The City of Santa Paula, California is located 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 14 miles east of Ventura and the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Santa Paula is the geographical center of Ventura County, situated in the rich agricultural Santa Clara River Valley. The City is surrounded by rolling hills and rugged mountain peaks in addition to orange, lemon and avocado groves. In fact, Santa Paula is referred to as the “Citrus Capital of the World.”
The original community that has become known as Santa Paula was established by the Chumash Indians as the villages of Mupu and Srswa. The land was later given away as part of a Spanish land grant to Rancho Santa Paula and Saticoy in 1840. In the 1860’s, the area was subdivided into small farms. In 1880, oil was discovered in Santa Paula leading to the formation of the Union Oil Company in 1890. The City of Santa Paula was incorporated on April 22, 1902.
Paula is noted for its movie personalities (silent and sound) who resided in and adjacent to the city and a TV or movie crew is not an unusual sight in the community. The City is a major distribution point for citrus fruits in the United States and is also noted for avocado producing and processing. The community has a quaint, small town image, ideal climate and reasonable priced housing, which is why Santa Paulans refer to their community as “Hometown USA”. Santa Paula maintains its own identity and is in close proximity to the many tourist, recreational, and cultural activities that abound in Southern California.
With an exceptional combination of climate, location, and charm, Santa Paula is a favorite destination for visitors all year. Rich in history and culture, there are perennial attractions and annual events for every interest and all ages. Pleasant sunny days are the rule year-round, moderated by nearby coastal waters but without the fog common at the beach. The community is conveniently located in southern California along the 126 Freeway, less than an hour from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clarita. With a population of nearly 30,000, Santa Paula is a thriving mix of tourism, agriculture, and Main Street business, with plenty of warmth and welcome for visitors!
Business and Industry
Santa Paula remains the heart of the Ventura County agricultural industry. Based in Santa Paula, Limoneira Company is one of the premier integrated agribusiness operations in the world. Today Limoneira Company and its affiliated companies encompass thousands of acres of rich agricultural lands throughout the state of California along with strategic investments in food processing, fresh produce marketing, and specialty produce packing.
Calavo Growers, Inc., one of the world’s largest processors of avocados is also based in Santa Paula. Calavo is the preeminent marketer of premium California avocados with the largest grower base in the industry. The company’s processed products division, Calavo Foods, Inc., manufactures close to 100 brand name and proprietary flavors of guacamole. Other important agricultural businesses with large operations in Santa Paula include Saticoy Lemon Company, Fruit Growers Supply, Pan American Seed, Shore Packing Company, Rain for Rent and Fruit Growers Laboratory.
Automotive products and supply businesses also call Santa Paula home. These companies include Automotive Racing Products which produces virtually every fastener found in an engine and driveline, ranging from quality OEM replacement parts to exotic specialty hardware for Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR and NHRA drag racing applications as well as Bend Pak, America’s largest manufacturer of tubing benders and above ground vehicle lifts. Santa Paula is also home to Abrisa Glass, the world’s leading technology glass, glass components and coating company.
Retail businesses thrive in Santa Paula with many located on our historic Main Street. Santa Paula is also fortunate to have the premier Chevrolet dealer in California with Santa Paula Chevrolet.
The Santa Paula Unified School District serves elementary, middle school and high school students with eight campuses in Santa Paula
- The Mupu School District serves elementary school and middle school students from Santa Paula.
- The Ventura College, East Campus serves college age students in Santa Paula.
- Thomas Aquinas College, an internationally known Catholic liberal arts college, is located just outside of Santa Paula.
Recreation and Leisure
Santa Paula has many historic attractions for everyone. The California Oil Museum, located in the historic Union Oil Building on the corner of 10th and Main Streets, houses an outstanding permanent collection tracing the history of oil exploration and production in California.
The Santa Paula Art Museum, located in the historic Limoneira Building at 117 North 10th Street in downtown Santa Paula, preserves and shares the artistic heritage known as the Santa Paula Art Collection.
The Aviation Museum of Santa Paula honors Santa Paula’s history as the “Antique Airplane Capital of the World”. The Santa Paula Airport is the home of many experimental and antique craft, many of which are used in movie and TV productions.
Santa Paula’s charm and hospitality will pleasantly surprise you, and the City is still one of the best kept secrets in Southern California.
Santa Paula City Facts
- Total area: 4.6 square miles
- Total population as of January 1, 2008: 29,539
- Average annual rainfall: 18.7 inches
- Average temperatures: Summer-69 degrees and Winter 55 degrees
- 93% of residents drive to work
- Santa Paula is a full service city providing fire, police, water and utility services. Property tax is the City’s primary source of revenue and sales tax revenue is the second major revenue source
- City’s General Fund budget: $11.3 million 2008/2009
- Santa Paula is known as the Citrus Capital of the World
- Santa Paula was originally inhabited by the Chumash, a Native American people
- Father Junipero Serra became active in the area during the Spanish mission period, thus the town takes its name from the Catholic Saint Paula
- The Mexican government as part of the Santa Paula Y Saticoy land grant gave the land that would become Santa Paula away
- The community of Santa Paula was founded in 1872
- In 1877, a post office was established to serve the community’s 200 residents
- In 1875, Nathan Blanchard and Elisha Bradley recorded a map of their town vision and were involved in the building of Santa Paula’s first flourmill and its first orange grove
- The Southern Pacific Railroad came to Santa Paula in 1887
- The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was constructed in 1887 and is registered as a historical landmark
- Founder Nathan Blanchard’s first orange crop appeared in 1888
- In 1888, an oil well called Adams No. 16 hit pay, California’s first gusher
- Santa Paula was the initial headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California (Known today as Unocal)
- Union Oil Company of California was founded in Santa Paula in 1890
- The California Oil Museum is housed in the original 1890 headquarters of Union Oil Company. The building is an example of Queen Anne Italianate architecture
- The City of Santa Paula was incorporated in Ventura County in 1902
- Santa Paula Theatre Center was formerly known as the Ebell Club. The building is a historical landmark that was constructed in 1917
- In 1928, the City was devastated by the failure of William Mulholland’s St. Francis Dam
- The Santa Paula Airport and Aviation Museum documents the long story of the local airport, which opened in 1930
- Santa Paula has gained the nickname, “Antique Airplane Capital of the World” because of the unique collection of planes housed in the Aviation Museum