Looking Back at 1971
Mayor and Mrs. Fred Bryce
It’s traditional that as a year draws to a close to look back on the previous twelve months. Fifty years ago in December people in Fillmore did just that. So what happened in 1971?
The first baby of the year was Cheryl Lynn Horn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Horn.
Fred Bryce, a local CPA and captain of the Police Auxiliary, was serving as Mayor.
Interior of Shirley's Dress Shop after the 1971 Sylmar Quake
At 6 am on February 9th, Fillmore was awakened by an earthquake. The 6.5 Sylmar Quake was centered almost 27 miles from our town, but it caused damage especially to the east side of the business district on Central Avenue. A portion of the wall on what was then Briggs Hardware collapsed damaging not only that building but also Shirley’s Dress Shop next door. Repairs were made, but the upper floor of Briggs Hardware was never replaced.
In October, fires threatened. A brush fire on Goodenough Road threatened several homes and prompted evacuations. At the same time, two human caused fires erupted on Guiberson Road, stretching fire personnel thin.
Fillmore Chamber of Commerce Eiffel Tower of Citrus at the Ventura County Fair
Also in October, the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce entry at the Ventura County Fair was an Eiffel Tower made with oranges (similar to one done 50 years before) and won the President’s Award.
Church of Religious Science
The 1970 census counted the residents of Fillmore at 6,285, less than half of today’s population. Like today, Fillmore was undergoing a building boom with housing tracts being added throughout the town. Additionally, a motel was built as well as a “new” Safeway store (now Super A). The former Fillmore Theater underwent renovations and became the Town Theatre. On River Street, the Church of Religious Science, headed by Mildred Hinckley was opened.
'Fillmore's "new" Safeway Store opened in 1971
Africa USA was opened to the public mid-year, only to have its owner declare bankruptcy in December. The facility was taken over by Resorts International and continued to operate.
At the High School, the basketball team had a 20-7 season. Debbie Dieter won the Lions Club Speech contest. Jose Gaitan was Senior Class President. 137 students graduated (up from 19 in 1921, fifty years before). Evangelyn Schiller was Valedictorian and Tim Gurrola was Salutatorian. There were 500 people in attendance at the Alumni dinner in June, 1971.
Perhaps the biggest story of the year were the plans for the “Sespe Museum” created at the request pf the Chamber of Commerce. Edith Moore Jarrett would be the first curator with Dorothy Haase as assistant curator. It would be located on the ground floor of the Masonic Building and would open in 1972. This was the beginning of the Fillmore Historical Museum which will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary next year. Plan on joining us in the celebration.
Africa USA Entry in May Festival Parade