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Gaviota Village

Driving up the coast from Goleta, just before Gaviota State Beach, you may notice this rock wall surrounded by pine trees off to the right. It doesn’t look like much today, but these are the few remnants that are left of a grand plan that just wasn’t meant to be. These old iron […]

Refugio Palms

Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast and a longtime local favorite. Campers, fisherman, hikers and surfers all enjoy the peaceful solitude and refuge found there. The statuesque palm trees that line the cove give a distinctive and majestic look to the area.Over the past […]

The Gaviota Pass

Goleta is a unique place. We are surrounded by the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains on one side and the blue Pacific Ocean on the other. The steep mountains run into the sea at Gaviota and Rincon, isolating us from the outside world. This was a predicament for the first European […]

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 campaign […]

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 […]

Naples

Most folks know there’s a stretch of the Gaviota Coast that’s referred to as Naples. But do they know how it got this name? It was first called Naples all the way back in 1887, by a wealthy world traveler named John H. Williams and his wife Alice. They had a […]

Mescaltitlan Island

Every time you drive to Campus Point, you probably don’t even notice this obscure little hill. But before World War II, this lump of dirt was a sizeable island and in ancient times it had a huge, thriving Chumash village on it. The purple line shows the area that was […]

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 […]

Goleta Asphalt

If you know what you’re looking at, this boring clump of ivy holds a lot of historical importance. This is all that’s left of Goleta’s once booming asphalt industry. In 1890, the Alcatraz Asphalt Company leased a 400-acre tract of land  that had a surface tar pit on it, from […]

Bishop Ranch

When passing through the heart of Goleta on the 101, you can’t help but notice a large open space on the mountain side of the freeway,  between Los Carneros and Storke. This is referred to by locals as Bishop Ranch. Over the past few years, this beautiful piece of land has been […]