Moorpark is a city in Ventura County in Southern California. Moorpark was founded in 1900 following approval of the application for the Moorpark Post Office. As of 2006, Moorpark was one of the fastest-growing cities in Ventura County. The town grew from just over 4,000 citizens in 1980 to over 25,000 citizens by 1990. The population was 34,421 at the 2010 census, up from 31,415 at the 2000 census.
City of Moorpark
City of Moorpark
Location in the United States
|Coordinates: 34°16′52″N 118°52′25″W|
|• Mayor||Janice S. Parvin|
|• State Senator||Henry Stern (D)|
|• Assemblymember||Jacqui Irwin (D)|
|• U. S. Congress||Julia Brownley (D)|
|• Total||12.80 sq mi (33.15 km2)|
|• Land||12.58 sq mi (32.58 km2)|
|• Water||0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2) 1.72%|
|Elevation||515 ft (157 m)|
|• Density||2,900.15/sq mi (1,119.74/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1652754|
The origin of the name "Moorpark" is unknown, but most sources agree that the town was named after the Moorpark apricot, which used to grow in the area (hence the apricot flower on the town's seal and flag). The apricot, in turn, was named for Admiral Lord Anson's estate Moor Park in Hertfordshire, England, where he introduced the apricot in 1688.
One other theory of the name is that, when the Southern Pacific Railroad was surveying the local land in the 19th century for its railway, someone in the party said that the area, with its sloping hills, looked like the Scottish Moors, hence the name Moorpark.
Chumash people were the first to inhabit what is now known as Moorpark. A Chumash village, known as Quimisac (Kimishax), was located in today’s Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park. They were hunters and gatherers who often traveled between villages to trade. The village of Quimisac once controlled the local trade of fused shale in the region. The area was later 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 and Water Company, received the land when the association was disbanded. A map showing the townsite was prepared in November 1900. It was a resubdivision of the large lot subdivision known as Fremont, or Fremontville. An application for a post office was submitted on June 1, 1900 and approved by August of that year. The application noted that the town had a railroad depot. The town grew after the 1904 completion of a 7,369-foot (2,246 m) tunnel through the Santa Susana Mountains. Moorpark was then on the main route of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Coast Line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The depot remained in operation until it was closed in 1958. It was eventually torn down around 1965.
Moorpark was one of the first cities to run off commercial nuclear power in the entire world, and the second in the United States, after Arco, Idaho on July 17, 1955, which is the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power. For one hour on November 12, 1957, this fact was featured on Edwin 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.
Moorpark College opened on September 11, 1967. Moorpark College is one of the few colleges that features an Exotic Animal Training and Management Program. Moorpark was incorporated as a city on July 1, 1983.
In 1996, Moorpark's Little League All-Star team represented the West Region in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
In February 2005, a Siberian tiger named Tuffy that 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 tiger, primarily because the tiger could not be shot from the proper angle for a tranquilizer to prove effective. Candlelight vigils were held for the late Tuffy. The couple who owned the tiger had moved from a licensed facility in Temecula, California, to an unlicensed facility in the Moorpark area of Ventura County. They lost their U.S. Department of Agriculture exhibitor license because they failed to notify the department of the move within 10 days. The wife pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of failing to maintain records of exotic felines. The husband pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, making false statements and failing to maintain proper records. Each was sentenced to home detention, three years probation, and fined $900.
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. The fossilized skeleton is believed to be from a 800,000 to 1.4 million years old mammoth, which is estimated to have had a weight of ten tons.
In 2006, the Moorpark city council transferred governance of their library from the Ventura County library system to their own newly created city library system. The library, which opened in 1912, celebrated its centennial in 2012.
On February 28, 2006, a housing proposal, North Park Village, which would have added 1,680 houses on 3,586 acres (15 km2) in the north-east area of the city, was defeated by a landslide in a city election.
In 2016, Mike Winters, the Vice President and Historian of the Moorpark Historical Society, published a revised history of Moorpark that covers the years from Moorpark's beginnings to the 1930s. The book, published by Arcadia Publishing is entitled Images of America: Moorpark.
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 the High Street Arts Center (a Performing Arts center operated by the City of Moorpark), and various restaurants and businesses.
- 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 named for Moorpark College. An additional substantial development is occurring to the north of the existing city, in the area of the Moorpark Country Club.
- The city is serviced by Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink's Ventura County Line commuter rail, with a train station located on High Street, in the center of the city. Metrolink offers a commute rail to Los Angeles.
- The city of Moorpark has a mass transit bus system, known as the Moorpark City Transit.
In 2017, Moorpark had 12,235 jobs (up from 10,820 jobs in 2010) and retail sales of $281 million (up from $264 million in 2010). Most of these retail businesses are located along the community's Los Angeles Avenue corridor, with the community's historic downtown area, known as Historic High Street, as a secondary retail hub.
|#||Employer||# of Employees (2018)|
|1||PennyMac Loan Services||881|
|2||Moorpark Unified School District||723|
|4||Pentair Water Pool & Spa||530|
|5||Benchmark Electronics Manufacturing Solutions||320|
|8||Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense||136|
|9||Test Equity LLC||121|
|10||Picnic Time, Inc.||120|
California State Highway 118 California State Highway 23
The city is divided by Highway 118, locally known as Los Angeles Avenue. Old Town Moorpark (Downtown) is located north of the freeway. Many newer residential communities can be found south of the freeway.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2). 12.6 square miles (33 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it is water. The total area is 1.72% water.
With its close proximity to Los Angeles, Moorpark too has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid either Köppen's BSh or BSk (semi-arid climate) classification.
|Climate data for Moorpark, California|
|Record high °F (°C)||92
|Average high °F (°C)||69
|Average low °F (°C)||41
|Record low °F (°C)||25
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.7
|Source: The Weather Channel.|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Moorpark had a population of 34,421. The population density was 2,689.4 people per square mile (1,038.4/km2). The racial makeup of Moorpark was 25,860 (75.1%) White, 533 (1.5%) African American, 248 (0.7%) Native American, 2,352 (6.8%) Asian, 50 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 3,727 (10.8%) from other races, and 1,651 (4.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10,813 persons (31.4%).
The Census reported that 34,421 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 10,484 households, out of which 4,863 (46.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,966 (66.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,113 (10.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 507 (4.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 483 (4.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 58 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,337 households (12.8%) were made up of individuals and 434 (4.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.28. There were 8,586 families (81.9% of all households); the average family size was 3.55.
The population was spread out with 9,459 people (27.5%) under the age of 18, 3,631 people (10.5%) aged 18 to 24, 8,825 people (25.6%) aged 25 to 44, 10,051 people (29.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,455 people (7.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.
There were 10,738 housing units at an average density of 839.0 per square mile (323.9/km2), of which 8,182 (78.0%) were owner-occupied, and 2,302 (22.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.9%. 26,688 people (77.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 7,733 people (22.5%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the 2000 census, there are 31,416 people in the city, organized into 8,994 households and 7,698 families. The population density is 1,651.9 inhabitants per square mile (637.7/km2). There are 9,094 housing units at an average density of 478.2 per square mile (184.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city is 74.42% White, 27.81% Hispanic of any race, 13.95% from other races, 5.63% Asian, 3.87% from two or more races, 1.52% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.15% Pacific Islander.
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.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services for the city.
Moorpark had the lowest crime rates in Ventura County according to public crime statistics in 2000, and according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department statistics from 2006. The FBI has ranked Moorpark as one of California’s safest cities. It was ranked California’s 8th safest city in 2017. No homicides were recorded in 2017 nor 2018. The 2018 FBI Uniform Crime Report reported a near record-low crime level.
Volunteers in Policing
The City provides a "Volunteers in Policing" (VIP) program that formally engages citizens in supporting the police department and the community that began in 1994. In 1994 the program began with an attempt to open a police storefront run by the Volunteers in policing. Now the volunteers do a wide variety of non-dangerous tasks in an effort to assist the local sheriff's department including: parking enforcement, wellness checks, and traffic enforcement.
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 four times since 1999 and in 2008 set the record for the highest team score in the history of the competition. The 2009 National Championship team met with President Barack Obama in June 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 High School was named an Exemplary School of the Arts.
- Graduation rate is 95%.
- Based on test scores in math and language arts, Moorpark High school ranks 2,105 out of 9,595 schools in California. (top 30%)
A few events are held in the Moorpark area during the year, most notably Moorpark "Country Days", a single day parade and festival in late September or early October, American Civil War battle reenactments in early-November (in 2019 this annual event was cancelled), an "Apricot Festival", usually in the spring or summer, and an annual fireworks celebration on the third of July every year. The "Country Days" parade includes various vendors, entertainment, and family friendly games/crafts. Children march with their schools, sports teams, dance companies, etc. Local businesses are also encouraged to march. The July 3rd fireworks are popular around the rest of Ventura County, as people can go to the Moorpark fireworks on the 3rd, and still see their own local city's fireworks on July 4.
In 1961, Julius Goldman founded Egg City, the largest chicken ranch in The United Stares at the time located just north of Moorpark, California. With many chicken coops spread over acres of concrete with millions of chickens in them. Most of the roads to the ranch were lined by large palm trees. The main office building had a giant chicken statue on the top of it which was later lost in a fire. Local residents were somewhat irked by the farm, when the smell of it wafted to Moorpark on windy days. The odors also commonly flowed to the nearby town of Fillmore. The Pacific Ocean can be seen from the property peaks, although it is farther inland. The business suffered a setback in 1972, when millions of chickens were slaughtered because of the threat of Newcastle disease. There were three well sites on the property and a manmade lake near the main entrance gate. The main well at the hatchery is considered to be one of the deepest and largest privately owned wells in the entire county. In 1989, 3 more massive concrete pads were built at the hatchery location. Egg gathering was done from 36 houses by hand, with workers placing eggs onto plastic flats while riding electric carts. Liquid, dry and shell eggs were processed at the 8,000 Sq ft hatchery facility warehouse with yolk and albumen available in individually. The farm finally closed in 1996. In early December 2006, a wildfire destroyed the dilapidated remains of Egg City.
Government and politics
The city government operates under a council-manager form of government. The Mayor is elected at-large for two-year terms, and four City Councilmembers are elected to staggered four-year terms. The Mayor and City Councilmember positions are non-partisan. Through 2018, the City Councilmembers were elected on an at-large basis. In April 2019, the City Council voted to transition to a district-based election system for the four City Councilmembers, beginning with the November 2020 municipal election.
The city government operates municipal facilities throughout the community, including the Moorpark City Library, Moorpark Active Adult Center, Arroyo Vista Recreation Center and Community Park, Ruben Castro Human Services Facility, Moorpark Public Services Facility, and the Moorpark Police Services Center, which contains offices for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol. The Ventura County Fire Department provides fire protection for Moorpark, with two fire stations in the city.
In the California State Legislature, Moorpark is in the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Henry Stern, and in the 44th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jacqui Irwin. In the United States House of Representatives, Moorpark is represented by Democrat Julia Brownley in California's 26th Congressional District.
In February 2019, there were 21,373 registered voters in Moorpark, with 7,394 registered as Republicans (34.6%), 7,365 registered as Democrats (34.5%), 5,370 registered with no party preference (25.1%), and the remainder split among other parties.
Moorpark has 20 parks, all with a variety of amenities. Park hours for unlit facilities are from 6:00 a.m. to sunset. Lit facilities are from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The City's Dog Park is open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST, and 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. DST. The City's Skatepark is open from 10:00 a.m. to sunset on school days, and 8:00 a.m. to sunset on all other days.
- Arroyo Vista Community Park
- Campus Canyon
- Campus Park
- College View Park
- Community Center Park
- Country Trail Park
- Dog Park
- Glenwood Park
- Magnolia Park
- Mammoth Highlands Park
- Miller Park
- Monte Vista Nature Park
- Mountain Meadows Park
- Peach Hill Park
- Poindexter Park
- Tierra Rejada Park
- Veterans Memorial Park
- Villa Campesina Park
- Virginia Colony Park
- Walnut Acres Park
In popular culture
A number of movies have been filmed in Moorpark. An example is Kings Row (1942) starring Ronald Reagan, which featured a scene filmed at Spring Road and Los Angeles Avenue. The film Paranormal Activity 3 has a portion taking place in Moorpark. J.J Gittes (Jack Nicholson) gets shot at an orchard in a scene in Chinatown (1974), which was shot at Trident Ranch. The big game scene in The Best of Times (1986) was shot at Moorpark Memorial High School, while scenes in The Great Man's Lady (1942) were filmed at Joel McCrea's ranch. Scenes from the TV series Super Soul Sunday starring Oprah Winfrey are filmed at Apricot Lane Farms.
- David Pollock, actor and politician.
- Frankie Banali, rock drummer (Quiet Riot)
- Brian Blechen, Professional Football player for the Carolina Panthers
- Kelli Berglund, actress
- Walter Brennan, screen actor
- John Chester, documentary filmmaker, TV director, and cinematographer
- Jan Ebeling, German-American equestrian, who competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- F. Gary Gray, music video and film director ("Friday", "Italian Job" (2003), "Straight Outta Compton")
- Tim Hanshaw, former NFL player (1995 drafted in the 4th round by the San Francisco 49ers)
- Rick Jason, actor
- Zach Penprase (born 1985), Israeli-American baseball player for the Israel National Baseball Team
- Dillon "Attach" Price (born 1997), professional Call of Duty player
- Gary Sinise, actor
- Dennis Pitta, professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens.
- Paul Winchell, Ventriloquist, inventor, and the voice of Tigger.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moorpark, California.|
- Official website
- Moorpark Chamber of Commerce
- Moorpark City Library
- Moorpark Historical Society
- Moorpark @ The Official Conejo Valley Website, a Web site with local history, events, and community information.
- Moorpark Acorn Newspaper
- Moorpark Patch, a website with local news, events and community information.