Fillmore was founded in 1888 by Jerome A. Fillmore, General Superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad. On August 1, 1888, a street map of the town of Fillmore was recorded in the Ventura County Courthouse. By 1900 Fillmore had a population of 150. The first schoolhouse was built in 1874. It was 20 by 30 feet (6.1 by 9.1 meters) with three windows on each side. The first graduating class of Fillmore High School was in 1911 with four students. 1889 saw the first commercial orange grove planted in Fillmore. During the “orange rush” of 1897, the Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association was formed and would eventually become Sunkist Growers. Fillmore’s first orange packing house was built at the corner of Sespe Avenue and A Street, on property purchased for $50 (sources: Fillmore Chamber of Commerce and Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau).
Fillmore still has a kind of small-town atmosphere which is becoming increasingly rare in suburbanized Ventura County. The farms of nearby Bardsdale, as well as the town's relatively remote location away from the sprawl of the West and South parts of the County, have helped preserved this atmosphere.
Early days in Fillmore. Center photo is the
founder of the town Jerome A. Fillmare
Fillmore's city hall today