Fillmore is a small city in Ventura County, California, United States in the Santa Clara River Valley. In an agricultural area with rich, fertile soil, Fillmore has a historic downtown that was established when the Southern Pacific built the railroad through the valley in 1887. The rail line also provided a name for the town: J. A. Fillmore was a general superintendent for the company's Pacific system. The population was 15,002 at the 2010 census, up from 13,643 at the 2000 census.
Fillmore sits at the foot of Topatopa Mountains in the Santa Clara River Valley, below San Cayetano peak in the Los Padres National Forest. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary, where the critically endangered California condor is recovering, lies in the Topatopa range to the north.
Fillmore's economy is still largely driven by agriculture. Most agricultural industry in the Fillmore area is related to orange, lemon, avocado orchard farming and packing and, more recently, specimen tree farming. To a lesser extent, row crop farming and small industry and assembly are also present in and near Fillmore and in other parts of the Santa Clara River Valley. The single largest employer is the Fillmore Unified School District. In 2014, a plan was presented for a business park on the old Chevron refinery property east of Fillmore.
Fillmore has an overall low crime rate.
Fillmore has a classic "turn of the 20th century" downtown architecture, the one-screen Fillmore Towne Theatre, and many unique shops and businesses, including the Giessinger winery. Adjacent to the railroad tracks and a much-photographed city hall is the Railroad Visitor Center operated by the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, which has many displays as well as a fully operational 90-foot (27 m) train turntable and several restored railroad cars.
A short walk down Main Street from the Railroad Visitor Center is the Fillmore Historical Museum, which includes the restored Southern Pacific Railroad Fillmore 1887 standard-design One Story Combination Depot No. 11 built in 1887, a 1956 Southern Pacific railroad caboose, and railroad-related displays. The small post office from the community of Bardsdale and a 1919 farm worker bunkhouse from Rancho Sespe were moved to the site along with the 1906 Craftsman-style Hinckley House, the home of the community's first dentist and druggist. The bunkhouse contains many displays illustrating the history of Fillmore and the nearby communities of Bardsdale and Piru.
The Fillmore and Western Railway trains take tourists through the orchards. The Elkins Ranch Golf Course is nearby. Also located nearby are a fish hatchery and the Sespe Creek and Sespe Wilderness, home to the California condor Sespe sanctuary.
Fillmore has provided a commercial and business center for the small community of Bardsdale, which is located about three miles (5 km) south of Fillmore, directly across the Santa Clara River.