Ventura County is at the bottom of the state of California on the Pacific coast, also known as the Gold Coast. It has the reputation of being one of the country’s safest and most well heeled counties as well as ranking in the top 100 income brackets. Historic houses in the county reflect as far back as the 1800’s when the state was a union of Mexico.
Camarillo Ranch House
The Camarillo Ranch House was built in 1892. It is a Queen Anne-style Victorian house. It is over 6,000 square feet and is open to the public for tours. It was the home of Juan and Martina Camarillo, only the fourth Europeans in the area. The land was originally a grant to a Spanish solider by the governor. The home itself became part of the country’s first celebrity scandal of sorts. Once the owners died the children fought vicious court battles over the property and home. One son was run out of the country in disgrace, threatened by the siblings to unveil a disastrous secret about his private acts.
The Emmanuel Franz House
The Emmanuel Franz House is another one of the historic houses in Ventura County. It is an Italianate style Victorian house in the downtown district. It was built in 1879. It is the only unaltered historic house in the county of the style. Other historic houses in Ventura have been altered in small ways and sometimes large ways. Emmanuel Franz was an Austrian immigrant who ran the town’s first mercantile store.
Olivas Adobe and The Blackburn House
Olivas Adobe is one of the most interesting of the historic houses in Ventura. It was first built in 1841 by Raymundo Olivas on land that he received as a grant for his military service. The area had previously been a mission encampment. He expanded the adobe in 1849 to become the only two story adobe in the county. Olivas had 21 children with his wife and the family lived in the home until 1899. This adobe is one of the historic houses in Ventura that is also listed as being haunted. Tales abound of sightings of a female ghost that roams the grounds and adobe.
The Blackburn House was built in 1896. It is a Queen Anne residence with Colonial Revival elements that remains one of the most elaborate houses in Ventura. The home was built for Union Army soldier Capt. David S. Blackburn after he retired and became a farmer. It is a two and a half story with a gabled roof. The features that make it more special than other houses in Ventura are the boxed cornice, hipped dormer window and decorative eave bracket. It also has a large wrap- around porch covered by a curved roof and supporting Colonial columns.
Houses in Ventura are lovely everywhere you look but this county has the unique benefit of having several historical houses in the vicinity. This allows the community to always have a piece of the area’s history available, a constant reminder of the counties travels through time and the people that made it happen.