Walking through groves of what seems like endless citrus trees, you can’t help but notice all the pleasantries, fragrance, and breathtaking views of the citrus capital of the world. Feeling as if you stepped back to a simpler time, you’ve found yourself in Santa Paula, Ca. located smack dab in the center of the beautiful Heritage valley, the heart of California’s Santa Clara River Valley. Santa Paula has a long, rich history, especially in the Citrus industry.
The area of Santa Paula was originally inhabited by the Chumash, a Native American people. In 1769 the Franciscan missionaries, led by Father Junipero Serra, came down the Santa Clara River Valley and named this area after the Catholic Saint Paula. In 1861, George G. Briggs purchased 15,000 acres in the Santa Paula area. Briggs, formerly a horticulturist, believed he could successfully raise fruit on the land, and planted a 160 acre orchard on his land. This Briggs began subdividing his property into 150 acre parcels in 1867. These parcels were sold primarily to farmers emigrating from the Northern California gold fields. In 1872 Nathan Weston Blanchard purchased 2,700 acres and laid out the townsite. Considered the founder of the community, he planted seedling orange trees in 1874. Many of the trees Nathan Blanchard planted remain to this day. It is safe to say that the groundwork for the citrus capital of the world was born early on. Santa Paula is now home to the world’s largest lemon orchard which is surrounded by thousands of acres of other citrus orchards. No other place on earth holds a candle to these orchards, making Santa Paula the un-disputed citrus capital of the world.
Today Santa Paula has the greatest collection of vintage homes, commercial buildings, churches and schools in Southern California, and is the home of the Santa Paula Airport, Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, the California Oil Museum, and the Limoneira Company. Equally historic is the Santa Paula Cemetery which dates to the early 1870s and continues to serve the city. In addition, farms of the pioneers continue to produce under the skilled supervision of their farming descendants.
The Santa Paula Agricultural Museum has great exhibits and fascinating learning opportunities. For more insight on the citrus capital of the world known as Santa Paula California, come check out VisitSanataPaula.com