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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 177 South  Patterson Avenue. It served Goleta until the Goleta Union School was built in 1927 which you can read about elsewhere on this website.

Looking closely at Judy’s photo, I couldn’t help but wonder what life was like for these kids.

What hardships they faced and fun they had. And their futures….. 1925, America was about to go through some hard times…

So I started really zooming in on these kids, trying to get a feel for their mindset. How hard was their life? Or was it really “The Good Old Days”?

They say our kids today grow up fast, but some of these guys look wise beyond their years. And judging by their coveralls, looks like they probably worked after school, maybe before too! These kids were farmers.

No fancy dresses for these Goleta girls and they also look quite mature.

But kids are kids, and they’ll have their fun.

Looks like these guys were sharing a discreet joke .

This guy, not so discreet…

I see a little mischief in this guys eyes.

Someone told these kids to keep their hands at their sides…

These fellows were probably in their late 20’s when we got into WW II. You gotta wonder how many of them served overseas and what they went through….. A couple of these gals are sporting a fad of the day. Flapper headbands. Probably about as fashionable as their teacher would allow.

Curios what the little  button on this young man’s shirt said. And the fella on the right looks wise beyond his years. Even has a ink pen in his coverall pocket! Turns out that young man is George Begg. He grew up to be a welder, a farmer, a Sheriff’s Deputy and an investigator for the District Attorney!

And let’s not overlook the all important educators, keeping a watchful eye over the entire scene.In the back row, you’ll find little Gene Lillard. This is Judy’s father and he was 11 or 12 when this was taken.

These are his brothers.

The amazing thing about these Lillard boys was that 2 of them went on to play professional baseball!

Gene and Bill Lillard both played for years in the minor league with the San Francisco Seals.

For a while they were on the team with another pair of brothers, Dom and Joe DiMaggio. Of course, Joe would soon steal the show…

But, both Lillard brothers made it to the Major Leagues for a few years, playing for the Cubs, the Cardinals and the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Giants.

The War took Bill to the Pacific Theater where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart. Gene came back to Goleta and kept the farm running and started his family, which included Judy, who gave us the school picture! Quite a story, and I’m sure we’ve just scratched the surface……




Sources: Judy Ensign, Wikipedia, Pinterest,







Categories: Goleta History

Tagged as:

Tom Modugno

12 replies

  1. At my grandfather’s (Charles Arthur Jones, Sr.) funeral service around Dec. 20, 1954, Gene Lillard was the first one to sign the guest register. Moe Lillard also signed it. Joe L. Cavaletto and Louis D. Cavalletto signed along with Will Pagliotti, Mr. & Mrs. J. M. Pagliotti and Mr. & Mrs. Pete Pagliotti. My grandfather was the Goleta Constable for several years.

    1. DeeDee, Do you see any of the Jones boys (or Winnie) in the photo? There is one I suspect could be Bill. I know my dad, David, was born in 1918 and was in first grade in the Goleta Union School. Just wondered whether you knew? These are fabulous photos and history!

    2. DeeDee, I wonder whether you can identify any of the Jones boys in this photo? I see one who might be our Uncle Bill. My dad (David) was born in 1918 and attended the GUGS on Hollister, but Bill is the next one older than Dad. Wonderful to see these photos and read about old Goleta. What a gift!


  3. Was David Begg of the Santa Barbara High School class of 1956 a relative of Jane Begg ? He was a friend of mine, I graduated class of 1954 @ SBHS.

  4. Hi! I was so happy to see a picture of my mother at GOLETA School! Is there a way for me to get a picture? I am willing to pay for a copy.

  5. I think I’ve found my favorite thing to do during this Corona flu Pandemic….. Learning more about Goleta’s History. Thank you Tom and to all of the individuals (Judy!) for the photographs and personal stories. This makes me love Goleta even more.

  6. Hello just want to thank whoever is responsible for this story of GUS. It was great seeing all the pictures and especially of my mother. A picture I had never seen. Now to see how to get a copy.

    Thank you so much,

    Esther Cruz Velarde

  7. I believe I may have another school photo. It was labeled Toleta CA but the front door looks very similiar. They are older children, including my grandmother and it was about 1917 when she was around 14 years old. If anyone is interested, I can be emailed. I would love to learn more about this school. Amy Lewis [email protected], if emailing please refer to Gen Freitag 1917 Toleta 8th grade pic.

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