Casitas Springs/Park View Drive

by Toby
(Jacksonville, Fl)

What is the history of Casitas Springs/Parkview Drive, including the railroad that would have passed through Casitas Springs? Are there old photos of this area?

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Mar 03, 2013
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Park View Drive and the Railroad
by: Jim Mills

As you probably know, the local history says that Casitas Springs was founded in 1812 when an earthquake caused a tidal wave that forced the priests and natives at the mission San Buenaventura to relocate up the Ventura River to a new and higher location, where they built “casitas” at the site of the new Casitas Springs. The intersection of Park View Drive and Ventura Avenue is about 300 feet above sea level.

I don’t know much about the history of Park View Drive. I lived on Park View Drive in 1946 and 1947. My grandfather and grandmother (Mr. And Mrs. Walrath) lived in a large house on Park View Drive, where my grandfather had a carpenter shop. He also worked as a janitor at the Casitas Springs elementary school until he died, around 1947. The house they lived in was quite old, even in 1946. I’m sure it is no longer there. Looking at Park View Drive on Google Earth, it looks a lot longer than it was in 1947. I’m sure the road has been extended in the intervening years.

The railroad wasn’t close to Park View Drive. The railroad ran along side Ventura Avenue from Foster Park to Casitas Springs, then, at the south end of Casitas Springs, just where Ventura Avenue turns to the northeast and just before Park View Drive, the railroad continued in a more northerly direction. The main part of Casitas Springs was between Ventura Avenue (and Park View Drive) on the east, and the railroad on the west. The last time I was in the area, there was a pedestrian (hiking) and bike path from Ventura to Ojai. Most of that bike path follows the old railroad. You can follow that bike path, along the west side of Casitas Springs, to see where the railroad was.

Jun 26, 2013
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Casitas Springs
by: Tobin

Wow, thanks for the information. I lived there from about 1977 to 1992. It was the green house (about the 4th on the left)that had a "Hillcrest" wooden sign hanging on the porch. The house was built in 1927. We would find old wooden marbles in the front yard. There was also some odd concrete structures in the back yard. Folks named the Robinsons had owned it. Some may think this is strange but there was some paranormal stuff going on. Everyone would have dreams of this big black bull chasing them, among other things. There used to be a house just past the Canada Larga access gate, had a cistern, and apparently looked like people used to dump their garbage there, like from the 1950s.

Jun 26, 2013
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Casitas Springs
by: Tobin

Wow, thanks for the information. I lived there from about 1977 to 1992. It was the green house (about the 4th on the left)that had a "Hillcrest" wooden sign hanging on the porch. The house was built in 1927. We would find old wooden marbles in the front yard. There was also some odd concrete structures in the back yard. Folks named the Robinsons had owned it. Some may think this is strange but there was some paranormal stuff going on. Everyone would have dreams of this big black bull chasing them, among other things. There used to be a house just past the Canada Larga access gate, had a cistern, and apparently looked like people used to dump their garbage there, like from the 1950s.

Jul 27, 2013
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Casitas Springs
by: Russell

I grew up in Casitas Springs from 1950 to 1966. I remember Park View Drive. It was the steep one lane road that went up the hill on the right as you came around the bend(Hwy. 33)into Casitas. I knew the Robinsons. Mrs Robinson(I can not remember her first name)had a small dog kennel. My mother knew Mrs. Roberson and recomended her to babysit two puppies for me in 1964.

I remember the houses up there on Park View drive were old and the road was only paved for a short distance and you had to turn around at the dead end to come back down the road and get back on the highway.

There was a terrable accident up there on Park View around 1955. A man(my parents knew him)was loading a tracter on a flat bed trailer, on the steep hill and the tracter went off the side of the trailer and crushed him. I remember many of our parents were shocked and upset over his death and of course you could hear the emergency sirens all over that end/our end of Casitas.

As for a haunting of being chased by a big black bull. I am not surprized. There were a lot of big Brama bulls on the ranches in the hills around Casitas. In-fact my Brownie group was chased by a big Brama Bull on one of our hikes(1956 to 1958).

Aug 04, 2013
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casitas springs
by: yvonne stine

it was told :in the early days their was a stage coach that traveled daily to Ojai. during one of the floods it overturned in the creek right below ranch arnez killing the stage coach drivers wife and baby.

Aug 13, 2013
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Fond Memories
by: M. Quicke-Kennedy

In response to the Park View Dr.-when my family first moved to Casitas Spgs back in early 1963 we moved up onto Park View Dr. The house we lived in was owned by a Mrs. English(she lived up in Ojai area). As kids, my younger sibs and I would hike all over the hills up behind the green house mentioned in an earlier post. The railroad tracks were removed I believe in the early 70's . As for the comment about The Robinsons, their names were Maxine and Tony ,and their son Joey, they had a beautiful Doberman, named Satin. She also operated a small (mostly Poodles and Yorkie Terrier)dog grooming business right across from their house on Park View Dr. as well as a kennel where Maxine gave me my very first 'job' during the summers. Maxine helped run a part of the Humane Society out of the building too. Our family lived in Casitas Springs from 1963 through 1983, it was a wonderful small town to grow up in and still brings fond memories to mind. Cheers!

Oct 16, 2013
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Living in Casitas Springs
by: Patti Stockton

We moved to Casitas Springs when I was about five I think. Mom and dad bought a small house on the Ave. It is still there in fact. We lived next door to Grady and Ellen Boatman. I remember playing near the house down the st. that had giant bull frogs. I loved going to play with the bull frogs and listening to them sing to me. lol. I remember LaSalles yard just up the street from us and I used to play with Darlene LaSalle. We were best friends at that age. I miss those days it was a great place to live back in the late forties early fifties.

Jan 29, 2014
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spikes
by: Anonymous

Hi ,and thank you for the great stories I just wanted to tell that I lived by the bike path near tico and by chance found a railroad spike with the lettering NORDOFF R AND R.Some decided to relieve me of the antique without my permission but some people are like that. It was still in pretty good shape and the lettering was grand but the gauge R & R must have been a small for the spike was what you normally find by the tracks.Thank you again for the history.Jp

Oct 29, 2015
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The Casitas Springs Elementary School
by: Anonymous

We lived in the Parkview Drive home 1976 - 1998 and my kids used to do Halloween down below in the community. The Quick's children would make a great ghostly path leading down to the community - it was great. The neighborhood was safe, and would give homemade popcorn balls, great candy and treats. They would wind up at the "Community Center" which was the old school house. There would be hot dogs, cider, candy, hot chocolate for the kids. Our neighbor was Gigi, who knew of Ms. English, and Mrs. Robinson. Speaking of dreams, I have dreams of 2 houses behind the the houses that are there now. The first one was a 2 story, the one close by single story - nearer to the ravine. Does any one know if there were houses back there ever?

Mar 11, 2016
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Sasquatch
by: Anonymous

I hear there was a Bigfoot spotted around the area back in the 1940's down at the river bottom. They say that the Squatch would come down during the spring storms and in the area of Park View. Even in the mid 70's, some of the old timers said they saw a tall hairy figure off of Parkview.

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history on the railroad to ojai

by john attwood
(ojai)

when was the railroad built,what was its prime purpose and when was it pulled out ?

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Jan 11, 2012
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History on the railroad to Ojai
by: Michael Greenspun

John Attwood,

The railroad line originated as the Ventura and Ojai Valley Railroad in the 1890's, and was purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad a few years later. This spur came off of Espee's main line at what is now the Olive St crossing. Up until 1969 this spur traveled to Ojai, afterward the line only went as far as the USA Petroleum refinery off of Crooked Palm Rd. Espee gave up using the line sometime after the closure of the refinery in 1984. Most of the this old spur is now a bicycle/pedestrian trail from Ventura to Ojai.

Michael

Jan 11, 2012
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Thanks Michael!
by: Michael, Fun-in-Ventura

Michael, thanks for that very informative answer, it's much appreciated!

Jul 21, 2013
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The train through Casitas Springs
by: Russell

I grew up in Casitas Springs from 1950 to 1966. As little kids we used the railroad tracks as our route to Foster Park. If we heard the train coming we would get off the tracks while it passed. We would scare each other while crossing the tressel between Casitas and Foster Park by saying thatm we could hear the train coming. The engine driver would always wave and blow the train horn at us when we gave him the blow your horn arm sign. We would put copper pennies on the tracks so the train wheels would smash them for us. The train passing through, the tracks and tressels were part of our lives. It was sad to see the train shut down and gone.

Jul 22, 2013
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Remnants
by: Michael

Russell, it has been several years since I was last in the area, but the last time I ventured up the rails-to-trails path there were still remnants of that bridge a short distance north of town. It is not easy to find with all of the overgrowth. I have included a link to 5 pics I took in 2008 of what is left if you care to take a look.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=12600343@N08&q=casitas

Jul 24, 2013
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railroad tracks
by: Vicky Flowers

The railroad track were in our backyard. I remember putting things on the tracks to flatten them. One time my kittle brother and a family fried were playing on the tracks and when the train came they jumped over the side (canyon side) and the train stopped and got them to the other side. We'd also go and look for awesome rocks that were there. It was so much fun growing up on Prospect St. in Oak View.
Vicky

Jul 25, 2013
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Micheal pictures
by: Russell

Michael, I was unable to find your pictures of what remains of the old train tressel bridge between Foster Park and Casitas.
I do appreciate your taking the time to post your link to your pictures.

Jul 26, 2013
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Photos
by: Michael

Russell, too bad you could not open the link, the only other way to view the pics besides clicking on the link or copy-and-paste the link is to go the Flickr, do a member seach for N4VAL, once you find my account do a photostream search for Casitas Springs.

Michael

Jul 26, 2013
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link fixed
by: Michael - Fun-in-Ventura

I coded the link so now you can just click on it to view these pics. Thanks again!

Jul 27, 2013
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five pictures of tressel bridge
by: Russell

Oh! My! Nature has taken over the tressel bridge.
It does have a goastly look about it now. We had a trail in the creek bed that went from one end of the tressel bridge to the other end. We would ride our horses along the side of the train tracks and then use the trail in the creek bed to pass the tressel bridge. Our horse saddle club had a horse riding arena(1954 to 1961 or 63)in Foster Park and we would ride our horses to and from Foster Park from Casitas. The horse arena was dismantled and the area turned into a parking lot for the park.

Thank you very much for the pictures Michael. So many good memories of my childhood.

Aug 13, 2013
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Saddle club
by: Anonymous

This is for Russell--you mentioned the Saddle club and riding the trails along the river bed--I remember being involved with the Ventura Saddle Club that would meet there in Foster Park, I rode my horse Babe over that whole area of Casitas and Foster Park--still remember the club riding all the way up to the Casitas Lake Dam for a day ride and picnic. I am trying to remember if I may have known you-as I said in an earlier response my family lived there in Casitas Springs from 1963-1983. I also remember that old trestle, I would climb up onto the underpinnings and wait for the train to come through and my brothers and I also would wait to give the arm signal for the engineer to blast the whistle!!!!! Cheers

Aug 27, 2013
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Re: five pictures of tressel bridge
by: Tim

I'm a little confused by the dating here. I, too, lived in the area (Casitas Springs and Oak View 1977-2009) and always knew about the trestle remnants. I always hoped to find an old railroad spike lying around. A momento of local history.

What confuses me is you say you took those pictures in 2008, Michael. If memory serves, that entire area was thoroughly and dramatically changed by the County immediately after the receding waters of the 2005 flood. I still walk that area regularly to this day and haven't been able to locate so much as a trace of that old trestle since 2005. Even the bike path course has been altered a bit.

Aug 27, 2013
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RE: Re: five pictures of tressel bridge
by: Michael

Tim, The actual date is August 2, 2008 and this date is true. I have never lived in the area, I have lived in Ventura since 1997. My kids and I have rode our bikes on the trail for years, and I remember seeing the remnants of the bridge in passing on a few occasions. When I went to take the pics it had been a few years since I rode my bike up that way but I remembered the area, I actually drove my car up and parked in the dirt area opposite the mobile home park (north end), I then walked north along the trail until I found the remnants, by this time the overgrowth was so bad I could not see them from the trail, I had to walk along the edge of the horse trail and look into the brush and trees to find them. They were between Casitas Springs and San Antonio Creek, but closer to town. I know in recent years they had the trail closed off but I do not know why. After the first of the month (September) I'll try to take a trip up there and see if I can find them again, if the trail is open and has not been altered in the last 5 years.


Michael

Sep 09, 2013
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RE: RE: Re: five pictures of tressel bridge
by: Anonymous

Apparently I had my bearings a bit off then when I had last looked for it, Michael. I thought it was a few hundred feet further north than its actual location.

I just returned from a scouting trip and did rediscover it. In my mind now is the thought that I could spend an hour or two removing the overgrowth and debris that is choking it into nothingness and contributing to the decay. Maybe when it's a bit cooler so I can wear clothing suitable to protect from the poison oak that frames the old structure.

Sep 10, 2013
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Casitas Springs RR Bridge
by: Anonymous

Great!! I'm glad you found it, I was afraid that they may have reconstructed the trail and removed what was left of the bridge. That is the furthest north I have seen evidence of the old Ojai line.

Sep 10, 2013
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RE: Casitas Springs RR Bridge
by: Tim

That was my fear as well.

So far I know of only three remaining remnants: the bridge ruins, a bent length of rail in the river itself just south of the bridge, and the rails still imbedded in the Main St. on/off ramps of Hwy. 33.

Sep 11, 2013
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SP - Ojai branch line
by: Michael

This is what I have come across over the years of riding the trail: If you follow the Ventura River trail north from the Hwy 33 off/on ramps (from Olive St / Main St) you will come across many remnants of this line. Besides the embedded rails you mentioned there are more rails embedded into the asphalt on a private street (open to the public) where the trail crosses Stanley Ave. More rails can be seen on industrial property and an old track switch on the trail side of a chain link fence just south of the Shell Rd crossing. More rails can be seen on the west side of the trail just before the ex-USA refinery, and rails on the east side of the trail going onto the refinery property. The refinery area is the last remnants of the line until the Casitas Springs bridge.

If you go to my Flickr account and do a search for "Ojai spur" on my photostream most, if not all, of my photos will show up. They will also appear if you do a regular search (signed in or not) along with other member photos that include "Ojai spur" in the description.


Michael

Sep 11, 2013
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SP - Ojai branch line
by: Michael

This is what I have come across over the years of riding the trail: If you follow the Ventura River trail north from the Hwy 33 off/on ramps (from Olive St / Main St) you will come across many remnants of this line. Besides the embedded rails you mentioned there are more rails embedded into the asphalt on a private street (open to the public) where the trail crosses Stanley Ave. More rails can be seen on industrial property and an old track switch on the trail side of a chain link fence just south of the Shell Rd crossing. More rails can be seen on the west side of the trail just before the ex-USA refinery, and rails on the east side of the trail going onto the refinery property. The refinery area is the last remnants of the line until the Casitas Springs bridge.

If you go to my Flickr account and do a search for "Ojai spur" on my photostream most, if not all, of my photos will show up. They will also appear if you do a regular search (signed in or not) along with other member photos that include "Ojai spur" in the description.


Michael

Sep 11, 2013
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Remnants
by: Tim

Thank you, Michael! I've never ridden the trail any further south than Foster Park. Of course, the last time I did, there wasn't any further south to go! LOL!!

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