Main Content

Chumash History of Faria Beach

Home » Chumash History of Faria Beach

Chumash History of Faria Beach

The year is 1769, and the Spanish arrived on the Coast of California, known then as Alta California. The Portolá expedition was the first recorded European exploration of the interior of present-day California. The expedition encountered, documented, and traded with the Native Americans up and down the coast, including our local Chumash.

California was a paradise then. Lands lush with native plants and animals, flowing streams abundant with fish. Chumash villages were usually established within a mile of the beach and preferably at the mouth of a stream. The local Chumash depended directly on the natural environment and lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering, strongly relying on the abundant Channel marine life. The Chumash were among the most maritime of all California Indian tribes, known for their large seagoing canoes called Tomols. The boats were up to 40 ft long and constructed on Redwood planks, sealed with Tar. The Chumash refers to the tomol as the “House of the Sea” for their reliability.


A Chumash Tomol (plank canoe), 1912.


As the Portolá Expedition traveled up the coast of California, a camp was near a small village 8 miles north of the Ventura River, now Faria Beach. The history of this sacred land goes back 1000’s years to a coastal Chumash village. The topography was idyllic for the Chumash way of life; Padre Juan Canyon provided fresh water, a rocky point, a sandy beach, and a flat bluff.

Archaeological surveys uncovered artifacts dating from 1050AD to 1500AD. Grass Mat Houses, burial sites, basket-making materials, Olivella beads and tarring pebbles, fish hooks, harpoon points, and fishing nets are just a few examples of things uncovered. At the time when people lived at the Pitas Point site, their houses were located on the edge of a low bluff overlooking the south. Below the bluff laid sandy beaches, rocky tide pools, and a point. Over time, the beach has risen about 26 ft. above the current sea level!


Finished Chumash house, thatched with tules, 1923 Ventura County Fair.


On August 15, 1769, as the Portolá Expedition camp rested overnight at Faria, they heard the sound of the natives.

“During the night, these people serenaded us with pipes or whistles; these were very disagreeable and only served to annoy us and keep us awake.”
– Juan Crespí, Tuesday, August 15, 1769

During the De Anza expedition in 1776, Father Font who was the expedition chaplain, was also responsible for taking latitudes along the way. In this diary, he goes to great lengths to supply details of the journey, which are still available to read today. Father Font had already been informed of the Los Pitos region, just north of Ventura, from the Portolá Expedition. Font wrote about Los Pito in his journal during their travels. “…the village of Los Pitos, so-called because of the whistle which the men of the first expedition of Commander Portolá heard blown there all night.”


Chumash Bone Whistle found in Northwest Ventura County.

Whistle made from deer tibia with the distal end broken off; the proximal end has asphaltum over a hole, which shows the imprint of a shell that was once adhered there; found and taken from a cave in Northwest Ventura County.


The whistles, sometimes called “los pitos” in Spanish, were used in various Chumash ceremonies and rituals. They were crafted from animal bones, with intricate designs of abalone shell, olivella disk beads (Chumash currency), and wrapped with Juncus and asphaltum. The whistles played a role in the Chumash’s cultural and spiritual practices. The songs written and played were sacred to the person who created them. The Spanish explorers who encountered the Chumash would have likely encountered and observed these unique whistles in their interactions with the Chumash people.

And so the area was named Los Pitos.

Manuel Faria with his first car, a Chevrolet pickup, Faria Ranch, circa 1920. Virginia Faria Baptiste Collection.


In 1907, 1000 years after the Chumash Village of Los Pitos, Manuel Faria purchased 325 acres of land in the Rincon area West of Ventura, including 22 acres on the beach. Roberta Batiste, the granddaughter of Manuel Faria, spoke of how her Grandfather, Manuel, used to till his land and would collect the Chumash stone Mortar and Pestles. The picture below shows the exact Mortar and Pestles that were un-earthed by Manual along our coast!


Chumash stone mortar and pestle used to grind acorns for flour.




Chuck Menzel

Shannon Kenny

Contact Us


    • “Shannon helped sell my house in Ojai and then found the perfect new home for me. She was incredibly helpful and communicative throughout the entire process and the purchase went very quickly. Her local knowledge of Ventura County is invaluable and she even helped with local recommendations for the upgrades on my new home. I would highly recommend her to anyone thinking about buying or selling a home.Sarah R.
    • “If you are buying or selling at the beach Chuck is the best agent to use. His knowledge of the beaches and each specific area is exactly what you need to find or sell your home.John K.
    • “Chuck represented me in the sale of my high-end beach home and he was very professional. He followed through on details and was extremely helpful in dealing with the buyers request. I recommend him to other sellers. His firm’s marketing materials took full advantage of the property location and home.Kathy N.
    • “Our experience has been an amazing one. We met after our house burned down in the Thomas Fire. I called Chuck looking for housing and he found us the perfect rental. After living on Faria for two and a half years, we were hoping for a permanent solution. Chuck knew us well and found us a perfect opportunity to get us our forever home. He was amazing at navigating a difficult negotiation- on both sides and extremely thorough with researching the property. I highly recommend Chuck and feel very fortunate that we had him by our side through this process.Noelle E.
    • “We had a great experience with Chuck. We’ve known him a long time and his knowledge of the area and real estate trends are as good as you can get.Ron S.
    Skip to content