Thousand Oaks is an affluent city in southeastern Ventura County. Thousand Oaks is located approximately 35 miles from Downtown Los Angeles and is also less than 15 miles from the Los Angeles city neighborhood of Woodland Hills. It was named after the many oak trees that graced the area, and the city seal is adorned with an oak.
The city forms the populated core of the Conejo Valley, located in the northwestern part of the Los Angeles area. It includes Thousand Oaks proper, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, and Oak Park. The Los Angeles County/Ventura County line crosses at the western city limits of Westlake Village. The population was estimated to be 128,374 in 2012.
Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park were part of a master planned city, created by the Janss Investment Company in the mid-1950s. It included about 1,000 custom home lots, 2,000 single-family residences, a regional shopping center, 200-acre industrial park and several neighborhood shopping centers. The median home price is around $673,000. The city was named one of Money magazine’s Best Places to Live.
In 2013, a survey by the AllProudAmericans.com page places Thousand Oaks in the top 10 richest cities to live.
The area was once occupied by the Chumash people, and 2000-year-old cave drawings may still be seen at the Chumash Indian Museum, 3290 Lang Ranch Parkway, in the Lang Ranch section of the city. The Chumash village was known as Sap’wi, which means “House of the Deer.”
The area’s recorded history dates to 1542 when Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at Point Mugu and claimed the land for Spain. It eventually became part of the 48,671 acres Rancho El Conejo land grant by the Spanish government, thus becoming the basis of the name Conejo Valley (conejo means “rabbit” in Spanish, and there are many in the area). It served as grazing land for vaqueros for the next fifty years.
In the late 19th century it was on the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Stagecoach Inn was built in 1876, and is now a California Historical Landmark and a popular museum.
The Janss family, developers of Southern California subdivisions, purchased 10,000 acres in the early 20th century. They eventually created plans for a “total community” and the name remains prominently featured in the city.
Jungleland USA was one of Southern California’s first theme parks. Wild animal shows entertained thousands in the 1940s and 1950s. Many TV and movie productions used the park’s trained animals and were filmed there, including Birth of a Nation, Tarzan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Jungleland closed down in May 1968, in part due to competition from other amusement parks such as Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center today stands on the site of the park.
The City of Thousand Oaks was incorporated on October 7, 1964, the first incorporated city in the Conejo Valley. Some sources mistakenly state that Thousand Oaks was incorporated on September 29, 1964, which was the date that voters approved the incorporation and selected the name. However, the incorporation only became official once the certificates of election were filed with the California Secretary of State, and then the record of affidavit was filed with the Ventura County Clerk. It is known for being entirely a planned community, as the city is one of few that have actually stayed with the master plan. As a result, the city has fewer of the problems of other cities of similar size, such as traffic congestion and pollution, although increased development in Moorpark and Simi Valley in the late 1990s and early 2000s caused the Moorpark Freeway to become heavily congested during both morning and afternoon rush hours. A major widening project began in 2008 to alleviate most of this congestion. Because of its desirable environment and location, property values have appreciated more than 250% in less than ten years, primarily during the mid-90s to early 2000s.
Information source: Wikipedia