Piru, California

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Piru (pronounced /ˈpaɪruː/) is a small census-designated place located in Eastern Ventura County, California, in the Santa Clara River Valley near the Santa Clara River and State Route 126, about seven miles (11 km) east of Fillmore and about 13 miles (21 km) west of Interstate 5. The population at the time of the 2000 census was 1,196. Lake Piru, in the Los Padres National Forest, is the main recreational attraction.



The area was originally inhabited by the Tataviam Indians. They left information about themselves chiseled into and painted on rocky overhangs and secreted caves throughout the local mountains. By all accounts a peaceful tribe, the Tataviam were christianized under the San Fernando Mission. The name Piru (originally pronounced /ˈpɪəruː/ PEE-r"'oo"' in English[citation needed]) is derived from the Tataviam language word for the tule reeds growing along Piru Creek that were used in making baskets.

The town was founded in 1887 by David C. Cook, who bought the Rancho Temescal Mexican land grant from the sons of Ygnacio del Valle. Cook, a wealthy publisher of Sunday School tracts and supplies from Elgin, Illinois, wanted to establish a "Second Garden of Eden" in this part of the Santa Clara River Valley. He specified, tradition says, that the acreage be planted with fruits identified with the Biblical garden—apricots, dates, figs, grapes, olives and pomegranates. That same year, Cook built his first home, a Colonial Revival structure, at the southwest corner of Main and Center Streets.

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