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Fillmore Historical Museum

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This is a contributing entry for Fillmore Historical Museum and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The Bunkhouse was built in 1919 based on a design by the Pasadena firm of Greene and Greene. It was one of 3 buildings which served as dormitories for ranch workers. It had 14 rooms, each approximately 7 ft. by 13 ft. The Hull/Spalding family owned Rancho Sespe from 1895 until 1961. The ranch was then deeded to the California Institute of Technology and later sold multiple times. The large ranch was finally divided into 40 acre parcels and sold off. The James P. Finch family bought the headquarters parcel and donated Bunkhouse #2 to the Fillmore Historical Museum. It was moved in the middle of the night along Highway 126 approximately 3 miles from Rancho Sespe to Fillmore. The bunkhouse contains displays of clothing and accessories, local school history, Native American artifacts, the history of the Fillmore insectary and general displays of the history of our area. The walls are covered with some or our extensive vintage photographs. You will also find the museum office and gift shop and the Ynez Haase Library which is available to researchers by appointment.


1919 Rancho Sespe Bunkhouse

1919 Rancho Sespe Bunkhouse

Entry Hall

Picture frame, Art, Building, Wood

Dress Room

Dress Room

Exhibits in the dress room include "beauty" aids such as the hair curling machine shown in the corner

Exhibits in the dress room include "beauty" aids such as the hair curling machine shown in the corner

The Dress Room features the 1902 Regina Music box which once played in the Star Vaudeville Theater

The Dress Room features the 1902 Regina Music box which once played in the Star Vaudeville Theater

Exhibit of the ranching activities at Rancho Sespe during its 1920s heyday

Exhibit of the ranching activities at Rancho Sespe during its 1920s heyday

Exhibit of early local schools and classes

Exhibit of early local schools and classes

School Room

Picture frame, Property, Lighting, Interior design

Doll Display, School Room

Doll Display, School Room

Native American artifact and geological exhibit

Native American artifact and geological exhibit

Native American pestles and mortars found in the local area

Native American pestles and mortars found in the local area

Metate and Pestle

Metate and Pestle

Condor Exhibit

Condor Exhibit

Fillmore's World War II Veterans

Fillmore's World War II Veterans

Disaster Exhibit

Ecoregion, Nature, Architecture, Font

Fillmore Insectary Exhibit

Fillmore Insectary Exhibit

Pioneer Exhibit

Building, Rectangle, Font, Gas

Pioneer Exhibit

Property, Building, Interior design, Shelving

Upstairs Main Exhibit Room - Salute to Those Who Served

Military uniform, Sleeve, Fashion design, Window

Upstairs Main Exhibit Room - Music in the Valley

Building, Shelving, Picture frame, Wood

Upstairs Main Exhibit Room - Vintage Camera Display

Audio equipment, Gadget, Table, Cameras & optics

Fillmore Unified High School Room

Fillmore Unified High School Room

El Camino Real - the book behind the Museum

El Camino Real - the book behind the Museum

Coming Soon To A Theater You: Santa Clara Valley in The Movies

Wheel, Tire, Vehicle, Motor vehicle

Picture frame, Font, Event, Art

The Rancho Sespe Bunkhouse contains the core of the Museum's exhibits. Everything on display has been donated to the Museum by local residents. Each of the smaller rooms would have been one ranch workers living quarters. There was a separate dining hall and bath house. A few of the rooms have been combined to allow for better display of our collection.

In the dress room you will see clothing and accessories which span the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. Some items of particular note include early 20th century bathing costumes and a display of vintage purses. You will also find a Regina Music box from 1902 which originally graced the Star Vaudeville Theater in Fillmore. It plays 27” metal disks. 

The early history of Rancho Sespe is reflected in the story of T. Wallace More who bought the Rancho from Don Carlos Antonio Carrillo’s heirs. In a dispute over land ownership and water rights, More was murdered. Morton Hull purchased a major portion of the Rancho from one of More’s heirs and this eventually was owned by his daughter, Eudora Hull Spalding. The “Rancho Sespe” room gives a glimpse into the workings of Rancho Sespe when it was owned by Eudora Hull Spalding. The Ranch concentrated on citrus and cattle during this period

Education was of great importance to the settlers in the Santa Clara River Valley. Grammar schools were built throughout the area including Bardsdale, Sespe, Willow Grove and Buckhorn, to name just a few. The School Room provides a glimpse into these school and some of the students who attended them. Children’s toys and games including stereopticons are also on display.

Exhibits of Native American baskets, stone tools and arrowheads can also be seen. Many of the stone tools were found by local ranchers as they plowed their fields.

A display telling of the resurgence of the California condor can also be seen. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary is only a few miles from the Museum in Hopper Canyon.

Also on the main floor of the Bunkhouse is the Ynez Haase Library which is available to researchers by appointment. Ynez was a Fillmore native, writer and cartographer who was instrumental in the development of the Museum.

On the second floor of the Museum are a variety of of exhibits. The Pioneer Room features photographs of early settlers of our area as well as a video which includes background on the families who settled our area. Displays tell the story of early agriculture in the Valley as well as Sespe Brownstone and the development of the oil industry.

In the large exhibit room, visitors will see displays on the importance of hunting to the survival of early settlers. Additional displays tell the story of Fillmore's involvement in both World Wars and the local police and fire departments. The south end of the room includes displays on early entertainment such as the Fillmore Citrus Association Mexican Band and locally written music. Early radios, television and vintage cameras are on display. A working Edison Cylinder player and table top Victrola can be heard.

The Fillmore Protective District was organized in 1922 to assist in the eradication of red scale which was threatening the area’s citrus crop. Four years later it built an insectary for the purpose of raising wasps to control mealy bug. The insectary continued until 2004 developing a worldwide reputation for development of beneficial insects to control pest. A room is dedicated to the history and successes of the insectary.

Of interest to the locals is the High School room with photos, memorabilia and Copa de Ora yearbooks from 1913 through to the present. Alumni and their children can page through the books recalling memories from the past.

Also on display are several volumes of ­El Camino Real, a text book written by Edith Moore Jarrett, the founder of the Fillmore Historical Museum. 

The upstairs hallway features a look at this history of the oil industry and Fillmore Refinery. Fillmore's history as a location for movie filming since the early days of Hollywood is also featured. Finally, the natural and man-made catastrophes which have impacted the area and shaped its character are shown.

https://www.fillmorehistoricalmuseum.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancho_Sespe

Outland, Charles. SESPE GUNSMOKE: An Epic Case of Rancher Versus Squatters. Ventura, CA. Ventura County Museum of History & Art , 1991.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Society

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum

Fillmore Historical Museum