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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Ellwood Special

Have you ever noticed there’s a street off Hollister Avenue in western Goleta called Ellwood Station Road? You may not have, because there’s not much on it and it goes pretty much nowhere. But in the late 1800’s this road led to a very important train station, and the end […]

The Tecolote Cut

  Ever notice these signs along the side of the freeway? El Camino Real means The Royal Highway in Spanish and it was created by the Spaniards to get between the missions throughout California. Originally, the Camino Real was just a footpath, but in 1859 the Overland Mail Company started a […]

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 […]

Attack on Ellwood

At 7 PM on Feb. 23, 1942, Goleta residents were settling in to listen to President Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat on the radio. The Japanese had just attacked Pearl Harbor two and a half months earlier and tensions were high for folks living on the coast. Meanwhile, a 365 foot long Japanese […]

Kate Bell’s Cactus

If you ever walk from Haskells Beach towards Santa Barbara, you probably have noticed the hillside below Sandpiper golf course has a large, unruly patch of cactus growing on it. We’ve always seen it there, but never really thought much about it. We figured the oil companies planted it to […]

Tar

If you spend any time at all on the beaches of Goleta, you know what tar is. Some days it’s plentiful other days, there isn’t any. Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t understand why it’s there. Lots of folks assume it’s due to the big oil rigs out in the channel, […]

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 […]

Who’s Ellwood?

Most Goleta folks know of an area called Ellwood. It’s used in conversation and directions, it even shows up on maps, but do you know why is it called that? According to this map, there’s an Ellwood Oil field, an Ellwood Canyon, and Ellwood sits proudly at 86 feet above […]