Fillmore is a small city in Ventura County, California, United States, in the Santa Clara River Valley. In an agricultural area with rich, fertile soil, Fillmore has a historic downtown that was established when the Southern Pacific built the railroad through the valley in 1887.
The rail line also provided a name for the town: J. A. Fillmore was a general superintendent for the company’s Pacific system. The population was 15,002 at the 2010 census, up from 13,643 at the 2000 census.
In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition, first Europeans to see inland areas of California, came down the valley from the previous night’s encampment near today’s Rancho Camulos and camped in the vicinity of Fillmore on August 11. Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary travelling with the expedition, had previously named the valley Cañada de Santa Clara. He noted that the party travelled about 9–10 miles and camped near a large native village.
Founded in 1887 upon the arrival of the Southern Pacific Rail line, the city voted to incorporate in 1914, after a vigorous campaign by local business owners and the Fillmore Herald.
In 1985, the city council voted to make English the city’s official language. The resolution was repealed in 1999.
At about 4:30am the morning of January 17, 1994, Fillmore sustained significant damage from the Northridge earthquake. It was the worst-hit community in Ventura County. No one in the community died or was injured, but over 200 buildings were damaged, including about one-fifth of the historical downtown that had been the center of numerous Hollywood films and TV shows. The quake caused an estimated $50 million in property damage and losses. Ultimately, 60 buildings needed to be torn down, and Fillmore rebuilt most of its downtown area.