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URBAN HIKE

Beautiful Bath Street
updated: Jan 14, 2012, 9:30 AM

By the Urban Hikers, Stacey Wright and Peter Hartmann

One of our urban hikes took us straight down Bath Street from Valerio to just below Ortega Street. According to local historian Neal Graffy, Bath Street was originally named "Banos" by the Spaniards because it led to West Beach and the sulfur springs at Burton's Mound. Before the advent of indoor plumbing, residents and visitors went to the beach and the nearby hot springs to bathe and relax. As we approached Bath, we decided to hike it the way we're inclined to hike one-way streets - we always prefer to hike them in the opposite direction of the traffic. We feel that by doing so we get an opportunity to see things we might otherwise miss. This hike once again proved our theory to be true.

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The first unusual thing we came upon was a little shrine of sorts. To us it looked like a cactus calla lily surrounded by booze bottles. We thought it was pretty interesting.

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Not too far down the street we came to what we believe is the boldest sidewalk stamp we've encountered along the way. Julie, are you out there??

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As we passed by, we took a photo of La Bamba Market, not because it's unusual or wonderful in and of itself, but rather, because as a part of a network of neighborhood markets, it's important. (Tune in to a future UH installment to see a collection of these invaluable and often historical neighborhood fixtures).

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Have you ever noticed this peace sign?

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Or this sidewalk contractor's stamp from 1920? It means that at least this part of the sidewalk is nearly a century old. It's really aging well in our opinions.

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This house at 1417 Bath is thought to have been built by J.M. Clifford in 1887. It's quite unique because it was constructed of "heart redwood", a redwood that supposedly contains no flaws. Today "heart redwood" is nearly impossible to find, and if one is able to locate a source it's extremely pricey. Notice that even the rain gutters are constructed of redwood... We understand the home was occupied between the years of 1899 and 1944 by Mr. and Mrs. Andrus, a postal worker, and his speech therapist wife. It was later home to one of their children, Marguerite, who taught dance in the second floor dance studio. She lived in the home until sometime in1966, and we're not sure of any of its history since then. We're just glad nobody decided to paint it. (INSERT 2 PHOTOS - #‘s 7 & 8)

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This photo is one published by the Historical Society, and seems to have been taken in the 1970's.

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These are just a few of the wonderful homes on Bath that caught our eyes for one reason or another.

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And then we found an elephant, which belonged to the last house above. Where else but Santa Barbara can you spy a paper mache elephant while walking the wrong way on a one-way street? We think this town is pretty special.

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We loved this house for its simplicity and details. Out front, the stamped brick was a "first" and the hitching post was too, for its interesting embellishment. As incredibly cheesy as it sounds, we must admit that these are the sorts of simple discoveries that delight us on an early Saturday morning.

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And across the street is another example of local history merged with a modern sentiment.

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There's something wonderful about this little place. We're not sure what is now... possibly someone's home, an office or a business...but we remember not all that long ago (in the 1970's or '80's) when it was a thriving little market and deli...they made the best avocado sandwiches in the whole world.

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And this place was just too cool not to notice and admire. Nostalgic Bath Street, no doubt.

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This adobe at 1023 Bath Street was built as the Pascual Botillier Adobe in 1843 and is reportedly the last remaining 2-story Spanish adobe in Santa Barbara. Today is serves as a center for the study and promotion of popular Mexican arts, and is called Casa Delores - it's also open to the public.

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As promised, we will now reveal what we think may be the oldest building in the city limits of Santa Barbara. Believe it or not, it's the present-day home of Rusty's Pizza, at the corner of Bath and Carrillo. The sign above the door is inscribed "1970", which is the year it opened as Poor Richard's Pub. We both recall reading an account of how the building, an English pub built in the 1700's was shipped to Santa Barbara and reconstructed to house the restaurant. We tried to get independent confirmation of the story, but by "press time" were unsuccessful. We called Rusty's corporate office and left a message but heard nothing. We asked friends and family and got only blank stares. We're hoping an Edhead recalls the details and can confirm or debunk the story.

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We love housing courts, and one day will devote an entire story to them. Today we share with you this fine example on Bath Street.

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One more little market...

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And a cautionary sign that we certainly didn't dare disregard.

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As always, we encourage you to go out and explore the city, meet your neighbors, keep your eyes, ears and minds open to all that you encounter, and above all, expect the unexpected.

 

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