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Take Me out to the Ball Game

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150It’s Spring Training in the MLB, and here in Santa Barbara, our PONY, Little League and high school baseball teams are ready to hear those two simple words that mean so much: “Play Ball!”

On the high school baseball field, as play begins, some prayers are answered, others cruelly ignored. It’s the place where hope stays alive, year after year as the individual players change jerseys and move on, but the team continues to play the game and carry on the rituals of the wonderful sport of baseball.

It’s the continuity, the tradition, the character instilled that really matters for the boys who arrive as untested freshman and who grow into disciplined young men by their senior year under the tutelage of a group of coaches who are solid as they come.

Year after year, our baseball players represent the values of teamwork, hard work, and good work—on the field and in the classroom. As the old saying goes, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” This is their time, their year to put it all together for their moment to shine brightly, to play for pride, for tradition, for the love of the game.

Play Ball!
1915 dons
Above Photo: The 1915 Santa Barbara Dons baseball team. Their team motto: “Good Sportsmanship and Team Ball.”

This Date in History: Ellwood Beach Shelled

goletaThe last time that the U.S. mainland had been attacked by a foreign power was during the War of 1812. But on the evening of February 23, 1942 — just two months after Pearl Harbor — a Japanese submarine shelled oil fields off the coast of Santa Barbara’s Ellwood Beach. Although no one was injured and damage was minimal, the attack would serve as a catalyst in the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans.

“No event in Santa Barbara history, with the possible exception of the 1925 earthquake, created more excitement at the time, or evoked more discussion in its wake, than the abortive shelling of Ellwood on February 23, 1942,” wrote Walker A. Tompkins. “According to Japanese military records seized after V-J Day, Captain Nishino went down with his sub when it was destroyed by Allied planes off New Caledonia on August 19, 1943. He took to his watery grave the details of why he chose to attack Ellwood or what actually took place on the evening in 1942.”

Presidential History in Santa Barbara

On this Presidents Day Weekend, here’s  a look back at local history… on May 9th, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Santa Barbara, California. Roosevelt was the second President to visit Santa Barbara, Benjamin Harrison was the first 1891, and after the stop noted in the excerpt, he toured the historic Old Mission.   Below is a brief summary from the newspaper.


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Remember Gemina, the Crooked-Neck Giraffe?

germinaSanta Barbara’s famous giraffe with the crooked neck died seven years ago today. Gemina was a 12-foot-tall Baringo giraffe who captivated Santa Barbara Zoo goers for over 20 years. She was born without any deformities but her neck soon took on a pronounced zigzag – a near ninety degree curve so unusual that scientists had not seen anything like it since 1902. Despite her rare deformity, Gemina lived six years longer than the average life for a giraffe. She came to Santa Barbara Zoo at the tender age of one.

Happy Herb Peterson Day

Happy 7th annual Herb Peterson Day! In honor of the man who invented the Egg McMuffin in Santa Barbara, the six local franchises will be selling the popular breakfast sandwich for only $1 today. Mr. Peterson created the Egg McMuffin in 1971 and the first sandwich was served on State Street. Peterson passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives in the form of eggs, grilled Canadian bacon, cheese, and a toasted and buttered English muffin.


A View of Santa Barbara in January, 1835

As we ring in 2015, here’s a historical view of Santa Barbara in January, 1835

“Lie the mission and town of Santa Barbara, on a low plain, but little above the level of the sea, covered with grass, though entirely without trees, and surrounded on three sides by an amphitheater of mountains, which slant off to the distance of fifteen or twenty miles. The mission stands a little back of the town, and is a large building, or rather collection of buildings, in the center of which is a high tower, with a belfry of five bells,” Richard Henry Dana, Jr. wrote is his classic, Two Years Before the Mast.

“The town lies a little nearer to the beach – about half a mile from it – and is composed of one-story houses built of sun-baked clay, or adobe, some of them whitewashed, with red tiles on the roof. I should judge that there were about a hundred of them; and in the midst of them stands the Presidio, or fort built of the same materials and apparently but little stronger. The town is finely situated, with a bay in the front, and an amphitheater of hills behind,” Dana Jr. concluded in his 1835 voyage around the California coastline.

New Year’s Stories from Santa Barbara County

On New Year’s Day of 1874, all of Santa Barbara County which lay east of the Rincon broke away to become Ventura County. This was brought about by the Ventura district supervisor, Thomas R. Bard, who later became a State Senator.

Within a few years, according to Walker A. Tompkins, the people in Lompoc also decided that it would be handier for them if Lompoc could also be a county seat. “It takes all day by horse or stagecoach to reach the courthouse in Santa Barbara,” complained the Lompoc farmers. “That is too far to go every time we need to transact business. If Ventura can be a county seat, why can’t Lompoc?
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Pearl Harbor and Santa Barbara

The Congress, by Public Law has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day;” but, did you know that the first Japanese attack on the United States occurred in Goleta? Hawaii was not a state at the time of the Pearl Harbor attacks and on February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine shelled the Ellwood Oil Field west of Goleta, triggering an invasion scare along the West Coast.

Although only a pumphouse and catwalk at one oil well were damaged, Captain Nishino Kozo radioed Tokyo that he had left Santa Barbara in flames. No casualties were reported and the total cost of the damage was estimated at approximately $750.

A Day to Honor Saint Barbara

stbarbaraDecember 4th… the feast day of Saint Barbara.

The legend of St. Barbara – dedicated to Christ, allegedly beheaded by her father between 235-238. Saint Barbara gained her crown of martyrdom on December 4, 306 and joined her true Father in Heaven.

Her Prayer:
Father in heaven, who among the other miracles of Your power, have given to men and women of holy faith the victory of martyrdom, grant, we beseech You, that we, who are celebrating the birthday to life eternal of Saint Barbara, your virgin and martyr, may, through her intercession, on day receive the reward of eternal life in your heavenly kingdom. Amen

Her Story
According to legend, Saint Barbara was the extremely beautiful daughter of a wealthy heathen named Dioscorus. Because of her singular beauty and fearful that she be demanded in marriage and taken away from him, he jealously shut her up in a tower to protect her from the outside world.

While in the tower, she was tutored by philosophers, orators and poets. From them she learned of and converted to Christianity. As her belief became firm, she directed that the builders redesign the tower her father had designed, adding another window so that three windows would symbolize the Holy Trinity.

When her father saw the tower, he was enraged at the changes and was even more infuriated when Barbara acknowledged that she was a Christian. He dragged her before the courts of the province, which decreed that she be tortured and put to death by beheading. Dioscorus himself carried out the death sentence. On his way home he was struck by lightening and his body consumed.

PS: Her imprisonment led to her association with towers, then the construction and maintenance of them, then to their military uses. The lightning that avenged her murder led to asking her protection against fire and lightning, and her patronage of firefighters, etc. Her association with things military and with death that falls from the sky led to her patronage of all things related to artillery.

She is the Patron Saint of: Architects, Builders, Carpenters, Firefighters, Masons, Miners, Construction & Electrical Workers, Mathematicians, Artillerymen, Geologists and Military Engineers

Invoked against: Lightening, Fire, Sudden Death

Founding of the Santa Barbara Mission

228 years ago today…. Mission Santa Barbara, the tenth of the California missions, was established on the Feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1786. Padre Junipero Serra, who had founded the first nine missions, had died two years earlier. It was Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, his successor, who raised the cross.

Photo by Bill Heller photography

Here’s a closer look out our Mission Santa Barbara from this year’s Mission Week:

Mission Santa Barbara was founded on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, by Father Fermín Lasuén, who had taken over the presidency of the California mission chain upon the death of Father-Presidente Junípero Serra. It was rededicated December 16, when the new Governor of California, Pedro Fages, could attend. Mission Santa Barbara is the tenth of twenty one California Missions and is known as the “Queen of the Missions.” It is the namesake of the city of Santa Barbara.

Mission Santa Barbara is the only California Mission to remain under the leadership of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M) since its founding. Today its parish is a church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Mission itself is owned by the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara, the local parish rents the church from the Franciscans.

Santa Barbara was the third mission established in the land of the Chumash people, this one near the native site of Xana’yan, a Chumash village that existed in Mission Canyon. The neophytes (baptized Indians) were referred to as Barbareños (after the mission).

Early missionaries built three different churches during the first few years, each larger than its predecessor. The earthquake of 1812 destroyed the third adobe church of 1794. The present church, built in stone, was started in 1815 and dedicated in September 1820, it had only one tower. In 1831 a second tower was added, it fell in 1832 and was rebuilt in 1834. In 1925 another earthquake damaged the Mission and in 1950, cracks began to appear in the façade as some of the materials used in the 1925 repairs weakened the church and it had to be rebuilt again with steel-reinforced concrete. The stone facing retains the contours, dimension and appearance of the original.

The Neoclassic facade was inspired by a mission archives copy of the Spanish edition of The Six Books of Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect of 1st century B.C. The work is one of the most important sources of modern knowledge of Roman building methods as well as the planning and design of structures, both large (aqueducts, buildings, baths, harbours) and small (machines, measuring devices, instruments).

The appearance of the inside of the church has not been altered significantly since 1820. The original Moorish fountain built in 1808 is still intact near the entrance to the Mission.

The Mission church is filled with original and noteworthy paintings and statues, including a unique abalone-encrusted Chumash altar dated to the 1790s. The two largest religious paintings in all of the missions are at Santa Barbara. One painting, 168″ high by 103″ wide, depicts the “Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin.” It is thought to have originated in the Mexico City studio of Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera (1695-1768) and was acquired by the mission in 1798. “The Crucifixion” (168″ by 126″) is not attributed to a specific artist. Mission Santa Barbara has the oldest unbroken tradition of choral singing among the California Missions and of any California institution. The Mission archives also contain one of the richest collections of colonial Franciscan music manuscripts known today.