Lompoc, California is dubbed "The City of Arts and Flowers" and is also becoming known
for its local
wines after the movie Sideways was filmed in Lompoc (bowling alley scene), and
east of Lompoc in the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang and Buellton. In 2010, Playboy magazine
named Jasper's, a local Lompoc bar, as one of the top 10 dive bars in the country.
Lompoc is also known as "The Mural City" because of the many buildings decorated with murals. I had a fascinating time just walking around admiring the fantastic collection of wall murals. A fantastic hidden treasure! Cannot wait to get back to see other interesting things in the area.
Lompoc, a city in Santa Barbara County located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, California, was incorporated on August 13, 1888. The 2010 census sets Lompoc's population at 42,434.
Prior to the European settlements, the area around Lompoc was inhabited by the Chumash. The name of the city is derived from a Chumash word "Lum Poc" that means "stagnant waters" or "lagoon." The Spanish called it "lumpoco." In 1837, the Mexican government granted the land around Lompoc as the Rancho Lompoc land grant.
After the United States gained control of California in the Mexican-American War, the valley was acquired by Thomas Dibblee, Albert Dibblee and William Welles Hollister, the latter of whom sold his portion to the Lompoc Valley Land Company. It is from that portion that the present-day Lompoc was established as a temperance colony. The town was originally intended to be called New Vineland, modeled after the temperance colony in New Jersey. Lompoc then became a military town with the completion of nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base. The city is known as the flower seed capital of the world.
Prior to the Spanish conquest, the area around Lompoc was inhabited by the Chumash tribe. Mission La Purísima Concepción was established in 1787, near what is now the Southern edge of the city of Lompoc. During the mission period, the Chumash spoke the Purisimeño language. After an earthquake destroyed the mission in 1812, it was relocated to its present location 1 mile northeast of the present city. In 1821, Mexico became independent from Spain, and subsequently secularized the California missions in 1833. Mission La Purísima gradually fell into ruins.
In 1837, the Mexican government granted the land around Lompoc as the Rancho Lompoc land grant. The United States gained control of California in the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848. The valley was acquired by Thomas Dibblee, Albert Dibblee and William Welles Hollister, the latter of whom sold his portion in 1874 to the Lompoc Valley Land Company. It is from that portion that the present-day Lompoc was established as a temperance colony. The city was incorporated on August 13, 1888 and the town was originally intended to be called New Vineland, modeled after the temperance colony in New Jersey.
The coastal branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad replaced ship transportation around 1900.The Dicolite Mine was a large employer in the early 1900s. Its remnants can still be seen at the northeast end of town. In 1909, the Sybil Marston, at the time, the largest steam schooner built on the west coast sank nearby carrying 1,100,000 board feet of lumber.
Many of the older Lompoc homes are built with the strewn lumber from the shipwreck. Its remnants can still be seen south of Surf Beach. A paved road linked Lompoc to Buellton, and the rest of California, around 1920. In 1923, the Honda Point Disaster, the largest U.S. peacetime naval accident occurred just off the coast, in which nine U.S. destroyers ran aground, with the loss of 23 lives.
During the Great Depression, Mission La Purisima Concepcion was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The W.C. Fields movie The Bank Dick (1940), was set in Lompoc (although the name was mis-pronounced as Lom' poc). During World War II, the coast west of Lompoc was the site of Camp Cooke, a U.S. Army training camp where large units could practice maneuvers.
Lompoc grew slowly until 1958, when the U.S. Air Force announced that the former Camp Cooke would be a test site for the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile, and the first operational base for the Atlas intercontinental-range ballistic missile. Lompoc then began to grow rapidly to provide housing for thousands of civilian and contractor workers employed at what was soon named Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg Air Force Base was the first missile base of the United States Air Force. The Space Shuttle program was slated to begin launches in the late 1980s. The city experienced a boom in restaurant and hotel construction in the mid-1980s, due to the anticipated influx of tourists coming to see shuttle launches. However, when the Challenger exploded during take-off from Cape Canaveral in 1986, the West Coast Shuttle Program was terminated, leaving Lompoc in a severe recession.