Many people regularly visit Foster Park for camping, hiking and picnics along the Ventura River. However, the nearby town of Foster Park was bulldozed and replaced by Highway 33 in the mid-1960’s.
The roots of recreational Foster Park itself go back to the early 1900’s. The adjacent town of Foster Park came to life in the 1920’s.
Gwen Alferes, author of the book, Forgotten Foster Park, speaks with Our Ventura TV host, George Alger, about the former Foster Park community and the people who were displaced in the mid-1960’s by the development of California Highway 33.
There are still some visible remnants of the small, rural community, including what’s left of the cement foundations of a gas station, its gas pumps, a garage, and also the back wall of a cafe that includes some “caves” within a retaining wall.
Nowadays the corner of Casitas Vista Road and Ventura Avenue and the area under the Highway 33 overpass serve as an unpaved vehicle parking location for bicyclists and pedestrians who then embark upon the Ojai Valley Trail (former Ventura-to-Ojai railway), which goes through Foster Park.
But the broader area around that intersection was a home to some 200 people who lived in this town with its own small business district and active night life that included performers such as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buck Owens and the Everly Brothers.
The town of Foster Park sprang up in the 1920s as part of Ventura’s oil boom. The town was named after Foster Memorial Park, which was presented to Ventura County in 1907 by Eugene P. and Orphia Foster, in memory of their son Eugene C. Foster.
In this interview, author Alferes discusses some of the history of the town and its people. There are also “before and after comparisons” between old Foster Park and the modern Highway 33.
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