Ventura County Cities & Towns
Thousand Oaks, commonly referred to as "T.O." by residents, is a city in southeastern Ventura County, California, in the United States. It was named after the many oak trees that grace the area, and the city seal is adorned with an oak.
The city forms the most populated part of a regional area called the Conejo Valley, which includes Thousand Oaks proper, Newbury Park (which is really just a portion of the city, plus some unincorporated areas), Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, and Oak Park. The Los Angeles County/Ventura County line crosses at the western city limits of Westlake Village.
The City of Thousand Oaks along with Newbury Park were part of a master planned city, created by the Janss Investment Company in the mid-1950s. It included about 1,000 custom home lots, 2,000 single-family residences, a regional shopping center, 200-acre industrial park and several neighborhood shopping centers. Today, real estate in the area is very expensive, with median home prices around $722,500. It is located in the Northwestern area of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The city was recently named one of Money Magazine's Best Places to Live.
The area was once occupied by the Chumash people, and 2000-year old cave drawings may still be seen at the Chumash Interpretive Center, in the Lang Ranch section of the city.
The area's recorded history dates to 1542 when Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at Point Mugu and claimed the land for Spain. It eventually became part of the 48,671-acre Rancho El Conejo land grant by the Spanish government, thus becoming the basis of the name Conejo Valley (conejo means "rabbit" in Spanish, and there are many in the area). It served as grazing land for vaqueros for the next fifty years.
In the late 19th century it was on the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Stagecoach Inn was built in 1876, and is now a California Historical Landmark and a popular museum.
The Janss Family, developers of Southern California subdivisions, purchased 10,000 acres in the early 1900s. They eventually created plans for a "total community" and the name remains prominently featured in the city.
Jungleland USA was one of Southern California's first theme parks. Wild animal shows entertained thousands in the 1940s and 1950s. Many TV and movie productions used the park's trained animals and were filmed there, including Birth of a Nation, Tarzan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center today stands on the site of the park.
The City of Thousand Oaks was incorporated on October 7, 1964. It is known for being entirely a planned community, as the city is one of few that have actually stayed with the master plan. As a result, the city has fewer of the problems of other cities of similar size, such as traffic congestion and pollution, although increased development in Moorpark and Simi Valley in the late 1990s and early 2000s caused the 23 freeway to become heavily congested during both morning and afternoon rush hours. A major widening project began in 2008 to alleviate most of this congestion. Because of its desirable environment and location, property values have appreciated more than 250% in less than ten years, primarily during the mid-90s to early 2000s.
Newbury Park is located in the westernmost part of the city within the 91320 zip code. This area was once controlled by Ventura County as an unincorporated area, but was later annexed by the City of Thousand Oaks through votes by Newbury Park communities. The only communities that chose to remain county areas, Casa Conejo(and Lynn Ranch), was Newbury Park's first planned community built from 1960 to about 1965.
Thousand Oaks also annexed the parts of neighboring Westlake Village (then simply known as "Westlake") that were located in Ventura County, in two portions in 1968 and 1972.
Thousand Oaks is located at 34°11'22?N 118°52'30W / 34.18944°N 118.875°W / 34.18944; -118.875 (34.189489, -118.875053). It is situated in the Conejo Valley.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.0 miČ. 54.9 miČ of it is land and 0.2 miČ of it (0.29%) is water.
Although Thousand Oaks has a downtown area, a large portion of the city's inhabitants live in suburban communities a distance from the commercial centers of the city. The large housing districts near Lynn Road to the north and west are an example of this sprawl, despite attempts by Ventura County planners to reduce it.
The region has a mild, year-round Mediterranean Climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical zone climate, with warm, sunny, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. Vegetation is typical of Mediterranean environments, with chaparral and grasses on the hillsides and numerous western valley oaks. Its elevation ranges from about 500 to 900 feet(excluding the mountains and hills). The area has slightly cooler temperatures than the surrounding areas, as it receives cooler air from the ocean through various hill and mountain passes. On March 10 and 11th of 2006, snow fell on the peak of Boney Mountain, the first snow to fall in the area in about 20 years. Snow also fell on Boney Peak on December 17 and 18th of 2008.
According to the 2000 census, there were 117,005 people, 41,793 households, and 31,177 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,132.8/miČ. There were 42,958 housing units at an average density of 783.0/miČ. The racial makeup of the city was 85.09% White, 1.06% African American, 0.54% Native American, 5.87% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 4.51% from other races, and 2.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.10% of the population.
There were 41,793 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.4% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $89,953, and the median income for a family was $99,870. Males had a median income of $82,815 versus $50,604 for females. The per capita income for the city was $54,304. About 2.2% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over
Thousand Oaks is among the safest large cities in the nation. The city consistently ranks as the first or second safest large city (population between 100,000 and 499,999) in the United States in annual surveys (the main competition being nearby Simi Valley, as well as Amherst, New York which has claimed first place 7 times in the last 12 years.
Thousand Oaks is one of the few cities of over 100,000 that does not directly elect its mayor; rather the council members take turns rotating into the position. Amongst former members of the city's council is the late Ed Masry, attorney and activist. Masry achieved recognition beyond his own community when Albert Finney portrayed him opposite Julia Roberts in the 2000 Academy Award-winning film, Erin Brockovich.
Today the city boasts a very active, and historically "slow growth"-minded city council. Along with the ordinances protecting the numerous oak trees, the city's leaders and residents alike boast of the ring of protected land, free from development, that surrounds the city's borders and which may account for the accelerating land values in recent years. More than 15,000 acres have been preserved as "open space" containing more than 75 miles of trails.
The Republican Party often holds meetings during presidential and gubernatorial campaigns in a building adjacent to the City Hall.
The city's economy is based on a small range of businesses, with biotechnology, electronics, automotive, areospace, telecommunications, healthcare, and financing occupying most of Thousand Oaks's employment sector. Amgen, Baxter International, General Dynamics Corporation, Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, and Skyworks Solutions offer many high-tech jobs and have corporate headquarters in the city, while Countrywide, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, Volkswagen, Audi, General Motors, and WellPoint manage regional offices.
The city was also the former home to the corporate offices of Wellpoint and GTE, which later became Verizon, which relocated in the last decade. As the city is usually considered a suburb, many residents also commute to neighboring Los Angeles. J.D. Power and Associates is headquartered in Thousand Oaks. J.D. Power began moving its employees from its former headquarters in Agoura Hills, California to its current headquarters in the Westlake section of Thousand Oaks in the weekend after April 11, 2002.
Thousand Oaks is serviced by the Conejo Valley Unified School District. It includes numerous elementary schools, Colina Middle School, Redwood Middle School, Los Cerritos Middle School, Thousand Oaks High School, Newbury Park High School, and Westlake High School. Also part of the school district is Sequoia Middle School, located in Newbury Park. Oaks Christian High School, while located immediately outside of Ventura County, matriculates numerous students from the county. La Reina High School is a private Catholic all-girls junior/senior high school. California Lutheran University is located in Thousand Oaks.
The Thousand Oaks Library system is consistently ranked as one of the best public libraries in California. The Library consists of the Grant R. Brimhall Library in Thousand Oaks and the Newbury Park Branch Library in Newbury Park. A 22,000-square-foot Children's Library was added to the existing 62,000-square-foot main building in June 2006. The Children's Library expansion resulted in an improved Children's Services area, a 3800 gallon salt-water aquarium, quiet study rooms, a technology training room, a Children's programming room, and additional seating and shelving capacity for both the Children's services area and Adult services area. Both the main library and Newbury Park Branch offer free wireless internet access.
Thousand Oaks lies in the heart of the Conejo Valley, with the city of Los Angeles to the east and the city of Ventura to the west. The city is served by U.S. Route 101 (Ventura Freeway), as well as State Route 23. Highway 101 runs through the city and connects it with Los Angeles and Ventura. CA Route 23 connects to the 101 near Downtown Thousand Oaks, runs north toward Moorpark and Simi Valley, and essentially divides the city in two. Thousand Oaks is also served by Thousand Oaks Transit (TOT), which provides public transportation in the form of shuttles and buses. TOT buses provide service to Thousand Oaks as well as some neighboring communities.
The city boasts many amenities that other cities of similar size lack; among these is a regional transportation center. The new facility offers bus and shuttle lines to Los Angeles, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley, and Santa Barbara via the VISTA, METRO, and LADOT bus lines. In addition to being a transfer station from Los Angeles and other nearby cities, it also serves as the primary station for TOT buses.
Commercial air travel is provided primarily by Los Angeles International Airport for regular commuters, while the Bob Hope Airport (in Burbank) offers an alternative towards domestic destinations. Thousand Oaks offers public transportation that runs to both airports, via the VISTA and LADOT bus lines. Los Angeles Intl. Airport is approximately 40 miles southeast of the city, while Burbank Airport is approximately 35 miles east of the city. The closest commercial airport is Oxnard Airport located approximately 10 miles to the west in nearby Oxnard, California; however this airport provides service only to Los Angeles. General aviation airports include Camarillo Airport, which is approximately 15 miles to the west of the city, and Van Nuys Airport, which is 25 miles east of the city
Notable current and former residents of Thousand Oaks area include:
John Alvin, veteran stage, film, television actor
Sparky Anderson, Baseball Hall of Fame
Robert Altman, Hollywood director
Eve Arden, actress
George Ball, Broadway performer
Amanda Bynes, actress, What I Like About You
Dennis Blair, comedian and longtime opening act for George Carlin
Colbie Caillat, singer, "Bubbly"
Belinda Carlisle, singer, graduated from Newbury Park High School
Richard Carpenter, singer and songwriter. In 2004, Carpenter
and wife Mary pledged $3 million to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts
Plaza Foundation in memory of Carpenter's late sister Karen Carpenter.
Lacey Chabert, actress in Party of Five and Lost in Space
Frances Dee, actress, owned 3000 acres in the area with husband Joel McCrea
Tony DeFranco, lead singer of "The DeFranco Family"
Terry Donahue, UCLA Football coach
Giselle Fernandez, television news anchor, tv co-host,
attended Newbury Park High School
Stephen Furst, actor, Animal House, St. Elsewhere
Wayne Gretzky, NHL hockey player, co-owner of a popular restaurant
Halifax, a pop/punk rock band
Scott Hamilton, Olympic ice-skating champion
Phil Hendrie, host of The Phil Hendrie Show
Brent Janulis, Athlete, 15 year old killed during
1984 soccer game at Newbury Park High School
Marion Jones, track and field, graduated from Thousand Oaks High School
Jack Kirby, comic book artist, creator of the X-Men
Alan Ladd, actor
David Lander, actor, best known for playing "Squiggy" in Laverne & Shirley
Lisa Lavie, singer, songwriter
Mike Lieberthal, professional baseball player, LA Dodgers
Anne Lockhart of Battlestar Galactica
(daughter of June Lockhart and granddaughter of Gene Lockhart)
lives in the area and is very involved in local community
theater groups including the Santa Susana Players.
Heather Locklear, actress in Dynasty and Melrose Place,
graduated from Newbury Park High School
Sophia Loren, actress, once owned a ranch in Hidden Valley
Virginia Madsen, famous actress who lives
in the Newbury Park area with her son Jack, 14
Matt Malley, Oscar nominated songwriter and founding
member of multi-platinum rock group, Counting Crows
Virginia Mayo, actress
Amanda McBroom, Broadway performer
(who wrote Bette Midler's hit single, The Rose)
Joel McCrea, actor, owned 3000 acres in the area with wife Frances Dee
Kevin Mitnick, hacker
Joe Montana, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback
Colin Mortensen, cast member on MTV's The Real World
Tia Mowry, actress
Dean Martin, singer, movie star, member of the Rat Pack
Ted L. Nancy, author of the Letters from a Nut series
Terri Nunn, lead singer of Berlin, '80s Billboard top ten group
Brad Penny, pitcher for the Major League Baseball team, San Francisco Giants
Slim Pickens, actor
Sam Querrey, professional tennis player,
graduated 2006 from Thousand Oaks High School
Mel Renfro, NFL Dallas Cowboys football player
Mickey Rooney, actor
Kurt Russell, actor, son of actor Bing Russell,
was raised in the Conejo Valley,
graduated from Thousand Oaks High School
Mike Scioscia, former MLB catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers,
current MLB manager for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Tom Selleck, actor (Magnum P.I.)
Artie Shaw, composer, bandleader
Will Smith, actor/comedian, Men in Black,
and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, actress
Mabel Stark, the late "world's only tiger lady trainer"
appeared on What's My Line, promoting Jungleland
Donna Summer, singer
Zac Sunderland, yachtsman, youngest American sailor
since 1965 to attempt a solo global circumnavigation
Frankie Valli, singer
Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show
Patrick Warburton of Seinfeld
Cory Williams, aka "Mr. Safety," popular internet personality/TV show host
Jack Wilson, current MLB shortstop for the Seattle Mariners
Richard Widmark, actor
Tiger Woods, PGA professional golfer
David Wu, Entrepreneur, founder and president of
RotoHog.com, a popular fantasy sports website
René Machado, retired Ventura County deputy sheriff,
Hollywood security consultant, and celebrity bodyguard.
Points of Interest
Conejo Valley Botanical Garden
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center
American Radio Archive
The Oaks Shopping Center
California Lutheran University
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Visitor Center
Wildwood Regional Park / Fort Wildwood
This page was last updated January 22, 2010.