From the category archives:

Editorial

Calendar of Events

by bret on January 8, 2015

January

“The Art of Clay White”

Date: January 10 though February 4

Time: 12 noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday

Location: Ojai Art Center,

113 South Montgomery Street

Contact: 646-0117

www.ojaiartcenter.org

“Moscow Nights & The Golden Gate Dancers”

Date: January 10
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Matilija Auditorium,

703 El Paseo Road
Contact: 646-8907

www.ptgo.org

“The Balance of Nature and Psyche — Why we need wild spaces to help us find our own niche – Part l Discussion”

Date: January  15

Time: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Contact: 649-6852

www.ovgc.org

“The Balance of Nature and Psyche — Why we need wild spaces to help us find our own niche – Part II Hike”

Date: January 16
Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Ventura River Preserve Riverview Trailhead
Contact: 649-6852
www.ovlc.org

“Foibles, Fables and Other Imaskinations”

Date: January 17
Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Ojai Art Center,

113 North Montgomery Street
Contact:646-8907

www.ptgo.org

“Fine Portraiture, Fine People”

Date: January 17 to March 29

Time: Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Location: Ojai Valley Museum,

130 West Ojai Avenue

Contact: 640-1390
www.ojaivalleymuseum.org

Broadway Choral Concert
Date: January 25

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Nordhoff High School,

1401 Maricopa Highway

Contact: 640-4343, ext. 1861

www.nhsmusic.com

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Date: January 30 through February 22

Time: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

Location: Ojai Art Center,

113 South Montgomery Street

Contact: 640-8797

www.ojaiartcenter.org

February

“Encaustics”

Date: February 7 though March 4

Time: 12 to 4 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday

Location: Ojai Art Center,

113 South Montgomery Street

Contact: 646-0117

www.ojaiartcenter.org

“Ojai’s Got Talent”

Date: February 6

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Matilija Auditorium,
703 El Paseo Road

Contact: 640-4343 ext. 1861

www.nhsmusic.com

“The History of the Chumash” with Julie Tumamait

Date: February 7

Time: TBA

Location: Ojai Land Conservancy Office,

370 Baldwin Road

Contact: 649-6852

www.ovlc.org

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This story, written by Patricia Clark Doerner, is perhaps the most deeply thought and researched single article about Ojai’s past and present. It will be the lead article in the premiere issue of The Ojai Magazine, coming out June 1.

SHANGRI-LA

A Matter of Preservation and Progress

Long before James Hilton published Lost Horizon (1933) and Frank Capra produced his film on the same subject (1937), The Ojai, that mystical harmonious valley enclosed by majestic mountains and fed by tumbling streams, was regarded as Shangri-la by those in search of wealth, health, spirituality or any mixture of the three.   And therein lies the problem:  what constitutes an earthly paradise for some demands stasis; for others, forward movement — which always involves friction.

Consider the earliest days of The Ojai and its Garden of Eden reputation.  Why wouldn’t residents and health seekers alike wish to preserve an atmosphere that guaranteed relative immortality in a world being decimated by phthisis, wasting disease, graveyard cough, acute, galloping, or military consumption?  In the 1800s and early 1900s, fully one-fifth of the world’s population was dying of what we today identify as tuberculosis.  Theories for medical cures abounded.  All were unpalatable; none were effective, and some were deadly: arsenic, atropine, strychnine, calcium, gold, mercury, colloidal preparations of silver, copper, aluminum and silver, boa constrictor excreta, blistering, fresh blood (hopefully but not always from animals), pig-spleen extracts as well as an inhalation of the breath of healthy animals or the effluvium of maggoty meat.

By the early 1900s, antiseptic or hot air inhalations emptied as many hospital wards as death itself as patients fled from the painful treatment.  The in-hospital cure rate: a meager and likely inflated three to five per cent.

The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 brought brilliantly colored posters trumpeting “Go West and Breath Again.”  New York Evening Post editor Charles Nordhoff’s California for Health Pleasure and Residence (1873) not only brought throngs seeking all three to the country’s 31st and most romanticized state, but also gave its [the] name of the [its] author to the village on the valley floor in 1874.  By the 1890s, The Ojai set its claim into print with its masthead: “For the Good of Mankind, by Telling of the Greatest Sanitarium for Throat and Lung Troubles in the Known World — The Famous Ojai Valley.”

Alice B. Chase, of Lynn, Massachusetts, was afflicted with a lung weakness that brought her and her unmarried daughter, Alice P. Chase, to The Ojai for the first time in January of 1904.  The winters of Lynn, located 10 miles northeast of Boston, were dreary — snowfall was excessive, the cold, piercing.  In 1912, Mrs. Chase was to recall that first trip, when writing to Alice Barnett Clark, married to Ojai stagecoach driver Bob Clark, in 1905:

I well remember when we first saw Nordhoff and Bob gave us our first drive and picked so many flowers — and gave Miss Chase her first riding lesson (Cal. style).  By the time this reaches you, you ought to have some flowers for we came to Nordhoff on January 6th — I think — and the next day we found over 40 varieties of flowers and Bob was able to name them all.  Oh, it was so beautiful, and what is best the beauty comes back again every year. (1/01/1912) [click to continue…]

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