A Brief History of the Development of Montecito
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 12, 2021

Erroneously translated as “little mountain,” the name El Montecito is an archaic use of the Spanish word meaning woodland or countryside. It was being used to designate the eastern part of the Pueblo Lands of Santa Barbara as early as the 1780s. Considered a wilderness, it only became populated when retiring soldiers of the Presidio, […]

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 […]

 

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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 […]

Polo and Ponies
By Lynda Millner   |   March 11, 2021

One of the things that fascinated me when we first moved to Santa Barbara in the mid-‘70s was the polo field just south of town. We soon became social members even though we lived in town and spent many a Sunday watching and learning about polo and its ponies. Yes, they are called ponies. We […]

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 […]

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Cultural Moments
By Lynda Millner   |   February 11, 2021

With Valentine’s Day coming up, what did Jose Lobero (born Giuseppe in Genoa, Italy) love? He loved opera and in 1873 he built a theater to house that love. It began as an old wooden schoolhouse and became the largest adobe structure in California for its time, housing the only opera house south of San […]

Casa del Herrero to Reopen Next Week
By Kelly Herrick   |   September 3, 2020

Montecito’s Casa del Herrero will reopen to the general public next Wednesday, September 9. Closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Casa is ready to safely welcome tour guests back to the estate. While indoor spaces remain closed, guests will now engage in a reimagined self-guided garden tour. “The Casa’s original owner, George […]

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People of Montecito: Barbara Doran
By Megan Waldrep   |   August 27, 2020

Tell Us About Your Time at Bellosguardo I am one of the last people alive to have known Anna E. Clark and her youngest daughter, Huguette (of the Clark estate, Bellosguardo). My father worked for the Clarks and we lived on the property in a home they built for our family. The Clarks were from […]

Let’s Dance
By Lynda Millner   |   August 20, 2020

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is one of the cultural gems of our city with a collection of more than 80,000 irreplaceable objects and artifacts relating to Santa Barbara’s extraordinary past. For local history it’s a must. The museum complex was constructed in 1965 by the Santa Barbara Historical Society (now called Museum), which was […]

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 […]

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