Los Alamos, CA


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Los Alamos is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Although located in the Los Alamos Valley, the town of Los Alamos is usually considered to be a part of the Santa Ynez Valley community. The population was 1,890 at the 2010 census, up from 1,372 at the 2000 census.
In 1839, José Antonio de la Guerra, a son of José de la Guerra y Noriega received the Rancho Los Alamos Mexican land grant. The hills above Rancho Los Alamos served as a hideout for bandito, Solomon Pico, whose escapades were popularized by the character "Zorro". During the USA's centennial year of 1876, Thomas Bell along with his son John S. Bell, and Dr. James B. Shaw (all from San Francisco), purchased acreage from Rancho Los Alamos and neighboring Rancho La Laguna. Both families allocated a half square mile from each of their new ranches to create the Los Alamos town site with "Centennial Street" as the central thoroughfare.
The Los Alamos Valley prospered and grew quickly serving as a popular stagecoach stop from 1861-1901. The Union Hotel opened in 1880 to serve overnight travelers. The narrow-gauge Pacific Coast Railway also ran to Los Alamos from San Luis Obispo between 1882-1940. Oil was discovered at the Orcutt field in hills north of Valley in 1901, and in the Purisima Hills south of the valley at the Lompoc Oil Field in 1903, providing more economic prosperity. The town flagpole at Centennial and Bell Street was dedicated in 1918. The Chamber of Commerce was active from 1920–32 and instrumental in forming a lighting district, obtaining telephone service, street paving and mail service. Residents today still pick-up their mail from the Post Office downtown, as no street delivery is available.