Ventura County Cities & Towns
Moorpark is a city of 37,342 people, in Southern California.
It was founded in 1900 by Robert Poindexter, presumably named
after the moorpark apricots that grew in the area. The city
has experienced a great amount of growth since the late 1970s.
The origin of the name "Moorpark" is not known, but several sources
have been suggested. However, most sources agree that its origin
was Admiral Lord Anson's estate Moor Park in Hertfordshire where
he introduced the apricot in 1688. It is mainly believed that the
city of Moorpark is named after the Moorpark Apricot, which used
to grow in the area. This was confirmed by Robert Poindexter,
the founder of Moorpark, in 1927. One other theory of the name
is that when the Southern Pacific Railroad was surveying the
local land in the 1800s for its railway, someone in the party
said that the area, with its sloping hills, looked like the
Scottish Moors. Hence the name Moorpark.
The valley where Moorpark is located was originally inhabited
by the Chumash. The area was part of the large Rancho Simi
land grant given in 1795 to the Pico brothers (Javier, Patricio,
and Miguel) By Governor Diego de Borica of Alta California.
Robert W. Poindexter, the secretary of the Simi Land Company,
received the land that made up the original townsite of Moorpark
when the association was disbanded in 1887. Moorpark was founded
in 1900 when the application for a post office was submitted.
The application lists that there was already a railroad depot
in the town. The town grew after the 1904 completion of a
7,369-foot tunnel through the Santa Susana Mountains, which
allowed the Southern Pacific Railroad to establish a depot there,
a depot which lasted until 1965.
In 1963, Moorpark College was founded. Moorpark College opened
on September 11, 1967. Moorpark College is one of the few colleges
that features an Exotic Animal Training and Management Program.
Twenty years later, Moorpark was incorporated as a city on July 1, 1983.
In February 2005, a liger named Tuffy who escaped from a local residence
was shot and killed in one of Moorpark's parks. This created a great deal
of uproar, because the Animal Control officers used a gun instead of a
Tranquilizer to kill the liger, primarily because the liger could not
be shot from the proper angle for a Tranquilizer to prove effective.
Candlelight Vigil memorials were held for the late Tuffy.
As of 2006 the family who owned the liger was on trial for not having
permits and proper caging for Tuffy. The family argued that permits
were required for tigers, not ligers.
Just a month later, in March 2005, the fairly complete remains
(about 75%) of an unusually old mammoth, possibly the rare Southern
mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis), were discovered in the foothills
of Moorpark at the site of a housing development.
In 2006, the Moorpark city council seceded from the Ventura County
library system to create their own city library system,
much like nearby Thousand Oaks.
On February 28, 2006 a housing proposal, North Park Village,
which would have added 1,680 houses on 3,586 acres
in the north-east area of the city, was defeated by a landslide
in a city election.
City Divisions and Neighborhoods
"Old Town Moorpark" is the area surrounding High Street,
and is the historic center of the city. A feature of the downtown
area are the pepper trees that line High Street, planted by
Robert Poindexter who was responsible for the plotting and
mapping of the town. This area also features; an art gallery,
the landmark breakfast place. The Cactus Patch, the Secret
Garden Restaurant, and The HUB "hoagies 'n more" which created
the California Cheese Steak sandwich.
The Peach Hill and Mountain Meadows neighborhoods are south of
the Arroyo Simi, and most of the homes here were built within
the last 30 years. Moorpark High School is in this area,
as well as many parks, including the Arroyo Vista Park and
Recreation Center, the city's largest park. This area contains
a large part of the city's population.
Campus Park is dominated by Moorpark College. An additional
substantial development is occurring to the north of the
existing city, in the area of the Moorpark Country Club.
Moorpark was also one of the first cities to run off
nuclear power in the entire world, and the first in the
United States. For one hour on November 12, 1957 this fact
was featured on Edward R. Murrow's "See it Now" television show.
The reactor, called the Sodium Reactor Experiment was built
by the Atomics International division of North American Aviation
at the nearby Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The Sodium Reactor
Experiment operated from 1957 to 1964 and produced 7.5 MegaWatts
of electrical power at a Southern California Edison-supplied
generating station. In July 1959, the reactor suffered
a serious incident causing the controlled release of radioactive
gasses to the atmosphere.
The reactor was repaired and restarted in September, 1960
and operated without incident until 1964. The contradictory analysis
of the July, 1959 incident has been a source of controversy in the
neighboring community leading to concerns of community contamination.
In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded an evaluation
of the nuclear research area the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and
stated "Radionuclides associated with historic research are not present
at concentrations significantly above background in the soils
surrounding residential communities."
Also located at the nearby Santa Susana Field Laboratory was the
Energy Technology Engineering Center operated by Atomics International
(and later Rocketdyne) for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Energy Technology Engineering Center performed non-nuclear
testing and development of nuclear-related liquid metal
(i.e., high temperature sodium) components such as pumps,
flow meters and heat exchangers.
Moorpark is located at 34°16'52" North, 118°52'25" West.
Central Moorpark lies in a valley created by the Arroyo Simi river.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a
total area of 19.3 mi. 19.0 mi. of it is land and 0.2 mi. of it is water.
The total area is 1.30% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 31,416 people in the city, organized into 8,994 households and 7,698 families. The population density is 1,651.9/mi. There are 9,094 housing units at an average density of 478.2/mi. The racial makeup of the city is 74.42% White, 5.63% Asian, 1.52% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 13.95% from other races, and 3.87% from two or more races. 27.81% of the population are Mexicans, Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 8,994 households out of which 54.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.0% are married couples living together, 9.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 14.4% are non-families. 9.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 2.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.49 and the average family size is 3.71.
In the city the population is spread out with 34.2% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 4.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.1 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city is $90,109, and the median income for a family is $96,532. Males have a median income of $55,535 versus $35,790 for females. The per capita income for the city is $25,383. 7.0% of the population and 4.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.6% of those under the age of 18 and 7.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Moorpark High School
The Moorpark High School mascot is the Musketeer.
The Academic Decathlon team of Moorpark High School has a tradition of success. They have won the national championship three times in the past nine years;
in 2008, they set the record for the highest team score in history; and they met with President Barack Obama in 2009.
Moorpark High School's football team lost 51 consecutive games to Carpinteria High School, a national record that ended in 1997 en route to the school's first football CIF championship. The two teams have not played since.
Moorpark's Little League won the Western Regional Championships in 1996.
A few events are held in the Moorpark area during the year, most notably Moorpark "Country
Days," a single day in late September or early October, American Civil War battle
re-enactments in early November, an "Apricot Festival," usually in the
spring or summer, and an annual fireworks celebration on July 3 every year. The July 3 fireworks are popular around the rest of Ventura County, as people can go to the Moorpark fireworks on the
3rd, and see their own local city's fireworks on July 4. The rock band Jefferson Starship played at a previous Moorpark July
3 fireworks celebration.
Many television shows, movies, and even a few music videos have had short clips filmed on Moorpark's High Street. Its historical charm has compelled some filmmakers and other notable people to film there. Most notably "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Amish Paradise" was filmed there.
In 1961, Julius Goldman founded Egg City, which was a massive chicken farm north of Moorpark, with many chicken coops spread over acres of concrete with millions of chickens in them. The main building had a giant chicken statue on the top of it. Local residents were somewhat irked by the farm, when the smell of it wafted to Moorpark on windy days. The business suffered a setback in 1972, when more than 3 million chickens were slaughtered because of the threat of Newcastle disease. The farm finally closed in 1996. In early December 2006, a wildfire destroyed the dilapidated remains of Egg City.
This page was last updated January 22, 2010.