Posted by ws1 on:
This post wasn't really planned. I drove up to SBCC yesterday to see if the Atkinson Gallery was open, but didn't realize that it was closed for the holiday. Duh.
Unsure where to procrastinate next - and really not wanting to go back to my cave to do actual work - I walked out to the roundabout overlooking Cabrillo Street and sat down on the railing. I was surprised at how peaceful and quiet it seemed - especially on Black Friday. I could actually hear the splashing from the swimmers at Los Bano's below but not really much from the cars that were passing much closer. I could see the newly black and brown Tea Fire area above the city, and all the way up to the Mission.
Sitting there (not yet at the point of staring blankly into space), I slowly realized that I was sitting at a similar vantage point to one in an old photo of Santa Barbara given to me by a former professor of mine that I had hanging in my garage. I decided take a few pictures just in case it was the same spot (I've been carrying my camera around with me).
When I got home, uploaded the pictures, and then scanned the old photo, I could tell the vantage point was actually very similar( part of the cliff must not be there any more) though the landscape has changed dramatically. The old photograph (which looks like it was taken during a Fiesta parade) is pre-harbor; the exact date of the photo (according to a nearly illegible signature and copyright) appears to be 1908, though the boats on the horizon indicate that it may have been a wartime photo*. Another obvious 'now-and-then' contrast is the Santa Barbara Riviera - once bare - now peppered with homes (and partially bare more recently due to the Tea Fire) is especially striking.
I don't have any grand observation to share, other than a general sense of wonder at the passage of time. Sometimes it's those things that are obviously different that stand out to me. But more than not, it's the things that haven't really changed that mess with my head a little; the shape of the mountains, the behavior of the water etc..
Larger version of my photo here
Larger version of old photo here
Here is a link to the entire Flickr set
I just received a comment from Jon suggesting that perhaps the ships were part of the Great White Fleet, dispatched by Teddy Roosevelt in 1907. See below:
"Mention was made in the article that the 1908 panorama photo may have been taken during war time. Given the date...1908...and given the similarity between the several warships in the photo, I was reminded of the Great White Fleet...a large armada of U.S. Navy Battleships...that was sent around the world, by President Theodore Roosevelt, commencing in 1907. Checking-out Google, I found the Great White Fleet Itinerary (www.history.navy.mil./faqs/faq42-3.htm) which states that the fleet departed Magdalena Bay, Mexico, on 11 April 1908 and arrived in San Francisco, on 6 May 1908. Thus... depending, of course, on the specific date when the photo was taken...the large warships, seen in the photo, very well could be those of the Great White Fleet sailing north to San Franciso. Perhaps, others have seen the possible connection and commented, in similar fashion.
The panoramas are spectacular and bring back grand memories of when my family and I lived, there, from 1964-1970. A very special place, indeed!! Kind Regards, jon"
Very Interesting.. I will update this post if any more information emerges. In the meantime.. Can you read this copyright? 1908 or 1909?
UPDATE # 2:
Ok. So after a little digging, it looks like the dates match up. It's not the Fiesta Parade (as I wrongly guessed), but the Sailor's Parade during the Santa Barbara Flower festival on April 28th, 1908. So Jon's suggestion that the fleet might be the Great White Fleet seems pretty spot-on at this point! Thanks Jon!
Check out this old postcard from the Festival: