Take a drive up Glen Annie Road and you might notice this unusual arch over a random driveway. It’s more than just a pretty gate, it is yet another overlooked Goleta Historical Monument.
In 1870 W.W. Hollister bought 5000 acres from the heirs of Nicholas Den. He named his new ranch Glen Annie, after his wife, and it became an agricultural show place as well as the first ranch in Goleta to be completely surrounded by fencing. Colonel Hollister was one of the wealthiest and most influential residents in California, and he left a lasting impression on Santa Barbara. He was instrumental in the construction of the Arlington Hotel, the Lobero Theater, Stearns Wharf, the Gaviota pier and Hollister Avenue, which he graded and planted with trees. The road that was named after him ended, appropriately enough, at the entrance to his ranch. He wanted the entrance to the Glen Annie Ranch to be noteworthy, so he had this arch constructed in 1873.
The arch was made of redwood, imported by schooner from Santa Cruz, and floated ashore at the Goleta Slough. It was designed in a Victorian style by his father in law, Samuel James, built by chinese laborers, painted white and stood 15 feet high and 30 feet wide. It featured an intricate trip mechanism that was activated by pulling a rope on the right side of the gate, automatically raising and lowering the gate.
From the gate, it was a half mile ride up to the lower ranch buildings, later called Corona Del Mar, and then two miles further up to the Glen Annie mansion, located where the Glen Annie Reservoir is today. In 1890, Colonel Hollister lost his precious ranch to T. B. Bishop after a long and painful court battle, the result of some sloppy paperwork by the executor of the Den estate.
The Chicago based Crown Corporation purchased the property from the Bishop Estate in 1959, who in turn sold it to the Del Webb Corporation in 1961, who had plans to build the research park. After 88 years of court battles and land transactions, the Del Webb Corporation wanted the arch removed. The original site of the gate was at the corner shown above, at Coromar Drive and Hollister Avenue.
A newcomer to Goleta, Howard Goldman came to the rescue. He thought the arch would make a fine entrance to his new 5 acre lemon orchard on Glen Annie Road, so he bought it and had it disassembled. The neighbors were less than thrilled with his plan and they tried to stop Goldman. They didn’t want that “eyesore” in their neighborhood, so he had to get a building permit and then he had it reconstructed it at his entrance. It’s still a thing of beauty, but if you go look for it, respect private property and pay attention to the traffic, times have changed on Glen Annie Ranch.
Justin Ruhge, Walker A. Tompkins