History of Lompoc

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The first settlers in the Lompoc Valley were the Chumash Indians. The Chumash and their predecessors lived in the Lompoc Valley for nearly 10,000 years prior to European contact. The establishment of La Purisima Mission in 1787 marked the earliest European settlement in the Lompoc Valley. The original mission, located at what is now the foot of F Street in downtown Lompoc, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. Remnants of the mission can be seen at this site which has been preserved as a State Historical Landmark. The mission was rebuilt over several years beginning in 1813 at its current location on the north side of the Valley. The Mission, the most authentically restored in the mission system, is now a State park.

The Lompoc Land Company was formed and incorporated in August of 1874 for the purpose of purchasing almost 43,000 acres to establish a temperance colony. The City of Lompoc was incorporated on August 13, 1888. A number of wharves were constructed during this period serving as shipping points for incoming supplies and outgoing agricultural produce until the turn of the century when the railroad replaced shipping as the primary means of commercial transportation.

The completion of the coastal railroad between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1901, and the subsequent extension of a spur into Lompoc, provided the impetus for growth in the Valley. Fields were cleared and leveled for agricultural production of specialized crops including flower seeds. The flower seed industry so dominated agricultural production that the area was dubbed the "Valley of Flowers." The Johns-Manville Corporation and others began the mining of diatomaceous earth in the southern hills. The mining industry continues to be a major employer.

In 1941, Camp Cooke was established as an Army training base which was renamed Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1958. The Base was the first missile base of the United States Air Force. The Space Shuttle program was slated to begin launches in the late 1980's. However, when the Challenger exploded during take-off in 1986, the West Coast Shuttle Program was terminated, leaving Lompoc in a severe recession.

The Lompoc Valley responded to the Shuttle disaster by focusing on tourism as a means of fighting its way through the recession. By focusing on the natural beauty of the Valley, its flower industry, the pristine Central Coast, and by developing a successful downtown mural program, the City of Lompoc has built an excellent tourism industry that is to this day a primary component of the Lompoc economy. Today, the City of Lompoc is dubbed "The City of Arts and Flowers."

Historical Photos

Around Town #1

Around Town #2

School History

Surf Beach

Fire Department

Lompoc Airport

Mission LA Purisima

Model-T Club
Honda Point Tragedy

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