Located in sunny SoCal, Ventura County is one of the fastest-growing areas of the United States and home to many thriving communities. While many California residents might be familiar with the cities of Oxnard (the largest city in the county) and Ventura (the county seat), both Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village deserve some attention.
Thousand Oaks, California
Located just 15 miles from Los Angles, Thousand Oaks was incorporated in 1964, although humans had been living in the area for thousands of years. European settlers first came in the 1500s with Spanish explorers, but a steady influx of settlers began in the late 1800s.
It was at this time that Newbury Park was built and when the area’s Norwegian community developed.
During the early 1900s, the area saw a population boom as new residents moved in to take advantage of technology jobs at companies like Packard Bell and Westinghouse Astroelectronics Laboratory.
Westlake Village is located on the outskirts of Thousand Oaks and shares the Conejo Valley with the larger city. Like Thousand Oaks, what would eventually become Westlake Village was originally home to Native American tribes, before Spanish Explorers came to the area. Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega owned the land afterward, although the don’s family eventually sold it to the Russel brothers for $2.50 per acre.
William Randolph Hearst purchased it in 1925 and Fred Albertson purchased it in 1943 when it was used as a “movie ranch” for productions like Robin Hood, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza.
As Thousand Oaks grew, it eventually consumed roughly half of the original Westlake Village development. Today, the dividing line runs through Westlake Lake. Westlake Village remains relatively small, with a population under 9,000 as of the 2020 census.
Both Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village continue to thrive. A smart development strategy put in place in the 2000s ensures that neither city creates the urban sprawl that affects so many other California cities while maximizing access to the area’s natural beauty.