The valley where Moorpark is located was originally inhabited by the Chumash. The area was part of the large Rancho Simi land grantgiven in 1795 to the Pico brothers (Javier, Patricio, and Miguel) by Governor Diego de Borica of Alta California.
Robert W. Poindexter, the secretary of the Simi Land Company, received the land that made up the original townsite of Moorpark when the association was disbanded in 1887. Moorpark was founded in 1900 when the application for a post office was submitted. The application lists that there was already a railroad depot in the town. The town grew after the 1904 completion of a 7,369-foot (2,246 m) tunnel through the Santa Susana Mountains, which allowed the Southern Pacific Railroad to establish a depot there, a depot which lasted until 1965.
Moorpark was one of the first cities to run off nuclear power in the entire world, and the first in the United States. For one hour on November 12, 1957 this fact was featured on Edwin R. Murrow's "See It Now" television show. The reactor, called the Sodium Reactor Experiment was built by the Atomics International division of North American Aviation at the nearby Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The Sodium Reactor Experiment operated from 1957 to 1964 and produced 7.5 megawatts of electrical power at a Southern California Edison-supplied generating station.
Twenty years later, Moorpark was incorporated as a city on July 1, 1983.
In February 2005, a Siberian Tiger named Tuffy that escaped from a local residence was shot and killed in one of Moorpark's parks. This created a great deal of uproar, because theAnimal Control officers used a gun instead of a tranquilizer to kill the tiger, primarily because the tiger could not be shot from the proper angle for a tranquilizer to prove effective.Candlelight vigils were held for the late Tuffy. The couple that owned the tiger had moved from a licensed facility in Temecula, California, to an unlicensed facility in the Moorpark area of Ventura County. They lost their U.S. Department of Agriculture exhibitor license because they failed to notify the department of the move within 10 days. The wife pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of failing to maintain records of exotic felines. The husband pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, making false statements and failing to maintain proper records. Each was sentenced to home detention, three years probation, and fined $900.
Just a month later, in March 2005, the fairly complete remains (about 75%) of an unusually old mammoth, possibly the rare Southern mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis), were discovered in the foothills of Moorpark at the site of a housing development.
In 2006, the Moorpark city council transferred governance of their library from the Ventura County library system to their own newly created their city library system, much like nearbyThousand Oaks. The library, which opened in 1912, recently celebrated its centennial.
On February 28, 2006, a housing proposal, North Park Village, which would have added 1,680 houses on 3,586 acres (15 km2) in the north-east area of the city, was defeated by a landslide in a city election.
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