Landmarks of Midtown Ventura

“Atoms for Peace” reflects the dream that atomic power would solve all of our energy problems.

by Richard Senate

The city of Ventura is really three cities, The largest section is called midtown. Most of our history is found in the West End, or Old Town, but Mid-town has a great many overlooked historic sites well worth a visit. Midtown incorporates The Ventura harbor, Seaward enclave, the Pacific View mall, Ventura College and had a great many colorful sites and history. These are a few historic places worth taking the time to visit.

Ventura High School Auditorium, on Main Street. Built in 1939 in a depression style, Art Deco. It seats 1500 and was the largest auditorium in Ventura County. In World War Two, it was used for war bond drives. Once singer Nelson Eddy performed here with Russian Cossack dancers from the USSR. Before the massive hall is the statue “Atoms for Peace” that reflects the dream of the 1950s that atomic power would solve all of our energy problems.

Pierpont Inn on Sanjon. This classic Inn and Restaurant was built in 1910 and managed by. Mrs.J.E, Pierpont It quickly became known as the place to go for everyone who was anyone, from writer/lawyer Erle Stanley Gardner to Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille. The Craftsman style building started with 24 rooms, but each room had its own bath. Gardner met his second wife here where she was working as a hostess for the restaurant.

Olivas Adobe Historic Park, Olivas Park Drive. This 1841 adobe hacienda was built by Raymundo Olivas for his extensive cattle ranch. The house is large and needed to be because he and his wife had twenty-one children. He was known for his hospitality and lavish parties. The two story home became the social center of the whole Santa Clara River valley. Purchased by Yeast King, Max Fleischmann in 1928 he restored the house and, upon his death, he gifted it to the city of Ventura for a museum. It was opened as a historic house museum in 1972.

Ventura Harbor Tile murals and Fisherman’s Monument. The decorative archway is dedicated to all the fishermen lost at sea off Ventura County.

Ivy Lawn Cemetery. Many of the movers and shakers of Ventura history rest here. from Senator Thomas R. Bard (our only US Senator from Ventura County) to movie stars and baseball heroes. Tombs, headstones and art, show the history of Ventura.

The Sears Building, Main Street, Art Deco style. It also served as a bomb shelter in the cold war. One of the few buildings in town with a basement.

The Side Car –and old railroad car transformed into a dinner. Once a wild honk tonk in prohibition days when it was outside city limits. It was once a dinner car on a circus train.

The Dudley House on Ashwood. Built by farmer Benjamin Dudley in 1892 Three generation of Dudley family lived here. Now a museum open first Sunday each month for tours. With original furnishings, depicts life in the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Bus-House Sculpture on Telegraph, Pacific View mall. The transportational center has this unique bit of modern art that depicts a house turning into a bus.

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