Avery Brundage: Montecito’s Fallen King
By Anthony Wall   |   December 5, 2023

Few have had a grander international presence while living in Montecito than a wealthy Chicago businessman named Avery Brundage. His story is a quintessentially American one – a rags-to-riches, Horatio Alger tale, though not without its twists. Brundage grew up in the Teddy Roosevelt era of bold, rugged achievers. Born to modest circumstances in Detroit […]

Barbie and Me (and You)
By Hattie Beresford   |   September 26, 2023

I couldn’t believe they made a movie about Barbie. Seriously? The doll whose body gave three generations of prepubescent girls inferiority complexes and set a standard so high some became devotees of augmentation surgery? Then I read Josef Woodard’s movie review, one which doesn’t end in a resounding nay or yay, but with – “…the […]


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La Madrugada de Fiesta
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 1, 2023

Celebrating the 99th anniversary of its founding this year, Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta was established in August 1924. Civic celebrations commemorating Santa Barbara’s old Spanish days, however, date back to the December 1886 fiesta celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Mission Santa Barbara. The purpose of that four-day celebration was to […]

Old-Time Brewers in Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   March 21, 2023

In Colonial Jamestown, having survived the starving time and learned how to work thanks to Captain John Smith’s edict of “no work, no food,” the male colonists wanted women. Not just for the delights of the fairer sex, but to share the work. Among her housewifery chores, a woman in Colonial America spun the wool, […]

Gaviota Overlook: A Valentine’s Gift to Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 21, 2023

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has given us an amazing Valentine’s Day gift. A thousand red roses could not compete with the nearly 50 verdant acres the Trust has just added to its Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Since the Preserve’s founding in 2001, more than 1,600 visitors have walked its trails and 26,000 students […]

The Mystery of Lobero’s Eagle
By Hercule Beresford   |   January 31, 2023

by Hercule Beresford Italian-born Giuseppe (José) Lobero loved his adopted country so much that he opened his opera house, the first theater in Santa Barbara, on February 22, George Washington’s birthday. With such deep patriotic sentiment, it seems likely that it was he who hung a symbol of our nation above the proscenium arch of […]

The Artist Clarence Mattei
By Hattie Beresford   |   January 10, 2023

“Clarence Mattei painted a portrait of our nation from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Shoreline… His portraits formed an album of an era which was melding the personalities of the fearless, rugged stagecoach drivers of the Wild West to the quiet confidence and well-bred sophistication of East Coast Philanthropy,” Erin Graffy, local historian, wrote […]

  • Surfing and Life at ‘Rincon Point,’ a New Book
    By Hattie Beresford   |   December 13, 2022

    It was Shuku when a band of nearly 300 Chumash lived on the point of land that today marks the boundary between Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. It became Rancheria San Mateo after the Spanish settled the area in 1782. It became El Rincon (the corner) after the Mexican governor of Alta California granted the […]

    What Chard Wrought
    By Hattie Beresford   |   August 23, 2022

    In the 1920s, American Santa Barbarans, enthralled with the mystique of Santa Barbara’s romantic Spanish past, set about preserving the rapidly-disappearing adobes. Ester Hammond purchased and paid for the preservation of the Hill/Carrillo Adobe, architect Louise McVhay completely renovated the Gonzalez/Ramirez adobe to reflect her vision of a romantic ranch house, and Irene and Bernhard […]


    A Journey Along Santa Barbara’s Historic Trails
    By Hattie Beresford   |   July 12, 2022

    John Muir once wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you… and cares will drop away like the leaves of Autumn.” The Santa Barbara Historical Museum’s latest exhibition celebrates the region’s increasingly popular hiking trails and public lands. Isolated by COVID, locked out of their gyms, and finally […]

    By Hattie Beresford   |   June 21, 2022

    The quest for the right way to live, the right way to be, and the search for a satisfying and happy life has spanned millennia; just ask Socrates. Between 1663 and 1820 in the United States, besides being a stimulus for emigration from the “old world,” this quest led to the establishment of over 32 […]

    Lockwood and Huguette
    By Hattie Beresford   |   March 22, 2022

    Lockwood de Forest (Sr.) was already considered one of the best-known landscape painters in the United States when he made his first appearance in Santa Barbara in late 1902. Captivated by the landscape, he painted over 100 oil sketches of the countryside by February 1903. That month, 112 of them were exhibited at Mrs. Tadd’s […]

    The Sisters of Charity and St. Vincent’s Institute
    By Hattie Beresford   |   March 1, 2022

    In 1854, Pope Pius IX consecrated Thaddeus Amat y Brusi as bishop of Monterey. The reluctant prelate (he had tried to ditch the papal appointment) moved the headquarters of the diocese to Santa Barbara where he planned to build a cathedral for the relics of the newly beatified Saint Viviana. Arriving in December 1855, the […]

    Portal to the Past
    By Rebecca Lee Moody   |   February 15, 2022

    Fifteen years ago, gripped by the idea of initiating a dig into my peoples’ past, I flew straight to the very big and famous (in genealogical circles) Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My plan was to spend a few days immersed in productive research and come away with a nicely-plumped-out family tree full […]