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Tom Modugno

Goleta Train Depot

The iconic Goleta Train Depot reminds us of a simpler time, when Goleta was just a small farm town. It is beautifully restored and preserved and it sits next to the Stow House on Los Carneros Road. Someone recently asked if the railroad used to run along Los Carneros Road. […]

Goleta’s P.O.W Camp

If you’re driving on the 101, just south of El Capitan, look towards the ocean and you may see this old wooden structure. Believe it or not, it is the remains of a water tower from a prisoner of war camp! Most folks have no idea, but Goleta had Nazi […]

Goleta School Kids 1925

  Goleta native and history aficionado, Judy Ensign, recently let me borrow this great photo of Goleta school kids from 1925. They are standing in front of the Goleta School, not to be confused with the Goleta Union School on Hollister Ave. This beautiful school was built in 1911 and located at […]

Who was El Capitan?

  Everybody loves El Capitan State Beach, a jewel on the Gaviota Coast. But why is it called the Captain? Who exactly was the Captain? El Capitan was Don Jose Francisco Ortega. He was the first European to set foot on Goleta soil and he played a big role in the history […]

The Kelloggs

  Kellogg Avenue is one of Goleta’s main roads. But who was Kellogg? Well, the Kelloggs were a successful family and they did a lot for the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara. It all started with this guy. This sturdy young man is Florentine Erwin Kellogg and he was an American […]

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…. European explorers nicknamed this area Dos […]

Stephen Rutherford

  Ever wonder who this street in Old Town Goleta is named after? We did. And we found out about one of Goleta’s most motivated immigrants. Stephen Rutherford was a sharp real estate investor and he played a major role in the development of Goleta, but very little was written […]

What’s A Goleta?

Short answer: It’s a schooner. Why is our town named after a schooner? There are a few schools of thought on that question. One thing’s for sure, a lot of schooners were in and around the slough throughout the years. In Spanish times, this area was referred to by Californians as “the […]

Ellwood Gas Station

  If you’re driving past Sandpiper Golf course on Hollister Avenue, you can’t help but notice this distinguished looking building, standing proud among the weeds. An almost forgotten landmark in Goleta, the Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station is a reminder of a simpler time. Located beside what was once a vast oil field, […]

Architectural Influence

   The historic Ellwood gas station was meant to make a statement. In the late 1920’s the Barnsdall Rio Grande oil company wanted to build a filling station that was second to none. They interviewed many of the most prestigious architectural firms and eventually settled on Morgan, Walls and Clement out […]

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 […]

Waiting for Salvation

When this building was constructed in 1929, surely no one imagined it would still be around in 2016. And who would have imagined that such a tiny little structure could become such a powerful pawn in a political game? Unfortunately, that appears to be just what is happening. On December 20, […]

Victory at Ellwood? Not Quite….

On June 11th, 2015, officials from the City of Goleta and Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts gathered to announce that the property and structure would be donated to the city. Rumors of the donation had been circulating for a while and one press conference was cancelled, but this time it happened, or so […]

Hollister Arch

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 […]

The Birth of Haskells Pier

  Haskells pier. A definitive marker for the end of the developed coastline and the beginning of the Gaviota Coast. If you grew up in Goleta, this pier has been in the background of lots of beach day photos…And in the foreground of many beautiful sunset shots. But it’s more than […]

Winchester’s Secret

As you have already learned, Dr. Winchester was a fine, upstanding citizen, held in high regard by even the most elite in early Santa Barbara.So imagine the eyebrows being raised when newspapers all across the country accused him of smuggling opium and illegal aliens!According to the Los Angeles Times on […]

The Good Doctor Winchester

Winchester Canyon. Quintessential Goleta. At the far west end of Goleta, this is one of the last places that looks like the Goleta of old. Somehow untouched by the all powerful developers, agriculture is still the order of the day and wildlife abounds. So how did this beautiful canyon get the […]

Arroyo Quemada

Have you ever heard of the Baron Ranch hiking trail? Most folks haven’t, but it’s a fine public trail a couple miles west of Refugio State Beach and it’s worth exploring. Pronounced Bear-own Ranch, the beginning of the trail runs through a 1,000 acre ranch owned and managed by Santa Barbara County.  […]

Maria Ygnacia Creek

“Every part of all this soil is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley… has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.” (Chief Seattle) Driving north on Highway 101 between Turnpike Avenue and Patterson Avenue, there’s a small and simple sign on the side of the […]

The Farren Brothers

  At the far west end of Goleta there’s a road that for years only locals knew about. It doesn’t really go anywhere because it ends at a locked gate, but the view is the attraction. Looking back down at the rolling empty hillsides gives you a glimpse into the past of […]