About The Friends of Old Oxnard (aka the FOO's)
The Friends of Old Oxnard grew out of planning of the first Autumn Historic Home Tour in 1996. The group that puts on the tour is all volunteer based.
It all started during a casual chat at a function at the Carnegie Art Museum. “F” Street resident, Linda Bacin commented to Carnegie Art Museum Director, Suzanne Bellah, that it would be nice to start a home tour in Oxnard. The Wilson Neighborhood area was showing its age with some homeowners turning houses into rental units and not caring for the homes as well as they should, and it was thought that a home tour would bring people in to see how nice the neighborhood had been and could be again. Suzanne Bellah suggested that Linda talk to Carnegie staff person Cindy Naboa about the home tour concept, and the two women decided to go for it - undaunted by the fact that Linda had never even been on a home tour.
Linda Bacin and her husband Mark had just finished restoring their house (461 South “F” Street), so the home was one of five featured on the first tour. The tour was organized as a fundraiser for the Ventura County Maritime Museum and the Carnegie Art Museum to utilize their staff support. Linda calls it a “real learning experience.” Despite a lack of advertisement, about 290 people viewed the vintage Oxnard homes on display.
In the second year Linda, along with her husband Mark and neighbor Gary Blum, handled the tour, with Linda at the helm. That year, the number of attendees doubled to about 580. With experience behind them and the acquisition of sponsors, it was now on its way to becoming an annual event.
The second year our own resident artist June Lawrence became involved and has illustrated the homes for our tour program ever since. Docents from Heritage Square, the Ventura County Maritime Museum, Carnegie Art Museum and interested neighbors have guided the tours.
The Friends of Old Oxnard (FOO’s) organized after the first home tour. Joining Linda and Mark were Gary Blum, Rebecca and Al Barkley, Ray and Carolina Guillen, and Evelyn Bessel. They had all already worked as a team on the second tour and were working to make the area a Historic District. They started meeting once a week and coined the name “Friends of Old Oxnard.” The FOO’s members handled guiding people through the second home tour. They continued with the tours, with attendance fluctuating between 400 and 600 people each year.
Two years later Roseanne and Ben Moss joined the group and Nicole and Steve Doner joined a couple of months after that. In 1997 the group decided to pursue National Register status for a ten block area; they researched the homes in detail, took photographs, and updated the 1981 historic resource surveys of 144 properties. “Everyone had input,” Linda says. “It was a team effort.”
The FOO’s submitted the final application for National Register status to the National Park Service (keeper of the National Register) and the State Historic Preservation office. The Henry T. Oxnard National Historic District was designated in 1998 and subsequently added to the California Register of Historic Places.
This illustrates that people can make a difference in their neighborhoods. The Historic District is one of Oxnard’s shining stars. It happened because people wanted to live in a neighborhood that was safe and where neighbors care about each other. It is truly remarkable that the home tour is still going strong and the neighborhood is one of the most desired areas to live in Oxnard.
The Friends of Old Oxnard currently conducts the Oxnard Autumn Historic Home Tour in conjunction with our parent non profit the Oxnard Heritage Foundation.
Volunteering for the Home Tour
The Oxnard Autumn Historic Home Tour
is always indebted to the numerous hard-working people that volunteer their
time and energy to making it a success.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please email our Volunteer Chair at email@example.com
Oxnard Autumn Home Tour founders Mark and Linda Bacin still volunteered even when they moved out of the area.