Regularly ranked among the top places in the nation to live and work; and named after the many oak trees found throughout the community and surrounding areas (for which estimates state still number over 2,000); Thousand Oaks is an incorporated city situated generally within southeastern Ventura County.
It (often referred to by its residents by the shorter “T.O.”) makes up the largest part of the Conejo Valley; which, not surprisingly, means that it is also its most populous. Included in its city limits is most of Newbury Park, as well as a large portion of the Westlake/ Westlake Village area not within the boundary lines of the incorporated city of Westlake Village.
Thousand Oaks lies in the heart of the Conejo Valley, with the city of Los Angeles to the east and the city of Ventura to the west. The city is reached by auto by State Highway 101 (also known as the Ventura Freeway), as well as State Highway 23. The 23 interconnects with the 101 near central Thousand Oaks, and runs north to both Moorpark and Simi Valley (becoming State Highway 118 in the process).
Known in part for being a largely master planned city/community, as well as being one of the safest cities its size in the nation year after year, Thousand Oaks was incorporated on September 29, 1964.
The city; and indeed the entire Conejo Valley; also features a surprisingly wide and divergent range of both new, startup, and long-time existing companies and industries; which act as another strong draw for both businesses (employers) and employees to staff these companies. Included are electronics, Internet, biotechnology, telecommunications, automotive, healthcare, computers/computing, aerospace, financing, and retail.
As can readily be seen from the thousands of years old cave drawings at the Chumash Interpretive Center in the Lang Ranch section of the city, the Thousand Oaks/ Conejo Valley area was once occupied by the Oak Grove people; some 3,000 years later to be joined (or replaced; what became of the Oak Grove is uncertain) by Indian tribes called the Chumash.
The area's recorded history dates back to 1542 when Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed and placed his flag at Point Mugu on the coast, and claiming all the land from San Diego to Point Conception for the King of Spain. Thereafter, this region remained undisturbed by explorers and others for about 250 years. In the 1800’s, a Spanish governor granted 48,000+ acres of land to two loyal soldiers; one of whom named his ranch Rancho El Conejo; thus becoming the basis of the name Conejo Valley (conejo means "rabbit" in Spanish, of which there are likely some 10’s of thousands living today throughout the area). For the next half century, it served as cattle grazing land for vaqueros.
In the late 1800’s, the valley was parceled into ranchos. Early pioneers opened a post office, and; because the well-traveled stagecoach route between Los Angeles and established cities like San Francisco and Santa Barbara passed directly through the Conejo Valley; the Stagecoach Inn (which is now a California Historical Landmark and popular museum) was built in 1876. The Inn was a welcome stopover and respite for the many weary travelers who had to endure many hours and days in often hot, dusty, and bumpy stagecoaches as they traversed the dirt roads (such as they were) between northern and southern California.
The Janss family (namesake of the Janss Mall, Janss Road, etc), active developers of other southern California areas including Westwood in Los Angeles County, purchased some 10,000 acres of Conejo farmland in the early 1900s. Field crops; chicken, hog, and dairy farms; and orchards filled most of the landscape when the first local paved highway finally made it possible for people in early automobiles to easily travel from Los Angeles to see the beautiful countryside of the Conejo Valley and environs.
Jungleland (know as Goebel’s Lion Farm from its opening and during its early years), which was located at the current site of the City Hall/Civic Arts Plaza, has in retrospect been classified by many as one of Southern California's first theme parks. Wild animal shows entertained thousands in the 1940s and 50s. Many TV and movie productions made use of the park's trained animals and were filmed there, including Birth of a Nation, Tarzan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.
By the early 1960’s, thanks in no small part to the wise development and insightful stewardship of the Janss family and corporation; there were two shopping centers, an industrial area/park, schools, churches, a four-year college (originally California Lutheran College [CLC]; today California Lutheran University [CLU], parks, and open space for all to enjoy.
Incorporation Date: October 7, 1964
Size (square miles): 57.24
Origin of Name: The name, presumably for the area’s oak trees, first appeared on a tract map in 1923.
Type of Government: General law; city manager, council/mayor.
ZIP Codes: 91319, 91320, 91358, 91359, 91360, 91361, 91362.
Official Flower: Conejo Buckwheat.
Official Tree: Native oak, valley oak, and coast live oaks.
Elevation (at City Hall): 759 feet.
Average Annual Rainfall: 15.5 inches.
Average Annual High Temperature: 76 degrees.
Average Annual low Temperature: 49 degrees.
City Hall Information:
Address: 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Phone Number: 1-805-449-2100
Web site: www.toaks.org
Chamber of Commerce:
Area: Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park
Address: 600 Hampshire Road, Suite 200, Westlake Village, CA 91361
Phone Number: 1-805-370-0035
Web site: www.towlvchamber.org
Publications: Industry guide, newsletter, membership directory.