Viva Community Chorus and La Primavera
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 22, 2021

In 1919, Santa Barbarans had learned to work together for the war effort, and the time was ripe for a new era to begin, one that would start with the formation of a community chorus and blossom into a cultural renaissance. The community chorus idea had been borne of the idealism of the Progressive Era […]

Tale of the Hobo Artist: John Dwight Bridge Enters Existential Crisis That Leads Him Around the World
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 20, 2021

In the early 1920s, the artist John Dwight Bridge was a popular and important force in the cultural renaissance fostered by the Community Arts Association. Having proven himself in earlier productions of the Community Arts Players, he may have reached his apex when he took on the role of Nicola, the Bulgarian manservant in George […]

A Successful Prelude: John Dwight Bridge and his Impact on Santa Barbara’s Cultural Renaissance
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 13, 2021

The moon was nearly full that blustery March night in 1933, when a lone figure paused on the platform of Salina, Kansas, the closest train depot to the geographic center of the nation. Withdrawing the last of his money from a pocket of his corduroy trousers, he carefully placed the quarter and nickel on the […]

Red-Letter Days for CAMA
By Hattie Beresford   |   March 11, 2021

On March 6, 1920, the Morning Press reported that the petroleum industry was booming in Ventura, prohibition agents were arresting bootleggers and rumrunners, and fruit vendors were setting up stands along the highways so booze-deprived drivers could quench their thirst by sucking on oranges. (I kid you not, there was an article in the newspaper!) […]

Founding the Granada Theatre
By Hattie Beresford   |   March 4, 2021

When Edward Johnson, principal stockholder of the Portola Theater Company, purchased the California Theatre on W. Canon Perdido Street in 1920, he envisioned a bright entertainment future for the town. At that time, there were only four movie houses, and one, the Strand Theatre, was being replaced by a motorcycle shop. By 1922, Johnson had […]

When Booker T. Washington Came to Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 25, 2021

In March 1914, Santa Barbarans were filled with anticipation because the famous leader of Tuskegee Institute, Booker T. Washington, was coming to town to speak at the State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics. Articles in the Morning Press told the story of his rise from the privations of slavery to becoming one […]

The Story Behind the Fountain on Sycamore Canyon
By Hattie Beresford   |   January 7, 2021

At the intersection of Stanwood  Drive and Sycamore Canyon Road, a memorial fountain approaches its 100th year. Known as Jack’s Trough or Courtney Fountain, it was designed in 1925 by Lutah Maria Riggs of the George Washington Smith architectural firm for thrice-married Marguerite Doe.  Known as the “Million Dollar Heiress” in her hometown of San […]

For Love of the Land
By Hattie Beresford   |   December 3, 2020

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County recently welcomed a new executive director with local roots, Meredith Hendricks, who brings 20 years of conservation, land management, and leadership experience to the County. Her successes with conservation and preservation projects in the San Francisco area will come into play as the Land Trust works to finalize […]

In Passing: Judy Pearce
By Hattie Beresford   |   October 21, 2020

Judy Guitteau Pearce died last month after a long bout with cancer. Her kind heart, enthusiastic and friendly character, and her deep passion and first hand knowledge of the history of Santa Barbara and Montecito will always be appreciated and severely missed. Judy kept the stories of early Montecito alive, those passed down to her […]

Fiesta del Museo
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 6, 2020

Though the beautiful and elegant Fiesta del Museo is cancelled this year, Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days is not. And what better place to see the latest exhibition than outdoors in the spacious and beautiful courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, where fresh air and social distancing create an idyllic environment? […]

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church – Part II
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 30, 2020

St. Paul’s has been nominated for inclusion on the list of Santa Barbara City historic landmarks and is working toward state and national recognition as well. Organized by architect Robert Ooley, F.A.I.A., a group of volunteers has been gathering historic information about the church to support the nominations; I was lucky enough to be among […]

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church – Part 1
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 23, 2020

St. Paul’s has been nominated to become a Santa Barbara City historic landmark and is working toward State and National recognition as well. Organized by architect Robert Ooley, F.A.I.A., a group of volunteers has been gathering historic information about the church to support the nominations; I was lucky enough to be among them. The African […]

The Incredible Jerry Forney
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 9, 2020

I have to say, when I first heard his story, it read like tall tale or legend, much like the stories of Paul Bunyan and John Henry. Bigger than life heroes, for sure; so the skeptical side of me decided to do some fact checking. What I discovered, despite the erroneous claim that he was […]

Montecito’s Latter Day Adobes
By Hattie Beresford   |   June 25, 2020

Isolated from most of my historical resources, I am turning to the work of those who have come before me, most especially, my friend and mentor, the late Maria Herold, longtime volunteer curator of the Montecito Association History Committee. Maria’s passion for the history of Montecito led her to walk every street, knock on every […]

Potter Tales: Genesis
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 21, 2020

When Jose Lobero expanded the old adobe Sebastopol schoolhouse and created his Opera House between 1871 and 1873, Chinatown was already established on the first block of East Canon Perdido street. At that time, the street was nothing more than a narrow dirt track and an article from November 1873 stated, “This narrow and disagreeable […]

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic Strikes Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   April 2, 2020

Note to Readers: In 2007, when I wrote about the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic in Santa Barbara, I never thought its story would ever be timely and relevant to today. I am sorry to have been wrong. I offer it again for your curiosity, instruction, and hope. They got through it then, and we’ll get […]

The Hill-Carrillo Adobe
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 20, 2020

Old Relics Vanishing. One by one the old adobe houses, the ancient landmarks of Santa Barbara, are gradually vanishing and modern buildings are taking their places. There are certain memories that cling to these old places, some of which date back one hundred years, which to some must seem like the severance of old friends […]

Hill-Carrillo Adobe
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 20, 2020

Thomas C. Parker, president and director of Hutton Parker Foundation, really knows how to celebrate history, and he is willing to share. The Foundation has recently completed a multimillion-dollar restoration of the historic Hill-Carrillo Adobe and is offering the beautifully appointed building to non-profit groups for meeting space – for free! In addition, one wing […]

Henry Chapman Ford
By Hattie Beresford   |   December 26, 2019

“It is a perhaps a little humiliating to us that we should have to wait till a stranger should come across the continent to reveal to us the beauties that lie at our door,” said the Reverend J.W. Hough at the library soiree in the Odd Fellows Building on State Street in September 1875. He […]

Pepper Trees and Pepper Lane
By Hattie Beresford   |   December 5, 2019

Once upon a time pepper trees reigned supreme in California, and their unique and ubiquitous presence inspired Eastern visitors to succumb to paroxysms of poetic expression. One visitor to Santa Barbara in 1874 enthused about its umbrageous and graceful foliage. Another commented on lanes of pepper trees whose wonderful feathery foliage and gorgeous scarlet berries […]

The Santa Barbara Club
By Hattie Beresford   |   November 26, 2019

Nearly a hundred members and guests gathered at the Santa Barbara Club at the end of October to celebrate the clubhouse’s entry onto the National Register of Historic Places. After an elegant reception featuring tasty tapas, wine and bonhomie, Santa Barbara Club president John Brinker unveiled the brass plaque bearing the distinction of national historic […]

Montecito Roads: Alston and Humphrey
By Hattie Beresford   |   November 21, 2019

After the first article on roads, Judy (Guitteau) Pearce, who grew up in Montecito and has written many articles about its past, contacted me. I thought others would like to read her charming anecdotes about the Montecito Oaks tract off Olive Mill Road, so here it is: Hattie, I was so excited to see your […]

Montecito’s Winter Residents
By Hattie Beresford   |   September 12, 2019

In 1874, author Charles Nordhoff, at the behest of the Southern Pacific Railroad, published a second edition of his California for Health, Pleasure and Residence. In it, he languished praise on Santa Barbara as the loveliest spot in California and promoted its health benefits. Soon the small influx of Easterners escaping the harsh winter months […]

The People Behind Montecito’s Roads (Part II)
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 29, 2019

Loureyro Roadis named for the family of Spanish-born José Maria Loureyro, a Basque who came to California in the 1850s. He served as president of the Santa Barbara City Board of Trustees in the 1860s and early ‘70s. In 1865 he approved an ordinance regarding the development of the streets in Santa Barbara, and in […]

The People Behind Montecito’s Roads Part I
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 8, 2019

While Montecito’s roads were a nameless, mazelike mess in the 1870s, by 1899, with the introduction of Rural Free Delivery postal service, order and identification began to be placed on the street system. (See MJ “Early Roads in Montecito” July 18, 2019.) All would remain dirt roads, however, until 1909, when the first few roads […]

Early Roads in Montecito
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 18, 2019

In December 1870, a traveler from Santa Barbara rented a horse and buggy and attempted to visit Colonel Bradbury True Dinsmore at his ranch in El Montecito, stopping first at the famous big grapevine. So frustrating was this experience, he was moved to write of his travails in the local paper. Although he considered the […]

Tajiguas Moves into the Twentieth Century
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 4, 2019

Once inhabited by the native Chumash, the lands of Tajiguas Ranch on the Gaviota Coast became part of the Spanish and then Mexican land grant known as Nuestra Señora del Refugio. The Tajiguas portion was sold in 1870 to Amasa L. Lincoln and Francis C. Young, who attempted to make a living off of its […]

Early Years of Rancho Tajiguas
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 30, 2019

Lying among the rolling hills and fresh arroyos of the Gaviota coast, Rancho Tajiguas has been a favored spot for times immemorial. The 1769 Portola expedition, which prepared the way for Spanish settlement of Alta California, camped for the night at its mouth and were welcomed and entertained by the Chumash peoples living in two […]

Great Photographers in Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 16, 2019

On four separate occasions over the past 40 years, my husband and I have evacuated due to wildfire. Each time, the first possessions that are packed in the car are our family photos. More important than art, electronics, books (well, maybe), or clothing, are the images of the important people, times, and events in our […]

On the Road with Arlo
By Hattie Beresford   |   March 14, 2019

The Atchison family came to Santa Barbara from Centralia, Washington, in 1912 seeking health for the father who suffered from chronic stomach problems. Alas, salubrious Santa Barbara was not able to work its magic on Garrett, and he died that July. His wife Sarah had set up housekeeping in a home on Carrillo Street, and […]

The De la Cuesta Family and the Highway
By Hattie Beresford   |   January 31, 2019

In 1912, Santa Barbara motorists heading toward North County had a major decision to make. Where were they going to cross the Santa Ynez River? There were only two bridges, one near Lompoc and the other, aptly called Mission Bridge, that crossed the river at today’s Solvang. To get to either required negotiating dozens of […]

Chronicling CAMA’s Centennial
By Hattie Beresford   |   January 17, 2019

Community Arts Music Association (CAMA) is deep in the midst of its centennial season that celebrates the major milestone with a crowded calendar of events. The 100th anniversary kicked off early in the fall with a gala honoring philanthropist Sara Miller McCune at the Four Seasons Biltmore, staged a red carpet reception before the annual […]

The Montecito Store
By Hattie Beresford   |   October 18, 2018

Some dozen years ago, long after most of Europe had succumbed to the “super market” concept, my husband and I found, in the tiny Tuscan village of Montecchiello, a perfectly preserved and functioning alimentari run by a gracious and quite elderly couple. We had rented a casa for the week and were in need of […]

Meet Joe De Yong
By Hattie Beresford   |   October 11, 2018

Few people today recognize the name Joe De Yong. Those who do, dimly remember he was the deaf artist protégé of Charles Russell and lived and worked in Santa Barbara for a time painting, drawing, and sculpting iconic Western images. Still fewer remember he also worked for years as technical advisor on dozens of Western […]

Winthrop Ames, Santa Barbara’s Community Arts, and Fiesta
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 12, 2018

Renowned New York theater producer Winthrop Ames (1870-1937) significantly influenced the development of Santa Barbara’s community arts programs, the opening of the new Lobero Theatre, and, by extension, Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Ames was born into a prominent family in Easton, Massachusetts, whose wealth derived initially from the manufacture of shovels and expanded exponentially through […]

Project Fiesta 2018
By Hattie Beresford   |   June 28, 2018

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum welcomed the upcoming 95th Old Spanish Days Fiesta with the opening celebration of a new edition of Project Fiesta on June 7, in the museum courtyard. On hand to greet attendees were representatives from the museum and Old Spanish Days including Museum trustee Bill Reynolds and interim executive director Michael […]