History of Capitola

With activity dating back to 1850, “Camp Capitola” opened in June, 1874

Welcome to Capitola, California!

Nestled on the banks of Monterey Bay, this charming coastal town is renowned for its picturesque beauty and rich history. With a diverse array of attractions to explore, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this seaside paradise. So let’s take a look at the fascinating story behind one of California’s oldest beach towns.

Capitola has been an integral part of California’s history since the late 1800s. Founded by pioneering entrepreneur Faxon Atherton in 1874, it was originally known as Athertonville until the name was changed to Capitola in 1887. The city is named after Faxon’s daughter, Captiola Atherton, whose favorite book was “The Hidden City of Gormenghast.” To honor her love for literature, Faxon chose the name Capitola for his new town.

As time went on, Capitola quickly became a popular destination for both locals and visitors from around the world. From its iconic Venetian Court shopping area to its vibrant art galleries and restaurants, there is something for everyone here. In addition to its stunning beaches and oceanfront boardwalk, visitors can also enjoy whale watching excursions and a variety of outdoor activities like kayaking and surfing. So come explore all that Capitola has to offer – you won’t be disappointed!

Beautiful Beach Views

Located on the central coast of California, Capitola is a charming beach town just south of Santa Cruz. It was founded in 1874 by Captain John Pope and named after his wife, Capitola. At the time, it was an unincorporated village known as the “Venice of America.” Over the years, its stunning scenery has made it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

The town’s main street is Esplanade Street, which runs parallel to the Monterey Bay coastline. This street is home to many unique shops and restaurants that attract people from all over the area. It also features a boardwalk overlooking Capitola Beach, which offers stunning views of the ocean and lush green hillsides. Nearby are several parks, including New Brighton State Beach and Manresa State Beach, where visitors can enjoy swimming or simply relax in the sun.

Capitola has come a long way since its founding in 1874. Today it is known as one of California’s top beach resorts for its picturesque landscape and vibrant culture. Visitors have plenty to see and do here – from shopping at local boutiques to soaking up some rays on the beach – making this beach town a great place to visit year-round. With its beautiful scenery and laid-back atmosphere, it’s no wonder why so many people love calling Capitola home.

The "Venice of America"

The First People of California

Pre-Settlement History

Before Capitola became the beach town we know today, it had a long and fascinating history. It was originally inhabited by the Ohlone people, who lived along the coast of what is now California for thousands of years. They were known as hunter-gatherers and relied heavily on the area’s natural resources, such as fish and game, to sustain themselves.

During the mid-1800s, settlers began arriving in this region with hopes of starting a new life. In 1874, Captain John Pope established Capitola as an unincorporated village – giving it its name after his wife Capitola. He and other settlers built homes and businesses here – making it a popular destination for visitors from all around.

Over time, Capitola has evolved into one of California’s most beloved beach towns. Today, it continues to attract tourists from near and far with its stunning scenery, vibrant culture, and laid-back atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Capitola has something for everyone to enjoy!

Founding of Capitola, CA

In the early 1870s, entrepreneur J.J. Lewis and his family purchased over 700 acres of land in what is now Capitola. They saw potential in this area and knew it could become something special with a little hard work and dedication.

Lewis’ vision began to come to life when he built a wharf at the mouth of Soquel Creek, which became the first commercial shipping port in the area. He then constructed a railroad line that ran from Santa Cruz to Capitola, allowing for easy access to both towns. This encouraged more people to move to Capitola, and it soon became an attractive destination for tourists from all over the country.

With its stunning beaches, picturesque scenery, and bustling downtown area, Capitola quickly grew into one of California’s most beloved beach towns. Visitors flocked here year-round to enjoy its many attractions – such as shopping, dining, fishing, surfing, camping, and much more! Its popularity continues today as it remains one of the top tourist destinations in California – drawing thousands of visitors annually who come for its laid-back atmosphere and unbeatable coastal charm.

Early Development And Growth

The early development of Capitola was incredibly rapid. As more people moved to the area, businesses began sprouting up all over town. Hotels, restaurants, stores and more were popping up like wildfire as the town rapidly grew in size. New infrastructure was also built to accommodate this growth – roads and sewers were added, as were electric lights and telephone lines.

By the late 1800s, Capitola had become a bustling tourist destination. Visitors from all over flocked to its beachfront hotels and restaurants, enjoying its unique blend of coastal charm and small-town hospitality. The downtown area was home to a wide variety of shops and attractions that kept guests entertained for hours on end – from art galleries to amusement parks!

With its growing popularity came new opportunities for Capitola. In 1906, the city hosted the very first California State Fair which was a huge success! This event brought even more attention to the town and helped solidify it as one of California’s premier beach destinations for years to come. The city has continued to grow steadily ever since then – with new businesses and attractions being introduced every year. Today, Capitola is a vibrant community that celebrates its past while embracing its future – offering visitors an unforgettable experience that keeps them coming back time and time again.

Tourism Industry

The tourism industry has been a driving force in Capitola’s growth and development. Over the years, the town has become a top vacation destination for travelers from all over the world. With its stunning beaches, beautiful scenery and unique culture, Capitola offers something for everyone – whether it’s a romantic getaway or family fun.

Thanks to the town’s numerous attractions, visitors can enjoy activities ranging from kayaking to shopping. There are also an array of great restaurants serving up delicious local cuisine. Plus, with its charming downtown area full of art galleries and boutiques, there’s definitely something for everyone!

Capitola is also home to some amazing events year-round – from summer concerts to winter festivals. This adds even more excitement to the city and provides plenty of opportunities for people to explore and experience all that Capitola has to offer. With so much going on here, it’s no wonder why so many people come back again and again!

Cultural Influence

Capitola is a melting pot of cultures, combining both the old and new. This eclectic mix of people creates an interesting blend of traditional and modern influences in the city, making it a vibrant and exciting place to explore.

The town’s unique culture is evident in its many festivals and events throughout the year. From the annual Feast of St. Joseph to the 4th of July parade, Capitola celebrates its rich history with pride. Visitors can also enjoy local art galleries showcasing works from local artists, as well as weekly farmer’s markets full of fresh produce from nearby farms.

Additionally, Capitola has become known for its innovative craft beer scene. With several popular breweries located within walking distance from each other, beer lovers can sample different styles from all over the world and find something that suits their tastes. All these elements come together to create an unforgettable experience for visitors looking for a fun-filled adventure!

## Natural Disasters And Preservation Efforts

Unfortunately, Capitola has a history of natural disasters that have threatened its existence. In 1889, a powerful earthquake destroyed most of the buildings in the area, leading to a rebuilding effort that would take decades to complete. The 1960s saw several floods that devastated the city and forced many people to relocate.

In recent years, Capitola has taken steps to preserve its unique environment. The city has implemented measures which restrict development and preserve much of the natural beauty that gives Capitola its charm. Additionally, the community has been very active in organizing community clean-ups and working with local groups to ensure that any new developments are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

These efforts have resulted in improved air quality, reduced water pollution, and an increase in green spaces for residents to enjoy. As such, Capitola is quickly becoming a model for other cities looking to protect their environment and preserve their unique culture for future generations.


The population of Capitola is diverse and growing. As of 2020, the city was home to over 10,000 people. The median age is 38 years old, with a significant portion of the population being under 18. The ethnic makeup of Capitola is mostly Caucasian and Latino/Hispanic, with smaller populations of African American, Asian-American, and Native American residents.

The majority of Capitola’s population is employed in the tourism and hospitality industry. This includes hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions in the area. Additionally, there is a large number of tech companies that are based in or near the city as well.

Capitola also has a vibrant arts scene due to its location on Monterey Bay. There are several galleries showcasing local artwork from painters, sculptors, and photographers. Additionally, festivals like the Art & Wine Festival bring visitors from all over California to enjoy music, food and art from all around the world.

Overall, Capitola is an attractive destination for locals and tourists alike due to its unique culture and stunning views of Monterey Bay. From its natural beauty to its vibrant arts scene, it has something for everyone – making it one of California’s most beloved beach towns!

Notable Residents

Many notable people have called Capitola home over the years, from influential politicians to world-renowned artists. Perhaps the most well-known resident is former mayor and California governor Jerry Brown, who served as mayor for four terms. He was renowned for his environmental initiatives and progressive policies during his time in office.

Other famous residents include actor John Cusack, who filmed the 1989 movie Say Anything in Capitola; singer-songwriter Jewel, who was born and raised here; and musician Carlos Santana, who studied music at nearby Cabrillo College.

Capitola is also known for its many talented visual artists, including painter David Best and sculptor Bruce Johnson. Best’s works often feature scenes of Monterey Bay and its surrounding countryside, while Johnson’s sculptures are inspired by nature and wildlife native to the area. Both artists have made a lasting impact on Capitola’s art scene – making it an even more vibrant place to live!

Interesting Facts

Capitola is full of fascinating and unique historical facts. For example, it was the first town in California to be incorporated as a city by its residents (in 1874). In addition, it’s the only beach town on the Monterey Bay that has an active fishing pier.

The city also boasts a long-running tradition of hosting the annual Begonia Festival, which celebrates the unique species of begonias that grow in this region. The festival features colorful flower displays and live music performances, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Equally fascinating is that Capitola is home to one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in California – The Del Mar Theater, which opened its doors in 1941. It still screens classic films today!

With such an interesting past and present, there’s no doubt that Capitola will remain a vibrant community for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types Of Businesses And Services Are Available In Capitola Today?

Today, the small seaside town of Capitola, CA is an exciting destination spot for visitors and locals alike. With its beautiful beaches, delicious restaurants, and charming boutiques, there are plenty of businesses and services available to meet everyone’s needs.

For those looking for a bite to eat or a place to shop, Capitola has it all. From casual seafood eateries to upscale dining options, there’s something for every palate. Boutique shops offer clothing items from local designers as well as international brands. The town also boasts a variety of specialty stores such as antique dealers and home decor shops.

If you’re looking for activities to enjoy during your stay in Capitola, there are plenty of options available. Guests can go kayaking along the coast or take part in whale watching tours. Other outdoor activities like fishing and swimming can be enjoyed at several nearby parks or on the beach itself. Those looking for a more relaxing experience can take advantage of one of the many spas offering massages and other treatments.

No matter what you’re looking for in terms of businesses or services, Capitola has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s an exciting activity or a leisurely outing, this coastal town is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience!

What Are Some Of The Most Popular Tourist Attractions In Capitola?

Capitola, California is a popular tourist destination. Home to beautiful beaches, stunning views of the Monterey Bay, and a vibrant downtown area, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this coastal city. But what are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Capitola? From shopping and dining to exploring its rich history, there are plenty of activities for visitors to take part in.

One of the most beloved attractions in Capitola is the beach. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up some sunshine or get your toes wet with some swimming or surfing, the beach offers something for everyone. There are also several parks located near the beach where visitors can enjoy picnicking or exercising outdoors. Additionally, walkers and joggers can take advantage of the scenic seaside path that runs along the shoreline.

If sightseeing is more your speed, then Capitola has plenty to offer in that department too! The area boasts a variety of historic sites including old lighthouses, churches, and Victorian homes. There are also several museums that give visitors a look into Capitola’s past such as the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and The Wharf House Museum which display local artifacts from days gone by. Not only do these attractions provide an educational experience but they also provide great photo opportunities!

For those seeking retail therapy while visiting Capitola, there are plenty of shops selling souvenirs and other trinkets around town. You can find everything from handmade jewelry to surf apparel at one of these stores. Of course no trip would be complete without sampling some delicious local cuisine; you’ll find numerous restaurants serving up fresh seafood dishes along with other classic American favorites like burgers and fries. Whatever it is you’re looking for during your visit to Capitola – rest assured you won’t be short on entertainment options!

What Are The Current Demographic Trends In Capitola?

The town of Capitola, California, is known for its stunning beaches and coastal beauty. But what many people don’t know is that the town’s demographics are in a state of flux. In recent years, Capitola has seen an influx of new residents, resulting in a diverse demographic profile. The current trends provide important insight into the future of this charming coastal town.

The most noteworthy demographic trend in Capitola is the increasing population size. According to the 2010 census, the population was at 10,000; however, by 2019 it had risen to 11,200. This growth can be attributed to the growing number of young professionals who are moving to Capitola for its idyllic lifestyle and proximity to Silicon Valley. Additionally, there have been more families moving into the area as well as retirees looking for a peaceful place to call home.

Another important demographic trend in Capitola is that it has become increasingly diverse over time. According to recent census data, nearly 40% of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino and about one-third identify as white non-Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, there has been an uptick in Asian Pacific Islander residents in recent years due to increased immigration from China and India. Furthermore, Capitola is home to a significant African American population that makes up nearly 5% of its total population.

These demographic trends demonstrate that Capitola is becoming home to an ever-more diverse array of people who bring their unique perspectives and cultures with them when they arrive. This diversity promises to enrich the vibrant culture that already exists within this picturesque coastal town and will no doubt contribute significantly to its ongoing success in the coming years.

Are There Any Festivals Or Events That Take Place In Capitola?

Capitola, California is a beautiful seaside town that attracts thousands of visitors each year. From its picturesque beaches to its unique downtown area, Capitola offers something for everyone. One of the best things about visiting Capitola is the variety of festivals and events that take place throughout the year. From art shows to music festivals, there’s something for everyone in this charming beach community.

One of the most popular events in Capitola is the Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival. Held every September, this event features both local and international wines from wineries around the world. There are also dozens of vendors selling handmade goods, jewelry, clothing, and more. Live music and entertainment make it a great time for families and friends alike.

The Annual Begonia Festival takes place every August and celebrates one of Capitola’s favorite flowers – the begonia! The festival features live music, food vendors, activities for kids, art exhibits, and more. Attendees can purchase flowers or take part in craft workshops to learn how to make their own begonias at home. Additionally, there are opportunities to explore local history and culture with special lectures and presentations given by local experts throughout the day.

There are also other smaller-scale events held throughout the year such as outdoor movie screenings on the beach or farmers markets featuring locally-grown produce from nearby farms. All these events provide an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to enjoy all that Capitola has to offer while creating lasting memories with family and friends.

Are There Any Notable Landmarks In Capitola?

Are there any notable landmarks in Capitola? The small beach town of Capitola is home to an array of unique and interesting sites. From the classic architecture of the iconic Venetian Court to the stunning Monterey Bay shoreline, this coastal paradise has something for everyone.

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Capitola is the Venetian Court. This cluster of brightly painted wooden buildings was constructed in 1928 and later restored after a devastating fire in 1968. With its colorful facades and classic style, the Venetian Court stands out among other beachfront attractions. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, offering plenty of photo opportunities and a place to rest and relax by the sea.

Just steps away from the Venetian Court lies another popular landmark in Capitola: New Brighton Beach State Park. This park offers miles of trails along Monterey Bay, as well as picnic areas, campgrounds, and even an old-fashioned carousel. Visitors can take advantage of all that nature has to offer while also enjoying panoramic views of the ocean from various points throughout the park.

Capitola also boasts several other noteworthy attractions, such as its historic wharf, which dates back to 1869, as well as its quaint shopping district filled with boutiques and restaurants. All these places combine to make Capitola a must-see destination for anyone looking for a great day at the beach or an exciting getaway.