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Tom Modugno

Goleta Asphalt Mine

If you know what you’re looking at, this boring clump of ivy on the UCSB campus holds a lot of historical importance. This is all that’s left of Goleta’s once booming asphalt industry. But let’s start at the beginning. Tar, oil and asphalt have always been present in Goleta. The […]

Two Hangars

If you drive down Fairview by the airport, just past McLeans Auto Body, make a right at Matthews St. and follow the signs to Fed Ex. Keep driving past Fed Ex and you will drive right into these two historic hangars. They’re easily overlooked, but have sat here proudly since […]

Saving the Barnsdall Gas Station

“The only thing more destructive to historical landmarks than a bulldozer is procrastination on the part of preservationists.” Walker A. Tompkins, historian It’s still there. Right where it’s been since 1929, when oil rich executives decided to build a showpiece filling station to celebrate the wild success of their Ellwood […]

Rexall Goleta

This classic photograph of Old Town Goleta in the 1950s has been making the rounds on social media for a while now. There are several cool things about it, like the angled parking, the classic cars, the streetlight dangling above Hollister, the yellow pedestrian crossing sign in the middle of […]

Refugio Palms

Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast and a longtime local favorite. Campers, fisherman, hikers and surfers all enjoy the peaceful solitude and refuge found there. The statuesque palm trees that line the cove give a distinctive and majestic look to the area. Over the […]

Old Town Goleta Comparison 2

A while back, we did a page comparing this photo of Old Town Goleta to today’s Old Town. We thought it was time to do some more comparisons, since the more things change…..the more Old Town stays the same. Happily. So let’s begin! Above is the corner of Nectarine and […]

Isla Vista

Isla Vista. The mere mention of the name brings a flood of emotions, opinions and memories to a local. A lot has happened on this small area of land in a short amount of years. When you cram thousands of people into less than two square miles, you can expect […]

Orient Hand Laundry

We recently lost another long time Goleta business. Orient Hand Laundry closed their doors in 2023. When we heard they were closing, I went over to talk to the owner, Kin Yu, who has been an Old Town acquaintance for decades. I found him and his wife cleaning up the […]

Haskells Beach

Haskells Beach has long been one of Goleta’s best kept secrets.  A hidden jewel that has been popular with Goleta locals for decades, but it’s much more than just a pretty beach. Haskells has been a pleasing location for humans all throughout history. While Chumash is the most commonly known name […]

The Beck House

If you’ve ever gone to the Santa Barbara Humane Society, or just driven past it, you have probably seen this historic old farmhouse sitting proudly at the front of the property. It’s down near the end of Overpass Road, on what was once the Beck walnut farm. Luckily, it is […]

Model A Day

Recently I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at a meeting of the Santa Barbara Model A Club about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, the Tecolote Canyon. I was happy to do so, and we had a great time, but my big payoff […]

St. Raphael’s Church

St. Raphael’s Catholic Church has been at the same location on Hollister Avenue for as long as most of us can remember. But the church has a long history in Goleta that goes back to another century and a few different locations. During the mission period, small chapels were built […]

Ellwood Pier Removal

There has been a lot of media about the removal of the old oil piers at Ellwood lately. And unfortunately, it seems this has caused a lot of confusion. Headlines like, “Two oil piers set to be removed at Haskell’s Beach” and “Haskell’s Beach May Be Free of Oil Piers […]

The Main-Begg Farmhouse

Not long ago, we did a story called Saviors of Goleta History. The Main-Begg Farmhouse project is a perfect example of what we were talking about. A group of forward-thinking locals are working to restore and preserve a beautiful example of an early Goleta farmhouse built in 1911. The Main-Begg […]

Saviors of Goleta History

Our local history stays alive through the efforts of individuals and occasionally socially conscious corporations. Certain people can see past the five minutes directly in front of them and realize the value of preserving our past for future generations. The folks at the Goleta Valley Historical Society have done a […]

Dos Pueblos Chumash

Dos Pueblos is Spanish for two villages, but to locals, that’s the name of our high school. And the name of a ranch on the outskirts of town. But why would this ranch and our high school be named “Two Villages”? Good question…. Dos Pueblos is in fact the oldest […]

Bird Island

Just off the coast from Sandpiper golf course, these four structures sit quietly. Several times a day people look at them and ask each other, what are those? And usually the answer is a random guess. Here’s the story. In the early 1930s, Ellwood was a booming oil field. It […]