About This Place
New Cuyama is a census-designated place in the Cuyama Valley, in Santa Barbara County, California, in the United States. It was named after the Chumash Indian word for "clams", most likely due to the millions of petrified prehistoric clamshell fossils that are found in the surrounding areas. The town is home to the majority of the utility infrastructure for its residents, including nearby neighbor Cuyama, California. New Cuyama is located very close to the intersection points for Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Kern counties. The town is served by Highway 166 (connecting U.S. Route 101 and Interstate 5) and the public-use New Cuyama Airport. The population was 517 at the 2010 census.
The area was considered territory of the Yokuts people, but Chumash Indians from the Pacific Coast are also known to have frequented the area. The imprint of an old Indian trail can still be seen leading over the hills of present day Ventura County to the headwaters of Piru Creek.
The area's recorded history dates to 1822 when Mexico won independence from Spain and took over the Spanish colony of Alta California. Two Mexican land grants, the Rancho Cuyama (Lataillade) and Rancho Cuyama (Rojo), were granted in the 1840s by Governors Manuel Micheltorena and Pío Pico in the lower Cuyama Valley along the Cuyama River, where current New Cuyama is, privatizing ownership of the land.