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Fillmore Museum and Historical Park

As you stroll about the Fillmore Historical Museum and Park you will find historical buildings with treasures from the early days in the Santa Clara Valley

Rancho Sespe Bunkhouse #2

The Bunkhouse was built in 1919 at the headquarters of Rancho Sespe, approximately 4 miles west of Fillmore. It was one of 3 buildings used to house single workers. This bunkhouse served as a dormitory. It had 28 rooms. Each room was approx. 7 ft. by 13 ft.


The Hull/Spalding family owned Rancho Sespe from 1895 until 1961. The ranch was deeded to the California Institute of Technology and later sold multiple times. The large ranch was divided into 40 acre parcels and sold off. The James P. Finch family bought the headquarters parcel and donated the Bunk House #2 to the Fillmore Historical Museum. It was moved in the middle of the night along Highway 126 from Rancho Sespe to Fillmore.

The bunkhouse contains the museum office and gift shop, vintage clothing exhibit; Native American artifacts display room; the 'School Room" which includes doll and toy displays besides photos of early area schools; a Pioneer Family exhibit; vintage cameras; Music in the Valley, how it was made and enjoyed from 1900 to the present; how Fillmore has dealt with natural and man-made disasters; movies and TV shows that were filmed in the area; and a room that holds the history of the Fillmore Insectary.

Southern Pacific Depot

Prior to the arrival of the railroad in 1887 there was no Fillmore, just a few farmers and cattle and sheep operations. 

The arrival of the railroad encouraged the influx of immigrants most especially from the Midwestern states such as Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.  There were also large numbers of immigrants to the area from Germany.

In the beginning the Southern Pacific left just a boxcar to serve as a depot and office.  But by the end of 1887 the depot had been constructed.  Materials for the depot arrived on a flatbed rail car as flat panels which could be assembled into a variety of configurations.  Our Fillmore depot is the smallest of the sizes.  Santa Paula depot is a little larger and has an apartment for the station agent over the east end of the building.  At first the depot was just the upper warehouse   area and small office  but by 1911 the company had added a waiting room, ticket window, rest rooms and telephone.

A ticket to Los Angeles  in 1911 cost  $1.70.  To San Francisco $12.45

Ira and Kate Hinckley House

The Hinckley House was built in 1905 and later owned by Fillmore’s first dentist, Dr. Ira Hinckley and his wife Catherine, "Kate". It was originally located at First and Fillmore Street, but when the house was going to be demolished following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the house was given to the Fillmore Historical Museum and moved down Fillmore Street and onto the present site. The house consists of a living room, dining room, bedroom, and kitchen as well as Dr. Ira Hinckley’s dental office. The bathroom originally was located outside. A lean-to was added at a later date to house the more modern bathroom, but it didn’t survive the earthquake. Very few of the items displayed in the house actually belonged to the Hinckley family, but all were donated by many local families. 


Ira Hinckley’s father, Dr. J. P. Hinckley, was Fillmore’s first medical doctor and Ira’s son was a well-known artist, Lawrence Hinckley. Lawrence also had a ceramics studio that employed several local women. Green ware was hand painted, fired in a kiln and shipped all over the country. Much of the art work in the house was also done by Lawrence Hinckley.

The Bardsdale Post Office

Prior to 1887, Royce Surdam and Thomas Bard were developing the property south of the Santa Clara River.  The city plat was approved by the County Board of Supervisors and Surdam was advertising the lots for sale.  The development included lots for a church, school, college, stores and, of course, a post office.  Royce Surdam, the first postmaster, was appointed in May, 1887.  However, by then, the Southern Pacific Railroad had laid track on the north side of the river.  Surdam would come to the depot, pick up the mail sack and return to Bardsdale.  Often he would have to return with mail for the few residents in Fillmore in his coat pocket.   This little building may have been built by William Dorman sometime between 1887 and 1897 and, according to Harold Dorman, his son, was located somewhere between the Bardsdale church and Owen St.  It certainly was ready for business when Mr. Dorman was appointed postmaster in December 1897.  According to Agnes Harris, the interior was very cozy on a winter day with heat from a wood stove and a large stovepipe.  She also recalled that there was neither desk nor any cubicles.  Mail was instead stacked neatly on a table and given out from there.  The building remained in use until 1906 when it was discontinued.  Over the years it was moved several times and served as a storage shed, wood shed, garage, and chicken coop finally ending up on the corner of Bardsdale and Sespe Avenues. In 1988, the little post office was opened to the public on the grounds of the Fillmore Historical Museum due to the efforts of Harold Dorman.


Model A Pick Up

The Model A pickup was restored by Fillmore Union High School students and competed the 2002 History Channel Great Race from Atlanta, Georgia to Anaheim, California.

It is regularly driven in Fillmore parades.

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Cotton Belt SSW 63 Caboose

This 1968 Cotton Belt caboose built by the International Car Company. It is fully-equipped and furnished as it would have been when it was a working caboose. Here you see the office area, heater, refrigerator, observation bay window with seating for the brakeman or conductor. The caboose was originally owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad.

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