"The Last Best Small Town In Southern California"

Fillmore is a city in Ventura County, California, United States in the Santa Clara River Valley. In an agricultural area with rich, fertile soil, Fillmore has a historic downtown that was established when Southern Pacific built the railroad through the valley in 1887. They also provided a name for the town; J. A. Fillmore was a general superintendent for the company’s Pacific system. In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition, first Europeans to see inland areas of California, came down the valley from the previous night’s encampment near today’s Rancho Camulos and camped in the vicinity of Fillmore on August 11. Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary travelling with the expedition, had previously named the valley Cañada de Santa Clara. He noted that the party travelled about 9–10 miles and camped near a large native village. Founded in 1887 upon the arrival of the Southern Pacific Rail line, the city voted to incorporate in 1914. Fillmore sits at the foot of Topatopa Mountains and several other mountains in the Santa Clara River Valley. It is famous for its many orange groves.
Most houses are cottages, bungalows and old homes. Over half of all homes were constructed after 1970. The oldest buildings are found in downtown, which is centered around Central Street. Particularly the western part of the city has newer residential communities. Most businesses are located on Ventura Street (Highway 126). Fillmore is a small town in the Santa Clara River Valley below San Cayetano Mountain, a peak of the Topatopa Mountains in the Los Padres National Forest. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary, where the critically endangered California condor is recovering, in the Topatopa range to the north. The nearby Sespe Creek is a tributary of the Santa Clara River. Fillmore is within a historic Ventura County agricultural and tree-farming belt. The city is served by the Fillmore Unified School District. Educational facilities for this district include: two high schools including Fillmore High School; one middle school; and four elementary schools. A fifth elementary school is located in the city of Piru, which is also a part of the school district. The Fillmore Christian Academy is a private K-8 school in town.

Fillmore’s economy is still largely driven by agriculture. Most agricultural industry in the Fillmore area is related to orange, lemon, avocado orchard farming and packing and, more recently, specimen tree farming. To a lesser extent, row crop farming and small industry and assembly are also present in and near Fillmore and in other parts of the Santa Clara River Valley. Fillmore has a classic “turn of the 20th century” downtown architecture, the one-screen Fillmore Towne Theatre, and many unique shops and businesses, including a local winery. Adjacent to the railroad tracks and a much-photographed city hall is the Railroad Visitor Center operated by the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, which has many displays as well as a fully operational 90-foot (27 m) train turntable and several restored railroad cars. A short walk down Main Street from the Railroad Visitor Center is the Fillmore Historical Museum, which includes the restored Southern Pacific Railroad Fillmore 1887 standard-design One Story Combination Depot No. 11 built in 1887, a 1956 Southern Pacific railroad caboose, and railroad-related displays.

The small post office from the community of Bardsdale and a 1919 farm worker bunkhouse from Rancho Sespe were moved to the site along with the 1906 Craftsman-style Hinckley House, the home of the community’s first dentist and druggist. The bunkhouse contains many displays illustrating the history of Fillmore and the nearby communities of Bardsdale and Piru. The Fillmore and Western Railway trains take tourists through the orchards. The Elkins Ranch Golf Course is nearby. Also located nearby are a fish hatchery and the Sespe Creek and Sespe Wilderness, home to the California condor Sespe sanctuary. Fillmore has provided a commercial and business center for the small community of Bardsdale, which is located about three miles (5 km) south of Fillmore, directly across the Santa Clara River. Well-preserved downtown Fillmore is a popular filming location for television and movies. The January 4, 2007, episode of CSI entitled Leaving Las Vegas prominently featured old-town Fillmore as the fictional town of “Larkston, Nevada”. Scenes in the television series Jericho and Big Love are also filmed there. The City of Fillmore is an established municipality within Ventura County, founded in 1888 and incorporated on July 10, 1914.