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URBAN HIKE

Treasures of the Upper Eastside
updated: Aug 13, 2011, 9:45 AM

by Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we continued our quest to walk all 256 miles of public streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara. The Upper East is an area of town that demanded several hikes: It consists of numerous streets, avenues and side streets, as well as a few little alleyways. It's bounded by the following streets: State, Anapamu, Constance, Garden, Emerson and Prospect.

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Please forgive us for failing to include in this segment some the obvious Upper East gems - like Alice Keck Park Park, Kids World, Alameda Park, The SB Mission, and the other spectacular churches of this region. Earlier this year, we wrote an Urban Hike article about the proliferation of churches and other houses of worship, most of which are located on the Upper East. We refer you to that article for photos and histories of these important landmarks. Also, we've previously reported on many of the homes of the Upper East, in two of our earlier stories: one involving Anacapa Street, the other involving Santa Barbara Street.

And so, we begin this piece with some of the more hidden treasures of the Upper East. These are places and things that can only be discovered on foot. Although you may have driven past these wonderful sights on a regular basis, you'll probably only see them if you park the car and go for a hike...

For example, there is a quaint little public easement that connects Padre Street to the Rose Garden...

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And then there are the many stately homes that can't usually be seen from the road, as they are hidden behind tall hedges. We did a little trick photography to bring you just a glimpse of some the "behind the scenes"...

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This place has an inviting entrance which is way, way up …

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Versus this home which has a drive that one must go way, way down.

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Some of the most beautiful aspects of the Upper East are found in the details of the homes - we find them to be incredibly unique and simply wonderful.

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And since no Urban Hike story would be complete without at least a little bit of history, we were delighted to stumble upon a marker located at Junipero Hall. Until this hike, we never knew it existed. It was placed on the site in1992, and commemorates the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. It's planned opening is in the year 2092...which means that if you're 20 years old today, you'll be 101 when it's finally opened ... If you're a 30 year-old you will be 111 years old...we don't think anyone older than 30 will get an opportunity to be present at the opening ceremony...but then again you never know...

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Located in that same courtyard (which is at Junipero Serra Hall) we found an example of a beautifully stylized statute of the good padre, himself. We believe this statue truly qualifies as a Santa Barbara hidden treasure.

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Another thing we enjoyed about our hikes on the Upper East is that we saw children out enjoying the day, engaging in good old-fashioned activities - like walking the dogs.

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And riding their bicycles. It was really heartwarming to see ...

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There was yet other aspect of hiking the Upper East that slowed our pace and begged for photographs - it was the number of attractive and interesting garden gates & front doors we passed along the way.

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Aside from the Mission and other obvious landmarks, what is the Upper East best known for? Why, it's the homes of course! We can't possibly show you ALL of the wonderful homes we passed along our route because there are entirely too many to speak of. In fact, we think we feel a "Part II of the Upper East" coming on... But for now, we'll share with you some of the quintessential Upper East "cottages" we passed along the way, starting with one that was built in 1896.

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And in no particular order, we bring you a few more of these remarkable gems.

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While you may think these photos are of the same house, in fact they aren't...they just enjoy the same interesting color scheme (which we think is really gorgeous) ...

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The driftwood in the window of this place makes it oh so Santa Barbara chic ...

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And this is a place we recall having once being named "Tranquility". We love the house and miss the sign.

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Speaking of history, we found a few examples of a bygone era. We believe this sandstone bench was once used by riders of the No. 16 streetcar. Sadly, that was the electric streetcar which tragically crashed at this same corner on Easter Sunday of the year 1907. As the story goes, the streetcar was designed to hold a maximum 48 passengers, but on that day it was packed with 120 riders, most of who had come from mass at the Old Mission. For an unknown reason (but most likely due to the overload), the streetcar lost its brakes, and as it rounded the corner at Mission and Garden Streets, it was traveling far faster that was designed to go. As a result, it derailed, flipped onto its side, and then careened into a utility pole. Five passengers died at the scene and scores were injured, 17 seriously. We saw the bell from the trolley, along with photos and some history of that tragic event when we visited the Santa Barbara Museum during our hike of the Funk Zone.

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And then there are these matching hitching posts on Junipero Plaza, which you know were strategically placed so that revelers of old had plenty of places to park.

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And this unique weathervane is just too darned charming to overlook...

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And try as we may, we simply could not write a story about Santa Barbara's Upper East without including a couple of shots of the Rose Garden and the Old Mission. These locations are so lovely, so pleasing and so quintessentially Santa Barbara, that in our minds we might actually be committing a crime if we failed to include them.

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As always, we encourage you to go on foot and explore our wonderful community, discover new and different things and above all to keep your eyes, ears and minds open in your travels.

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