Archive for the ‘Southern California Desert’ Category

The California Channel Islands

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Anacapa Lighthouse

Anacapa Lighthouse

There are eight channel islands off the coast of California.

Two of the islands, San Clemente and San Nicolas belong to the Navy.

Five of the islands, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara are part of the Channel Islands National Park.

The final island, Santa Catalina, is a resort island with two towns.

Santa Rosa island is now in the process of becoming a military resort island.

Island History

The northern islands were inhabited by the Chumash Indians and the southern islands were inhabited by the Tongva Indians for 13,000 years. The Indians were removed in the early 1800’s and taken to missions on the mainland.

Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa island was used as the Vail-Vickers ranch from the 1800’s for about a hundred years. Until 2011 the ranch still has private elk hunts in the late summer and early fall.

San Nicolas

San Nicolas island has the legend of the lone woman. The Indians were removed in 1835 but one woman Jauna Maria was left behind. She lived all alone on the island for 18 years. She was found in 1853 by Captain George Nidever and brought to Santa Barbara. She died seven weeks later because her body was not accustomed to the food and climate of central California.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz island is mountainous with a central valley. It was originally given to Andreas Castillero as a Mexican land grant in 1839. Castillero turned the island into a sheep ranch. In 1857 the island was sold to William Barron. Barron sold the island in 1869 to the Santa Cruz Island Company.

Justinian Caire bought the other nine members shares of the Santa Cruz Land Company and became the new owner by 1880.

Caire built up the island. He built ranch houses, bunk houses, a winery, a chapel a blacksmith shop, and a saddle shop. He had a 60 foot schooner built in 1893. He planted olive, pear, fig, orange, apple, lemon, and peach trees. He planted 5 types of grapes and soon had a thriving vineyard. Caire died in 1897 and the island went to his wife who divided it up among her children. The children fought over the land and it was divided into 7 parcels. The Caire daughters Amelie and Aglae received parcels 6 and 7 which were the eastern end of the island. The other 5 parcels were part of the Santa Cruz land company. The Santa Cruz land company was purchased by Edwin Stanton in 1937. His son Carey went to Stanford and became a doctor. He returned to the island in 1957. Edwin died in 1963 and Carey inherited the Santa Cruz land company. Carey established a nature conservancy to own the land when he died. Carey also established the Santa Cruz island foundation in 1985 to protect the historical buildings and possessions on the island. Dr Stanton died in 1987.

The US government purchased the Caire shares for the Channel Island National Park in 1997. The nature conservancy owns the rest of the island.

Today the Channel Island National park has camping and day use trips on the channel islands. It is a great adventure and a great way to enjoy the channel islands.

The Product Gallery

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s story. Before you go please be sure and check out our list of products on the right under our blogroll. Just click on any of the links that interest you and you will travel to that products website. Everyone have a safe and productive week and we will see you next week with a new adventure.