July 6, 2006 - Ed's a Street Talker
There is a commonly held belief among people who consider themselves Santa Barbara locals, that the character of our fair city is being eroded by recent transplants who desire to make our town just like the one they came from. Some folks even generalize that all the people moving into Santa Barbara are coming from Orange County, and that’s why our town is headed for a date with super-sized spread centers and drive through Botox boutiques.
In 2001, the residents of the 14 houses on Dixon Street, a short dead-end street off of Grove Lane, in what some people call San Roque,
decided that the name of their street was not to their liking and was possibly lowering their property values. The dedicated staff of edhat.com isn’t quite sure how they reached this conclusion. The name Dixon reminds us of Room 222 (Pete Dixon was the really popular and cool teacher in that room), pencils (Dixon Ticonderoga), and battle-lines in the Civil War (Santa Barbara also has a Mason Street).
Maybe, the residents just wanted something more upper-middle class suburban, The new name they chose was Magnolia Lane, after the flowering trees in many of the front yards. To the dedicated staff, Magnolia Lane sounds a lot like Wisteria Lane - you know, from the TV show.
When the Dixon Street people approached the City Council to make the change, there was little push back, and the request was approved. Soon afterward, the post office was notified, and the street sign was replaced with a new one and a placard that said, “formerly Dixon Street”.
As they say in the movies (actually the TV show), everything was quiet on Wisteria, err, Magnolia Lane.
Quiet, that is, until Kathleen MacQuiddy Galbraith, whose father and grandfather both happened to be named Dixon MacQuiddy, found out about the change. It just happened that her father Dixon, like Pete Dixon, was an educator. Her father was the Principal of Santa Barbara Junior High. And her grandfather was a developer who had worked in the San Roque area.
Galbraith told the City that the street was named after her relatives. Her family obviously was quite fond of the name Dixon, as evidenced by the fact that they used it more than once. She requested that the street name be changed back, and her family history be restored.
The people of Formerly Dixon Street - lawyers it turned out - did not agree. They fought for their new name like John Wayne fought the Apaches in Rio Grande. At one point, James Kahan, leader of the Magnolia Lane Group told Galbraith that her claim to the Dixon Street name was only “family folklore”.
At the end of the day, the Judges ruled in favor of Galbraith. The sign was changed back to Dixon Street, and the placard was replaced by one that says,
“formerly Magnolia Lane”. Yesterday’s Wednesday Where Is It (WWII) photograph was of this placard. It turned out to be an easy spot for the local crowd, whose recent memories are sharp, and whose appetite for intrigue is high.
There were 26 correct answers – Pazzo, Surfnwork, Nightship538, Papalima, Gracie, Tristan, TheDrew, Fedora, Juan Coffee, Kmc79, GinaF, Quercusrosa, Emilyp, Petern, Cyned, Barryp, Matu, Mr. Peabody, Mazmo, BrownSquared, Ademboski, Sbkah, Kellythirteen, Hattie, LuvPilot, and Lemony. The Edhat Dog, formerly a puppy, was called into action to pick the winner. A carefully executed scientifically controlled random selection process involving handfuls of popcorn and a great deal of trial and error was deployed. In the end, TheDog picked TheDrew as the winner of TheEdhat t-shirt.
Attention all winners without t-shirts. Contact Ed with your size and address and we will drop the shirts on your doorstep!
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photo of old street sign found on scbeacon.com