Posted by paulrivas on:
If you missed the first half of this discussion, here it is.
The Santa Barbara Man About Goleta believes that the familiar old “Goleta – The Good Land” license plate frames were inspired by the title of this book. The title was selected from a great many submissions in a 1965 Santa Barbara/Goleta-wide contest to name the local history, which was commissioned by the Goleta Amvets. The phrase originally appeared in a Spaniard’s 18th century assessment of the Goleta Valley, which stated, “It is all a good land.”
Having finished the book over the weekend, your Santa Barbara-born Goleta blogger has spent this week telling UCSB stus how lucky they are to live in his town and regaling them with historical anecdotes gleaned from this historic work, such as:
1870s – San Francisco streets were paved with asphalt mined on the More ranch, owned by T. Wallace More, the Scotsman for whom More Mesa is named. More’s son-in-law, C.A. Storke (the father of the publisher), said, “the three greatest men who ever lived were Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and T. Wallace More.”
1870s – So many Scots emigrated to Goleta that a ginormous “Scottish-American Picnic” was held every fourth of July in Tucker’s Grove, the oldest park in Goleta. This tradition ended when World War II broke out.
1890s – The Vieux Carré in New Orleans was paved with tar from a deep shaft mine located on the present site of the UCSB Drama/Dance building.
1890s – Yaple Avenue, where my classmate Jim VanBlaricum grew up, was the site of an experimental farming project where spineless cactus were grown for use as cattle feed.
1899 – The Naples viaduct (that train bridge on Dos Pueblos Ranch) was built in five days.
1900 – The population of Goleta was 500.
February 1942 – A submarine said to be Japanese sat off the Ellwood shore and for a full 40 minutes fired 29 shots at the Ellwood oil fields. All but a few of the shells were duds, and the attack caused a total of $500 damage. An hour later, a blackout was declared from Monterey to San Diego. Two hours after than, US planes finally showed up and dropped flares. And here Tompkins makes the point that given that Goleta’s defenses were withdrawn from the Marine base just one day before the attack, and that the alleged Japanese sub was sitting in plain sight and firing away without any reciprocity by American forces, the sub was more likely American than Japanese, and the apparent incompetence of the attack was intentional in order to stir up support for the war effort.
World War II – Bill Hollister keeps 300 Nazi prisoners of war on the Archie Edwards ranch beyond Dos Pueblos. The Nazis were put to work harvesting crops, and the old POW camp fences were still visible when Tompkins wrote the book.
1948 – The population of Goleta was 1500.
1952 – Tomás Ygnacio de Aquino, the last full-blooded Canaliño (Chumash) Indian of the 12,000 living in Goleta when the Spanish arrived in 1769, dies penniless in the hospital.
1962 – The General Plan for the Goleta Valley called for rapid transit on the existing train tracks or a monorail running parallel to Highway 101 in order to alleviate traffic.
That was 1962, and we still aren’t even close to having anything like that anywhere between L.A. and San Francisco!
That’s it for Goleta: The Good Land. The Santa Barbara Man About Goleta hopes you’ve enjoyed these historical bits, and gives the book his highest recommendation.
Rivas Cultural Services associate and Goleta hero Mike Fitzgerald, himself a descendant of the famous Sexton and Doty families mentioned several times in Goleta: The Good Land, recommends Fourteen at the Table, another Tompkins classic.