Location: Ventura County, California
There is no Summit Signature for Topatopa Bluff, but the following
from delisted Topatopa Peak perhaps sheds some light:
Name is first implied in the Archives of Mission San Buenaventura (ca. 1943), citing a nearby Indian rancheria named Si-toptopo. J. P. Harrington of the Smithsonian Institution notes that topa is a Chumash Indian word meaning "reed" or "rush".
Alternatively, based on an old local audition retold by William S. Brown in his History of the Los Padres (1945), the word referred to gophers, "and to emphasize the numbers of this burrowing animal existing there, the word was repeated".
Gudde also suggests that the name was derived from this Indian word, but this is somehow transformed by him into "mole".
Harrington rejects all of these suggestions since to the Chumash "mole" is tapo, not "topo".
Playful use of local place-names was characteristic of early American immigrants. This might suggest why this name appealed to Anglos, since it has the charm of babybabble, but this still doesn't explain the origin of the name to John Johnson of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Johnson backs Harrington, except that he translates topa as "cain", and adds that the Chumash language doubled a word to denote "more than" or a greater quantity. The south wall of Chief Peak has vertical striations and it could have seemed like a dense stand of reeds. Johnson translates topatopa as meaning "much cain" or "the one with the stripes in front of it". He adds that the original name of nearby Topatopa Mountain was Sisa Peak. Sisa meant "eyelash village" to the Chumash.
Name first appears as Topa Topa Peak (Wheeler Survey 1878), however this referred to what is now Chief Peak.
Lookout: USGS C3 14' by 14' wood cab, with H-B 20' tower (1938), abandoned (n.d.).
Delisted from HPS Peak List before it became part of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary and access was prohibited (1959).
Name first appears on Wheeler Survey Atlas Sheet 73 (1878).
Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List.