This Saturday marks the 250th anniversary of the naming of Carpinteria by members of the Gaspar de Portolá expedition. Portolá was the governor of the Las Californias territories and was commissioned by King Carlos of Spain to establish a land route in Alta California from San Diego to Monterey Bay.
The expedition, the first by land in upper California, began in July of 1769. When the expedition rounded Rincon Point and made camp along Carpinteria Creek on Aug. 17, 1769, the expedition friar and diarist, Fray Juan Crespi, named the site San Roque, after the Catholic saint. But the group’s engineer, Costanso, was impressed by the native Chumash wooden plank canoes, called Tomals, and wrote of their construction utilizing the local “spring of pitch” (asphaltum seep). He noted that the soldiers referred to the Chumash village of Mishopshno as “La Carpinteria,” or the Carpenter shop. During the return trip through the area, even Portolá mentioned making camp again in La Carpinteria, rather than San Roque, and we have been Carpinteria ever since.
The Carpinteria Valley Museum of History, located at 956 Maple Ave., invites the public to discover local history by visiting the museum.