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Tecolote Canyon

At the far west end of Goleta the Tecolote Canyon winds down from the uppermost reaches of the Santa Ynez mountains. The canyon descends rapidly into a pastoral valley and down to a beach that that has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. At the mouth of the […]

The Telephone Station

Near the corner of Patterson and Hollister Avenue sits this quaint little building. With ornate window designs, fresh paint and a neat red tile roof, it resembles a proud senior citizen, all decked out in her Sunday Best. A well kept remnant from a simpler time that has never stopped […]

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 […]

The Ellwood Queen

We all know Ellwood Cooper left his mark on the Goleta Valley, in a good way. He planted thousands of trees around our area and many of them still exist. But there is one tree that stands above them all, literally. The Ellwood Queen is a prime specimen of a […]

The Goleta Slough

The Goleta slough as we know it today is a narrow, semi stagnant waterway that winds through the large marsh beside the airport. Not much to look at really, but believe it or not it was once a large body of water that was used as a port of call […]

How Turnpike Got Its Name

We all know and use Turnpike Road, but have you thought about the name? If you Google turnpike it says “an expressway, especially one on which a toll is charged“. Well our Turnpike isn’t really an expressway, and there’s no charge…so…why that name? Blame it on the stagecoach! Back in […]

Barnsdall Models

Everybody knows and loves this beautiful old building. We have for decades. And we are all waiting patiently for the city to save it. Over the years, countless artists have made their renditions of the little gas station with world class architecture. But recently, a viewer told us they had […]

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 […]

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, the building […]

San Marcos Dairy

Recently, a bottle collecting friend was kind enough to give me some beautiful old Goleta bottles. One of them was from the San Marcos Dairy, which has been on my short list for a while since another historian friend, Adam Lewis, had asked me to figure out where exactly it […]

Fairview Avenue

Fairview Avenue is one of Goleta’s main thoroughfares today. But who knew it’s also one of the oldest routes in Goleta? It was first laid out way back in 1842, as the eastern boundary of Nicolas Den’s Dos Pueblos land grant. Although it wasn’t actually a road quite yet, this […]

Shoestring Annexation

Ever wonder why the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is smack dab in the middle of Goleta? It’s kind of an unusual situation. Look at a map and you’ll see the airport is surrounded by Goleta, but Santa Barbara is connected to the airport via a thin strip of ocean that […]

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 person of European descent to set foot on Goleta soil and he played a big role […]

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 pioneer. […]