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Goleta Asphalt
updated: Jun 14, 2014, 2:00 PM

By Tom Modugno of Goleta Surfing

If you know what you're looking at, this boring clump of ivy holds a lot of historical importance. This is all that's left of Goleta's once booming asphalt industry.

In 1890, the Alcatraz Asphalt Company leased a 400-acre tract of land that had a surface tar pit on it, from Augustus "Gus" Den. There were other asphalt deposits in Carpinteria and on the More Mesa, and they had all been used throughout the years, all the way back to the Chumash. But Alcatraz would be the first mine to use deep shafts, eventually going down to 550 feet, and it was very lucrative for both the Alcatraz company and the land owner.

Hard to believe this industrial looking scene was right next to the scenic lagoon on the campus of UCSB. Alcatraz operated this mine from 1890 to 1898.

When the Goleta plant was operating in its heyday, it pumped out 60 tons of asphaltum every twenty four hours. Chunks of solidified tar were loaded onto horse drawn wagons, each wagon carrying four tons, three times a day, seven days a week, down to the train station at Hollister and La Patera.

Once on the Southern Pacific line, the Goleta asphalt was distributed all around the country. Some of the historic streets of New Orleans are paved with tar from the asphalt mine in Goleta, California.

Read the full article at GoletaHistory.com


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