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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Can any Viewers recognize these old eateries, the location and/or date? Answers below


Nite Owl at 530 State St. and the Rice Bowl Cafe at 532 State St. as seen in 1980.

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Shaking up State Street: A Promenade

25 years ago this month, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only strip, was christened. By its 10th anniversary, the Promenade was drawing an estimated 4 million visitors a year, and its 150 establishments were generating about $160 million in gross taxable sales, a 440 percent rise. Today 14.6 million people —40,000 per day — visit the Promenade and neighboring streets. Commercial rents fetch around $16-per-square-foot, and as much as $25. The average office occupancy rate rivals those of San Francisco and Boston, while a housing boom has seen the number of residential units jump from several hundred in the 1990s to more than 3,000 today. So with State Street in view, we dug into the View Vault for this post from 2011:

From Barcelona to Santa Monica, pedestrian-friendly promenades have been a huge success. But did you know, a car-free drag in Santa Barbara was part of The General Plan, which was adopted by resolution of the Mayor and Santa Barbara Council on July 28, 1964? It was called The Paseo—An Escape from the Automobile.

“There is a growing awareness that the automobile is getting out of hand; that its influence on the urban scene is becoming dictatorial rather than beneficent. It is the instrument whereby free reign was given to urban sprawl and, now that we have sprawled all over the landscape, it has become the indispensable element essential to holding the whole loosely knit package together. With the increase in population and prosperity, the automobile is demanding more and more land use for its exclusive use. In places like Los Angeles, it is demanding a lion’s share of the very air—polluting it and rendering it unfit to breath. The quirk of nature that allows the automobile to steal the air in Los Angeles is called ‘temperature invasion’. Santa Barbara has its own temperature inversion. All we need is a few more cars to attain the unhappy distinction of becoming more like Los Angeles.”

What about the idea of closing off State Street to cars… making it a promenade?

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Here is a photo of the Boeseke & Dawe Co. building as seen after the June 29, 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. Does anyone know where this was/is? Answer below
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Ahoy, Mateys! Santa Barbara’s Pirate

Today, the Santa Barbara Public Library System is celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so we dipped into the View Vault for a story about the only known pirate to threaten Santa Barbara—and attack nearby environs, Hippolyte de Bouchard.

He may not have had the charisma and swagger of Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but as pirates go, he and his crew were rather impressive.


Hippolyte de Bouchard

The time was 1818 when the French-born knave led a group of 250 mercenary pirates on two vessels outfitted with 54 guns who sailed under the flag of Argentina. They raided the Presidio in Monterey and headed south to Santa Barbara. On the way, the pirate crew plundered and set fire to Captain Jose Francisco de Ortega’s family ranch in Refugio Canyon. Prisoners were taken on both sides during the incident.

Upon arrival in Santa Barbara, the motley crew was dissuaded from attacking the town, when they spotted a group of some 150 Presidio soldiers, padres and Native Americans hastily assembled and lined up to intercept them. A prisoner exchange was hastily negotiated, the pirates left Santa Barbara without attacking, and sailed on to Mission San Juan Capistrano—where they stole supplies and damaged several buildings.

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Throwback Thursday: The First Automobile Sighted in Santa Barbara, California

This week in Santa Barbara history, the very first automobile was spotted—September 20, 1900 to be exact. Here’s the story from historian Walker Tompkins:

1899 locomobile steamer“Although the first automobile ever sighted in Santa Barbara may have been the one appearing in the 1899 circus parade, W.S. Sherman was said to have owned the first automobile in town, taking delivery on Thursday evening, September 20, 1900. Townspeople watched in fascination the next day when he took it out for all to see. His sensational new purchase was a locomobile steamer, made by Stanley. The model was called a ‘Locosurrey.’ This truly horseless carriage was priced at $1,200 and was operated as a rental machine with headquarters at Short’s Bike Shop, two doors south of Caesar’s Alley, leading to De la Guerra Plaza and the city hall. For a half dollar, Sherman would give a customer a ride around two city blocks.”

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All About Hendry’s, I mean The Pit, I mean Arroyo Burro Beach Park – Out and About with SBGirl

IMG_0255If you’re a local you probably just call it Hendry’s but the official name of this free county beach has been “Arroyo Burro Beach Park” since 1947 when the county purchased six acres at the terminus of Arroyo Burro Creek from the State of California and leased an additional adjacent 6.8 acres. In 1968, the State granted the leased land to the County and today it’s one of the best family-friendly, not to mention dog-friendly, beaches in Santa Barbara.

Surfers call this beach “The Pit”. Not because the Spanish word Arroyo means gutter or pit (it does), or because people used to dig big pits in the sand on the fourth of July (they did), it’s because since the 1960s local surfers affectionately have referred to the generally poor surf here as being “the pits”!

As to why locals have long called it “Hendry’s”, well that’s probably a matter of tradition. And as we all know, Santa Barbara is very much about tradition! William and Anne Hendry (née Stronach) were Scottish immigrants who migrated to Santa Barbara from Aberdeen, Scotland. They happened to own a farm near the intersection of Wade and Alan Rd, just off Cliff Drive in the early 1880s. Even though the County named it Arroyo Burro Beach Park in the 40s the locals kept calling it Hendry’s. And the rest, as they say, is history. William and Anne had 12 children and some of their descendants live in Santa Barbara to this day.

birdIn addition to being a great place to walk, jog, play in the water, make sand castles, watch the hang gliders at Elings Park, explore tide pools, marvel at the majestic cliffs, bird watch, take in the extraordinary landscape, enjoy a sunset, etc., the Park is the entrance to the only legal off-leash dog beach in Santa Barbara. Dogs are required to be on leash through the parking lot and on the public beach in front of the lot, but after passing Arroyo Burro Slough on the left, dogs are welcome to run free and play in the surf. This part of the beach actually belongs to the City of Barbara and some dog owners call it the “best dog beach in the world”.

I don’t have a dog, and I still come to this beach every chance I get!

Hendry’s is located 5 miles west of Santa Barbara’s city center on Cliff Drive near Hope Ranch. From Highway 101 take Las Positas Road south to Cliff Drive. Turn right and travel 1/2 mile to the park entrance. Parking can be crazy, so try taking the bus. MTD Line 5, 17 minutes from the transit center. The Park is open 8:00 AM to Sunset daily. Enjoy!

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This Date in History: Santa Barbara’s First Mass

crespiOn this date in local history, Santa Barbara’s first Christian religious service was held on the site now known as Campanil Crespi. The white bell tower, left, on a glorious Santa Barbara hilltop was built to commemorate Fr. Juan Crespi’s first Mass during the Portola Expedition on August 20, 1769.

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John Peck Stearns

This date in Santa Barbara history… John Peck Stearns was born on August 18, 1828.

John Peck Stearns

In 1867 Stearns came to Santa Barbara with his wife Martha and purchased a property at the foot of State Street, where he opened a lumber yard on the beach.  But Santa Barbara lacked a wharf, which meant lumber schooners had to float cargoes ashore, causing damage to the lumber stocks.

Frustrated with Samuel Brinkerhoff’s little Chapala Street pier, Stearns decided to build his own wharf . Stearns borrowed $41,000 from the town’s leading capitalist, Colonel W.W. Hollister, repayable at $500 a month. Stearns imported a pile driver and crew from Port Hueneme and erected a 2,000-foot wharf which opened for business on September 16, 1872.

Stearns’ contributions to Santa Barbara went well beyond building the wharf, which became an economic boom to Santa Barbara.  He led the campaign to bring a railroad terminus to Santa Barbara, he was a major stockholder in the Santa Barbara College project, and he bought the Morning Press in the fall of 1880.  At the time of his death, from a stroke at the age of 74 on March 4, 1902, Stearns enjoyed the status of being one of Santa Barbara’s leading citizens.

Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, panorama 3D by Bill Heller.

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Santa Barbara History: The Arlington Hotel Burns

On this date in Santa Barbara history… the palatial old Arlington Hotel was destroyed.

“From 1875 until 1909, the Arlington Hotel was the hub of Santa Barbara’s elite tourist society. The three-story, 90-room hotel was located on State Street between Victoria and Sola streets,” according to local historian Walker A. Tompkins.

The First Arlington Hotel: Photo Credit: J W Collinge. Solely for use on the Santa Barbara View.

At sundown, on August 15th, 1909 flames were seen sprouting from the Arlington’s triple-decked square tower. While guests frantically escaped the building, local Fire Chief, John Dugan, and his crew began striping the hotel of the vintage draperies, tapestries, chandeliers, silverware, and other valuables. The lift operator, Robert Klein, kept the elevator running up and down until he collapsed of a heart attack. The fire burned all night… and by daybreak, only a skeleton of towering chimneys remained!

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Thomas Storke’s History of Old Spanish Days

Storke, editor and publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 1962.

“As a result of the Community Art’s Association’s drive to harmonize the architecture in a Spanish-California style, buildings began appearing here and there. It was the dedication of one of these—the new Lobero Theatre—which game birth to one of Santa Barbara’s proudest community activities, the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

The first Fiesta was patterned after the famous floral pageants of the earlier years, notably the Mission Centennial Parade of 1886 and the celebration called ‘The Battle of Flowers in honor of President Benjamin Harrison’s visit in 1891. These had been followed by floral parades called ‘La Primavera.’

The first Fiesta committee was formed in 1924. Appointed to head it was a man destined to become one of Santa Barbara’s leading citizens, Dwight Murphy. Other men helping him in staging the first Fiesta were T. Wilson Dibblee of the historic San Julian Ranch; Sam Stanwood, another prominent civic leader and county supervisor for many years; Harry Sweetser and Francis Price Sr., lawyer and historian; and the world-famous artist Ed Borein.” – Thomas M. Storke, California Editor

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30 Years Ago Today: Santa Barbara the Soap Opera Debuted on NBC

30 years ago today, the soap opera Santa Barbara originally aired. The day-time drama, which revolved around the fascinating and tumultuous life of the wealthy Capwell family of Santa Barbara, California, debuted on NBC on July 30, 1984, and last aired on January 15, 1993. Santa Barbara aired in over 40 countries, won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards, and was even watched y the Reagans in the White House.

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Pearl Chase Newsletter: July, 2014


Pearl Chase Society Newsletter

Santa Barbara View is proud to publish The Capital, a monthly newsletter of the Pearl Chase Society. You can read the full July newsletter by clicking on the PDF icon, left.

In this issue is a wrap-up of the Historic Homes Tour which was attended by 700 people! Kellam de Forest offers updates on the Juarez-Hosmer Adobe, Irene and Frances Rich Beach Cabana, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s plans for upgrades due to seismic reasons. And Hattie Beresford presents her new book, “My Santa Barbara Scrapbook - A Portrait of the Artist, Elizbeth Eaton Burton“.

PS: please help keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, and consider becoming a member of the Pearl Chase Society. You can also like the Pearl Chase Society on Facebook.

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The News-Press Meltdown: Eight Years Ago

Re-Posted with comments from Santa Barbara View’s Vintage Vault:

On Thursday, July 6, 2006… former Santa Barbara News-Press editor Jerry Roberts was escorted out of the News-Press building, escalating a saga which rocked the Santa Barbara community. Following Roberts out the door that fateful day were Metro Editor Jane Hulse, Business Editor Michael Todd, and Barney Brantingham.

In the following weeks, more than 70 Santa Barbara News-Press employees, one-third of the paper’s staff, either quit or were fired. Thousands canceled their subscriptions and the community turned to digital media for news and information.

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The Moreton Bay Fig: Planted on July 4, 1876

This date in Santa Barbara history… the famous Moreton Bay Fig was planted!

Legend would have it, that on the 4th of July in 1876, a young girl living on State Street received a mysterious seedling from a sailor down at Stearns Wharf, who was returning from an Australian voyage. The sailor told the young girl to plant it and see what happens. What happened was the Moreton Bay Fig. A year later, because the young girl had to move back East, never to see Santa Barbara again, she gave the young tree to a neighboring friend, and the seedling was transplanted from 201 State Street to the same block on Chapala. Needless to say, the tree grew and grew.

Now, the famous tree’s root system encompasses an acre of ground near the train tracks and highway. The tree – dubbed the Moreton Bay Fig because it was native to Moreton Bay, Australia – really isn’t a fig tree. It has since been identified as a “ficus Macrophylla”, a cousin of the rubber tree family; however, it is believed to be the largest of its species in the world. So, plant a seed today and see what happens.

Happy Fourth of July Santa Barbara!

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Date in Santa Barbara History: The Great Quake

On June 29th, 1925, Santa Barbara was rocked by an earthquake…

sbmissMinor temblors were recorded as early as 3:30 am on the 29th, and they continued for three hours. Then, at at 6:44 AM, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the city killing 13 people and destroying over 600 buildings.

The Wharf, Granada Theater and most homes survived in decent shape. However, much of the downtown region crumbled. Hotels collapsed, the Sheffield Dam cracked, and the Mission bell towers were wrecked, picture above. All in all, over $8 million of damage was done by the great quake of 1925.

PS: As noted in the History of the City, one of the catalysts for the architectural development of Santa Barbara was this earthquake which destroyed many commercial buildings in the business district, most of which were built of un-reinforced masonry.

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