Ojai is a city in Ventura County, California, USA. It is situated in the Ojai Valley (10 miles long by 3 miles (4.8 km) wide, approximately, or 16 kilometers by 5 kilometers), surrounded by hills and mountains. The town was laid out in 1874 by real estate developer R.G. Surdam and named Nordhoff, California, in honor of the writer Charles Nordhoff. Leading up to and during World War I, American sentiment became increasingly anti-German. Across the United States, German and German-sounding place names were changed. As part of this trend, Nordhoff was renamed Ojai in 1917.