March 10, 2010
There's some irony in the fact that Santa Barbara's museum of historic carriages is surrounded by a parking lot.
All week long during the school year, SBCC students come and go from their cars at the Pershing Park parking lot, probably many of them never knowing that inside the building with the really nice BBQ out front are some of the vehicles that early Santa Babarians used to get around long before the Model T hit the streets. Can you imagine taking a carriage from Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos through the winding canyons below what is now Highway 154 to get to Santa Barbara, and arriving via the steep descent on Old San Marcos Pass Road. Yikes! That must have been a wild ride.
This wall sculpture of a get-up that looks like it could go really fast, but the journey would be bumpy, is on the front of the Carriage and Western Arts Museum, also known as the home of Old Spanish Days. It has a sweet collection of old saddles, including ones that were once owned by Jimmy Stewart, Will Rogers, and Clark Gable.
Even if you never visit the museum, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can see much of the contents hit the street during Fiesta each summer. Viva la!
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