Saturday, July 27, 2019

Santa Barbara, California

Let's visit Santa Barbara! It's is a coastal city located about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and it is famous for its beaches and its beauty. My sister went to UCSB, so I would visit her there occasionally, though I can't claim to know the city well.

Here is a 1952 view, which I thought might have been taken from the city's courthouse tower - until my brother in-law pointed out that one of the buildings in the distance was the courthouse. Oops. He thought it might have been taken from an area known as "the Mesa". Anyway, no wonder people want to live here. It helps to be wealthy!

My bro in-law helpfully pointed out the Arlington Theatre (the gleaming white building in the distance with the tower), the Granada building in the center, and the Courthouse, hard to see, but  to the right of the Granada. Up on the hillside to the right is the old junior high school. 

I found this contemporary photo online, and even though things have obviously changed to some degree, it still has that laid-back look. And you can see the same buildings that were pointed out in the vintage photo.

Speaking of the Courthouse, here's a 1952 photo of that edifice, which was completed in 1929. The style is "Spanish Colonial Revivalist". The "El Mirador" clock tower is 85 feet high and affords a great view of the city below. It may or may not have been struck by lightning in 1955.

I love this nice shot of Mission Santa Barbara (founded in 1786). My sister got married there! Like most California Missions, this one has suffered earthquake damage, and the towers that you see here were built in 1927. The wonderful vintage autos and vintage people all add to this "pretty as a postcard" photo. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Santa Barbara!


TokyoMagic! said...

I've never been to Santa Barbara, but if it's only 60 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, maybe I should go check it out! I've also never been to one of the California Missions, and there is one not too far from me (in San Gabriel).

I think there might have been a fire somewhere in the city, in that first pic. There's some gray smoke over on the left side of the photo, which is sort of blending in with the mountains.

Nanook said...


Yes, those "wonderful autos..." Fer instance: a black, 1954 Cadillac - and I'm betting a limousine; a white/green 1956 Chevrolet; a red, 1954 'Cross-Country' Rambler (w/luggage rack); a beige, 1946-48 Dodge convertible (w/"fadeaway" fenders-!); a 1942-45 dark green 'streamline' sedan Pontiac; a black, 1951-? Cadillac; and finally a 1954 or '55 Ford station wagon. (And those vinatge people...)

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

California mountains look nice but a little barren to me. I'm used to lots of tree cover here in PA!

stu29573 said...

Fun Fact #24632.56- Santa Barbara was named after Carlos Santana and Barbara Eaton, and not, as is commonly believed Santa Clause and his wife, Barbara (aka "Babs") Clause. Now you know!

Melissa said...

It's funny; as an Easterner I always mentally associate palm trees with fun vacation spots. So, at first glance it seems incongruous to see lovely palm trees around something as prosaic as a courthouse!

I love the fountain in the last picture.

Andrew, yes! Mountains are supposed to be covered with thick evergreen forest, with channels cut through it for roads and telephone lines!

stu29573 said...

And yes, "Clause" is the original spelling...(never post before caffeine...)

JC Shannon said...

Here in western Montana, those would be considered foothills. They are beautiful none the less. Love the classic cars, the days of real Detroit steel. The new models were introduced with great fanfare. Today, a Toyota looks like a Chevy that looks like Ford. We had a 1958 Chevy, and I can remember when one of our neighbors bought a '59 Impala. It was so modern looking. All us kids wanted a ride. Ah, those were the days. Thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

I always say modern cars just look like cough drops with wheels. I get the aerodynamics thing, but good Lord, they're ugly!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I’m actually kind of surprised that you have never been to SB. It is a ways from you, though; for me I can be there in about an hour. I’ve gone there for the occasional day trip, and of course when my sister lived there I went more often.

Nanook, I knew you’d love those cars! Thanks for the IDs.

Penna. Andrew, SoCal is definitely much hotter and drier than Pennsylvania! I miss the green Appalachians, but I love the CA landscape on its own merits.

stu29573, you answered all of my “too afraid to ask” questions!!

Melissa, palm trees are not scarce in SoCal! I actually looked to see if that fountain was still at the SB mission, and it is still gurgling away.

stu29573, ha ha, I think most of us have made that spelling error - it’s just a reflex to add that “e”.

Jonathan, oh I know that those mountains are nothing compared to the many mountain ranges in Montana. However, CA also has Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states! It’s nowhere near Santa Barbara, though. I love old car ads when flipping through vintage magazines, they look so great, and there’s a real sense of excitement for the release of a new model. Also, I went to a car museum last weekend - even a person like me, with no car knowledge, can love those beautiful old autos.

stu29573, I kind of agree that modern cars are generally not that beautiful, BUT… when I see photos from the 80’s, I think the cough drop look is much better than the boxy “K-car” look!

Chuck said...

I'm looking, but I can't see the Psych offices.

JG said...

Major, these are fine photos today.

I've been to Sandy Babs several times, for business and pleasure (never both at once), but the last trip was a while ago.

It's a nice little town, but like so many places, money is spoiling it. It's getting too cute for it's own good. Being architecturally unique and having lots of boutique shops is great (and expensive) but regular people need places to buy shoes for their kids etc.

The Courthouse is a noted architectural gem and worth a visit all on it's own, if you lean to that sort of thing.

I am concerned about the smoke in the first photo, should we call someone? I guess they put it out, since it's not visible in the second photo.

Thanks Major.