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Save the Original Hangars Petition!

These two hangars are coming up on 100 years old. What better way to celebrate their birthday than to give them some love?

If you know anything about our local history, you know that a lot of the pioneers of American aviation, like Amelia Earhart, spent time in Santa Barbara. And guess where they landed their aircraft? At these two little hangars in Goleta.

The history of these hangars runs deep, but they continue to be neglected. There are plenty of reasons why the city of Santa Barbara won’t do anything to save these historic structures. Study after study has been paid for, but no action is ever taken. It’s high time some elected officials step up and get it done.

The main excuse for not restoring them is that they sit in a floodway. Yes, the whole airport sits smack dab in the middle of a slough! And yet the two hangars have managed to survive for nearly 100 years and countless floods. In 1935 they sat in the very same floodway they sit in today.

During the war the Marines nicknamed the airport. “The swamp” and “Lake Santa Barbara”. But the hangars survived.

In 1967 they still sat in a floodway. But it looks like the floodway was the safest place in this storm!

In 1995 the whole airport was flooded, and the hangars survived.

This year, flood waters from a huge storm again closed down the busy airport.

But the 92 year old hangars that are barely managing to stand from years of neglect, survived yet another flood.

In fact, the two hangars location was better off than a lot of other parts of the airport!

So, if flooding is a good reason not to put any money into saving the hangars, then they should just shut down the whole airport for the same reason.

The time for excuses is over. It’s time for action. These are simple structures, that would be simple to restore. The city of Santa Barbara could do something worthwhile with these historic structures. Something this city council could be proud of. When Santa Barbara used a shoestring to annex an airport in Goleta, they inherited these historic structures. Now is the time to take advantage of a rare opportunity and preserve the first two hangars, the Genesis of the Santa Barbara Airport for future generations to learn and remember.

Here’s a link to some more of the history of the two original hangars– TWO HANGARS

We have made an online petition to help motivate our elected officials. Maybe if enough people show support, the city of Santa Barbara will take note, cut through the red tape and excuses, and get it done.

Please click this link to sign the petition- and thank you!

Sources- Adam Lewis, Ryan Cullom, Tom Smothermon, Walker Tompkins, Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, Max Rosenberg

Categories: Goleta History

Tagged as:

Tom Modugno

19 replies

  1. A number of smaller airports existed in the Santa Barbara area in the early years of aviation.
    Realizing the potential of this location, General Western corporation choose the Goleta airfield for their aviation business. Without their foresight, the airport of today may never have been established. It was the train that brought people from California to Santa Barbara, but it was the plane that brought people from all over the US and the world. These may be two small hangars, but have contributed in a very large part, to the history of Santa Barbara.

  2. Please save these structures so VERY important in the Santa Barbara / Goleta history.

    1. Please save these two structures. They are very important in the early history of Santa Barbara and Goleta.

  3. Friends,

    We call it “Goleta the Good Land” for a reason.

    It is the combination of land and sea, community and open space that make up this special place.

    My background and interconnection with the area is not as long as some, yet it’s probably longer than the majority. My father and mother choose the Santa Barbara/Goleta area to live in starting in 1957.

    Having had lived there for fifty years it’s really home to me.

    I was schooled here: private Seventh-Day Adventist elementary school, La Colina (before GVJH), San Marcos and the first year that Dos Pueblos opened and SBCC overlooking the SB Harbor.

    I learned to surf at the Poles off of the Marine Biology Lab at College Point (UCSB),.

    I made hundreds of friends in this golden place.

    I met my lovely wife Carlye Hummel in this land, married her and moved away.

    We both grew up as children here.

    We came back for visits at least once a year.

    But in recent years we had neglected to closely inspect the Hollister Avenue corridor from Ellwood to downtown and the western approach to UCSB.

    A Goleta local told us to look at what “they” did.

    We were shocked by what we found.

    Bigger is not better,

    Modern is not better.

    Newer is not better.

    Gentrification is NOT better.


    Proper scale is better.

    The original Goleta style is better.

    Goleta flavor is better.

    Keeping, maintaining, and restoring is BEST.

    Fellow Santa Barbara and Goleta citizens, please band together and do whatever it takes to protect and preserve what remains.

    That means every square inch of land from the Gaviota tunnel to Rincon Point.

    When I look at Carpinteria compared to Santa Barbara and Goleta I hang my head in shame.

    Well done Carp.

    Not so much SB.

    Goleta you can still turn it around.

    Do something extraordinary with the SB airport hangars, don’t sit by idly with folded hands.

    Don’t let it happen.

    Take charge of your future, for it’s your grandchildren’s future also.

    Cheers and blessings,
    Danny Strever

  4. I absolutely support the saving of these historic structures. I would like to see them turned into air museums where the youth of our communities can relive the many struggles and accomplishments the forefathers of aviation faced. With the help of retired Vets in the area, we could and should Save Our Hangars!

    1. Excellent solution, it’s a natural. Where ever I travel to I set apart time to visit the aviation museums in each community.

      Whether it be at Wright Patterson in Ohio, the Smithsonian on the Washington D.C. capital mall, Dulles Airport or at Pearl Harbor/Ford Island.

      This needs to be implemented right away, go forward in planning a restoration of the hangers and gathering of support in every needed area.

      A suggestion, I personally would emphasize WW ll and the building of the (Pregnant) Guppy on the airport property. There should be enough memorabilia and recorded data to make some very attractive displays.

      Donated aircraft will become available once the word gets out.

  5. It would be a shame to loose these historic hangars that predate the large WWII build up of the airport. I worked out of one of them in the late 70’s repairing Twin Beech D-18’s that flew FedEx Freight from SBA to LAX and occasionally merchandise from Mexico.



  7. Save the hangars Save the Hangars SAVE THE HANGARS!
    Checking in on how the petition is going for signatures?

    Thanks for the best history of a city website Tom.

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