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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, […]

Stephen Rutherford

  Ever wonder who this street in Old Town Goleta is named after? We did. And we found out about one of Goleta’s most motivated immigrants. Stephen Rutherford was a sharp real estate investor and he played a major role in the development of Goleta, but very little was written […]

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 […]

Arroyo Quemada

Have you ever heard of the Baron Ranch hiking trail? Most folks haven’t, but it’s a fine public trail a couple miles west of Refugio State Beach and it’s worth exploring. Pronounced Bear-own Ranch, the beginning of the trail runs through a 1,000 acre ranch owned and managed by Santa Barbara County.  […]

The Farren Brothers

At the far west end of Goleta there’s a road that for years only locals knew about. It doesn’t really go anywhere because it ends at a locked gate, but the view is the attraction. Looking back down at the rolling empty hillsides gives you a glimpse into the past of Goleta, […]

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 […]

Goleta and Water

There’s been a lot of talk lately about our drought and the lack of water like it’s a new thing. But a water shortage for Goleta and surrounding areas is nothing new. In fact, it’s been a problem since Europeans settled here. Goleta enjoys a semi-arid climate that averages less than […]

Who was Hollister?

Hollister Avenue. It’s Goleta’s main street and we drive on it everyday.  It runs all the way through Goleta,  from Haskells Beach until it turns into State Street just east of Modoc Road. But who was Hollister? And why is this main thoroughfare named after him? If anybody deserves to have a street named after […]

Rancho Del Cielo

High above the Gaviota Coast, where the Refugio Pass reaches the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains, there exists a grassy hollow, a level break in the dense oak and chaparral forest. Nestled in this dish shaped glade is a small lake with a few nondescript buildings scattered about. From the air, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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

When you’re driving out to Campus Point, you may not 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 […]