mountain on both sides of Highway 150 and also in the northeast and north flanks and foothills of 2,263 foot South Mountain across the Santa Clara River from Santa Paula. Yet another of my Tips here shows working oil wells along South Mountain Road amid citrus orchards.
A mural celebrating and illustrating the history of the oil industry in Santa Paula and Santa Paula's oil success and wealth is located at 123 No. Tenth Street on a south facing building wall near the Oil Museum.
The mural shows an early oil rig, the Santa Paula Oil Refinery, the South Mountain oil fields and important figures in the history of local oil production and extraction. This mural was completed in the year 2001. Like the other murals, it has a dedication plaque just to the left of the mural. Please enlarge the pictures to better see the mural.
Santa Paula is billed as the Citrus Capital of the World, and a series of large municipal murals hand-painted by local artists adorns outside walls of buildings in and near the compact downtown. All are suitable for a pleasant day walking tour showing history and culture of the area.
The Family Farms of Santa Paula mural honors the rich agricultural heritage of Santa Paula's pioneering farm families with a series of vividly colored vignettes of farm life. It is located on an east facing wall of the Bank of America building just off Main Street near 7th Street at 715 E. Main Street. Without a wide angle lens which would distort the mural, I elected to take a series of photos to picture each panel. Please be sure to view them all. Each mural has a bronze plaque of dedication with more information. This mural was completed in 2002.
Free maps for a walking tour of the nine murals are available at the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce located at the historic railroad depot at 10th Street and Santa Barbara Avenue or online at the website listed below. The Chamber's phone number is also listed for more information.
The town's very first and oldest mural celebrating Main Street circa 1910 of Santa Paula is also one of the most spectacular. This mural's vivid artistic perspective is so realistic that it almost invites the viewer to step right into the unpaved scene. The mural is located on Mill Street at Main Street on the southeast corner of the intersection, facing west and getting full benefit of mid-afternoon sunlight. The mural harkens back to a simpler life in an earlier era. This mural is the Signature Mural of the city of Santa Paula, and is beautifully rendered, and in superb condition. Contemplate its serene family life scenes from just across the street to get its full effect.
The mural project was initiated in 1997 by a concerned group of civic-minded citizens to revitalize historic downtown Santa Paula, and celebrate its heritage with incredibly detailed and colorful murals which are true works of art. The murals have made the residents proud to be from and live in the town, and attract many tourists.
This first mural was completed in 1998. A bronze dedication plaque to the left of the mural is not to be missed. Please enlarge all photos to get the full effect.
Honoring Founders and Pilot's of Santa Paula's Airport is the theme of the newest mural. This is a bit farther west on Main Street near Fourth Street west of downtown. In a car, it took some time to find it against a west facing wall of a travel agency on the south side of Main.
Santa Paula's airport was founded & dedicated August, 1930 by Ralph Dickenson & Dan Emmett, local farmer/pilots who had aircraft landing strips on their ranches. They decided a larger single airport would benefit Santa Paula in the flying rage that was sparked in 1927 following Charles Lindbergh's successful solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris. They raised the necessary $20,000 from twenty people at $1,000 each, despite the Depression era, to purchase land along the Santa Clara River banks south of town. Now, the magazine Smithsonian Air & Space recognizes Santa Paula Airport as one of the finest small community airports filled with historic, vintage & modern aircraft.
The busy airport serves the community with aircraft flight instruction, aircraft sales, fuel sales, aircraft repair & recovering & amateur experimental aircraft construction & test flying. Specializing in taildragger & aerobatic instruction, there is an FAA-designated aerobatic area just east of the airport. The airport contributes greatly to Santa Paula's economy. Many famous & historic aviators have used the airport. There is a wonderful Aviation Museum, subject of another of my Tips.
The mural shows airport Founder, Ralph Dickenson & representative old, historic aircraft- Bill Hackbarth's restored mailplane is shown, together with a vintage Beech Staggerwing & Mike Dewey's racer, the Cosmic Wind DeweyBird, plans-built from scratch in 5,000 hours. The mural is so realistic, it appears actual aircraft are flying out of it at you.
This mural was completed & dedicated in 2007. Janice Dickenson, wife of Ralph's grandson Bruce, was one of the painters of the mural, led by pilot and aviation artist Wendell Dowling.