Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Oxnard in Ventura County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The House of the Sea

Rest Stop for Weary Travelers

 

— Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area —

 
The House of the Sea Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
1. The House of the Sea Panel
Inscription.  Chumash seafarers were so comfortable on the ocean that elder Kitsepawit once called the tomol (plank canoe) “the house of the sea.” Shipbuilders crafted the tomol by splitting driftwood, sewing planks with cordage, and caulking with tar.

Mariners would paddle as far as the Channel Islands, fish the open waters, and return to this lagoon in front of you and the nearby Chumash village of Muwu.

Today the crossing to Santa Cruz island takes about one hour by powerboat or five hours by tomol under calm conditions. Can you image paddling a tomol for hours through the deep and often choppy waters of the Channel.

In 1997, members of the Chumash Maritime Association built this tomol, called ‘Elye‘wun (Swordfish). A group of Chumash paddlers is shown here during a 2006 crossing to Limuw (Santa Cruz Island).

Rest stop for weary travelers. As you stop to stretch along CA 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), imagine the thousands of birds that touch down here every year at Mugu Lagoon. Can you see any today?

Some birds are residents.
Rest Stop for Weary Travelers Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
2. Rest Stop for Weary Travelers Panel
Others arrive via the Pacific Flyway, a migratory route that extends from Alaska to Patagonia. This is the largest remaining coastal wetland in Southern California. It provides much-needed food, shelter, and breeding habitat.

The open beach in the distance ahead of you provides critical habitat for one threatened resident—the snowy plover. This bird lays its eggs directly on the sand, so it requires an undisturbed shoreline for nesting.
 
Erected by National Park Service in cooperation with Naval Base Ventura County.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 34° 5.978′ N, 119° 4.801′ W. Marker is in Oxnard, California, in Ventura County. Marker is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway (California Route 1) and Mugu Canyon Rest Area, on the left when traveling north on Pacific Coast Highway. It is at the Western Gateway of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 233 Pacific Coast Highway, Oxnard CA 93033, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. F-14 Tomcat (approx. 2½ miles away); Alaska Flight 261 Memorial (approx. 7 miles away); Hueneme Slough (approx. 7.1 miles away); Bank of Hueneme
The House of the Sea Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
3. The House of the Sea Marker
(approx. 7.6 miles away); Point Hueneme Lighthouse (approx. 8.1 miles away); Olive (approx. 8.2 miles away); "La Jenelle" (approx. 8.4 miles away); American Beet Sugar Factory (approx. 8.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oxnard.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry for Cumash People. Excerpt:
The first modern tomol was built and launched in 1976 as a result of a joint venture between Quabajai Chumash of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Its name is Helek/Xelex, the Chumash word for falcon. The Brotherhood of the Tomol was revived and her crew paddled and circumnavigated around the Santa Barbara Channel Islands on a 10-day journey, stopping on three of the islands. The second tomol, the Elye‘wun (“swordfish”), was launched in 1997.

On September 9, 2001, the first “crossing” in the Chumash tomol, from the mainland to Channel Islands, was sponsored by the Chumash Maritime Association and the Barbareño Chumash Council. Several Chumash bands and descendants gathered on the island of Limuw (the Chumash name for Santa Cruz Island) to witness the Elye‘wun being paddled
Pacific Coast Highway Mugu Canyon Rest Area image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
4. Pacific Coast Highway Mugu Canyon Rest Area
Bronze tablet on boulder is a memorial to Professor and Mrs. George E. MacGinity. The viewing platform where these two historical marker interpretive panels are located is on the right.
from the mainland to Santa Cruz Island. Their journey was documented in the short film “Return to Limuw” produced by the Ocean Channel for the Chumash Maritime Association, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The channel crossings have become a yearly event hosted by the Barbareño Chumash Council.
(Submitted on August 14, 2020.) 

2. Wikipedia entry for Mugu Lagoon.
Mugu Lagoon is a salt marsh located within the Naval Base Ventura County at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains in Ventura County, California. The lagoon extends for 4.3 miles parallel to a narrow barrier beach. The first European to come ashore here was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on October 10, 1542. Cabrillo was the first European to visit present-day California, and he named it Muwu, which is Chumash meaning “beach” or “seashore.” When the Europeans first discovered the lagoon, it functioned as the capital village of the Chumash Indians settled around Point Mugu.

The Calleguas Creek, and its tributaries such as Arroyo Conejo and Arroyo Simi, discharges into the Pacific Ocean at its estuary in Mugu Lagoon. Historically, Calleguas Creek flood flows spread across the floodplain and the deposited sediment created the rich agricultural lands of the Oxnard Plain. With year-round agriculture in the
MacGinity Memorial Detail image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
5. MacGinity Memorial Detail
The tablet reads, “Dedicated One July, Nineteen Seventy five to Professor Emeritus and Mrs. George E. MacGinity in recognition of their scientific efforts for over fifty years to preserve the vital estuaries of California and the United States as a whole, and for their leadership in the field of Marine and Estuary Biology. This husband and wife team exemplify the need for people from all walks of life to work together so that man may live and prosper in harmony with his environment.”
floodplain, concrete channels and dirt levees have been built to contain the flow. This has delivered increased sediment to Mugu Lagoon and flooding during extreme rain events.
(Submitted on August 14, 2020.) 
 
Additional keywords. Professor Emeritus and Mrs. George E. MacGinity; Marine and Estuarine Biology
 
Mugu Lagoon Beach image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
6. Mugu Lagoon Beach
This is the view from the viewing platform. The Channel Islands can be seen on the horizon to the right. It is fenced off; reserved for birds.
Santa Monica Mountains at Mugu Lagoon image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, December 3, 2018
7. Santa Monica Mountains at Mugu Lagoon
This view is landward from Pacific Coast Highway Mugu Lagoon Rest Area. This the westernmost part of Point Mugu State Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 13, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 54 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 13, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 8, 2021