Menu Home

Tecolote Canyon

At the far west end of Goleta the Tecolote Canyon winds down from the uppermost reaches of the Santa Ynez mountains. The canyon descends rapidly into a pastoral valley and down to a beach that that has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. At the mouth of the […]

The Telephone Station

Near the corner of Patterson and Hollister Avenue sits this quaint little building. With ornate window designs, fresh paint and a neat red tile roof, it resembles a proud senior citizen, all decked out in her Sunday Best. A well kept remnant from a simpler time that has never stopped […]

Saviors of Goleta History

Our local history stays alive through the efforts of individuals and occasionally socially conscious corporations. Certain people can see past the five minutes directly in front of them and realize the value of preserving our past for future generations. The folks at the Goleta Valley Historical Society have done a […]

How Turnpike Got Its Name

We all know and use Turnpike Road, but have you thought about the name? If you Google turnpike it says “an expressway, especially one on which a toll is charged“. Well our Turnpike isn’t really an expressway, and there’s no charge…so…why that name? Blame it on the stagecoach! Back in […]

Two Hangars

If you drive down Fairview by the airport, just past McLeans Auto Body, make a right at Matthews St. and follow the signs to Fed Ex. Keep driving past Fed Ex and you will drive right into these two historic hangars. They’re easily overlooked, but have sat here proudly since […]

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, the building […]

San Marcos Dairy

Recently, a bottle collecting friend was kind enough to give me some beautiful old Goleta bottles. One of them was from the San Marcos Dairy, which has been on my short list for a while since another historian friend, Adam Lewis, had asked me to figure out where exactly it […]

Fairview Avenue

Fairview Avenue is one of Goleta’s main thoroughfares today. But who knew it’s also one of the oldest routes in Goleta? It was first laid out way back in 1842, as the eastern boundary of Nicolas Den’s Dos Pueblos land grant. Although it wasn’t actually a road quite yet, this […]

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 […]

The Kelloggs

Kellogg Avenue is one of Goleta’s main roads. But who was Kellogg? Well, the Kelloggs were a successful family and they did a lot for the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara. It all started with this guy. This sturdy young man is Florentine Erwin Kellogg and he was an American pioneer. […]

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, […]

Hollister Arch

Take a drive up Glen Annie Road and you might notice this unusual arch over a random driveway. It’s more than just a pretty gate, it is yet another overlooked Goleta Historical Monument. In 1870 W.W. Hollister bought 5000 acres from the heirs of Nicholas Den. He named his new […]

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 […]

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’s First Parade

In December of 2016, the Old Town Community Association held the first Christmas parade in the history of Goleta. Some folks thought it was the first parade ever in Old Town, but it was definitely not, just the first Christmas parade. This was most likely first ever parade in Goleta. Lifelong Goleta resident Marilyn […]

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 […]

Goleta Union School

  This distinguished looking building with its majestic Spanish architecture sits in the heart of Old Town Goleta. A front park with a gazebo, beautiful trees and a winding brick path give it the feel of a town square. Known today as the Goleta Community Center, every local knows this as the hub […]

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 […]