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Heritage Square, Downtown Oxnard

Ventura, California, USA


Heritage Square is an area that was created in 1991 where Victorian homes from all over the Oxnard plain that had been saved from demolition were brought to be treasured. Fifteen buildings were brought. The square is a very pretty paved area with palms and landscaping, and the gorgeous homes face into it. It cost $10 million to bring the homes here. One of the homes had to be cut in half to be transported!
On Friday nights during the summer they hold outdoor concerts here. It's a wonderful way to spend an evening.
At Christmastime around the second weekend in December, you can take a tour of the homes, and hear about their history. I was lucky to have the chance to do this! The homes and square are splendidly decked out in Christmas decorations. There's the Perkins home, which has very special woodwork on the outside, near the front door. The architect was from Denmark and made the woodwork in Danish traditional style. There are many gables, as the house is in Queen Anne Victorian style. Notice the "eyebrow" window at the front, that lets light into the attic. The Perkins were from Ohio and to get to sunny California, they traveled by boat, around the south of America, crossing over the Panama isthmus by land, and then by boat again. They were adventurous! Mr Perkins was the president of Union Oil Company.
The Fry house is lovely with its tower topped by a "witch's cap," and its regal Classical porch columns. The Fry's were also from Ohio, and not knowing that California is not always that warm, they had their house built without a fireplace! They soon had to have one added! On the tour, the local high school choir sang a sumptuous harmony for us decked out in red dresses and standing along the winding wooden staircase. It was very romantic!
The Scarlett house was originally on a 700-acre ranch. Irishman John Scarlett and his Australian wife, Anna Lester, raised their five children here. The house represents the transition from Queen Anne to Colonial Revival style, with its distinctive front window, and columns adorned with raised floral motifs at the top. The ceilings felt much lower than in the Queen Anne victorian homes.
The McGrath house where La Dolce Vita Restaurant and Pub is now located was owned by a quirky French woman. She donated the altar for the wonderful Santa Clara Church on 2nd and E Street nearby. Her brother, who lived next door in the marvelous large green house to the right of hers, donated the side altars for the church. La Dolce Vita's bar has comedy night for $5 every Wednesday, karaoke every Thursday, and live music every Friday!
The elegant Justin Petit house is now home to the local theater company.
The Church you see in the square is called Heritage Square Hall and has stained glass from Copenhagen. When I was there, a man was showing his collection of music boxes from the turn of the century. What a treat!
If your kids need a playground to run around and climb nearby, you can drive to a large, pleasant neighborhood playground on 7th Street, on the west side of Hobson Way, called Community Center Park West.
While you're in Downtown Oxnard, don't miss out on Centennial Plaza and Plaza Park and nearby exquisite Santa Clara Church.
While you're in Oxnard, check out pretty Oxnard Beach, where your kids will have fun playing on the sand dunes. Also nice in that area is Peninsula Park, where kids can watch the boats in the harbor go by and toddlers will love the playground. Channel Islands Harbor has some fun activities on holidays.
A really nice outing is Port Hueneme Pier, with its white sandy beach and its interesting history.

Photo Gallery

The square, where concerts are held on Friday nights in Summer!

The Perkins house, owned at the turn of the century by the president of the Union Oil company. Notice all the wonderful gables!

The Danish woodwork on the front door of the Perkins house. Whoever put that nail in it is sooooo busted!

Heritage Square Hall, formerly a church.

The fancy window on the Scarlett house!

The Fry house, with its witch's cap turret!

The McGrath house, now La Dolce Vita Restaurant and Bar.


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200 W. 7th Street, Oxnard CA 93030.
Exit the 101 Freeway northbound at Oxnard, turn left at Vineyard Ave, bear left at Oxnard Blvd, turn right at 7th Street.
Exit the 101 Freeway southbound at the 1 Freeway. Go straight along Oxnard Blvd, and turn right on 7th Street.
La Dolce Vita Restaurant, 740 South B Street, Oxnard, CA 93030, call (805) 486-6878.
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