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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.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 248834 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 09:55 AM

I can vouch, I think, for Poor Richard's . I remember when they were reassembling the building and we used to eat there when it was still Poor Richard's, but have not gone for pizza. I have lived in a couple of places on Bath Street & just off Bath too, so this was a nostalgic walk for me to see. Thanks!


 COMMENT 248837P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 10:17 AM

Hey, Urban Hikers.
Just wanted to thank you for these posts. They're wonderful!
We tagged along for your final walk a couple of weeks ago and did not get a chance to thank you in person.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 11:45 AM

La Bamba fond drinking memoties all over that neighborHOOD. I got two cases of beer outta there once down my pants legs paid for it later of course..


 COMMENT 248864 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 11:53 AM

My wife has been researching her ancestry, and last year we stopped in at the Botillier adobe because he is one of her ancestors,


 COMMENT 248865 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 11:54 AM

Being privy to an amount of Chumash information,I would tell it differently...but love the series...Quem'quem e'!


 COMMENT 248907 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 01:43 PM

i live on bath street and recognize almost everything! i think bath is pretty special also :) thanks for the tour!!!


 COMMENT 248913 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 02:30 PM

INSERT COMMENT #1: I always find it fascinating that the City is so intrusive about hedges, driveways, etc while at the same time allowing such bizarrely colored houses all over town. These crazy places prove that regulation only stifles originality and fun and I wish the City would let folks just use their properties as they wished in all other ways.


 COMMENT 248917 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 03:20 PM

The site of the present Rusty's Pizza (Bath & Carrillo) was for years the used car lot annex of Phipps Motors, the Austin & MG dealer across the street in what's now a paint store. I remember when Squire Richard's Pub (not "Poor Richard's") was built, and don't recall anything being said at the time about it being an old building imported from England. There MAY have been some talk about maybe the stained glass windows were old English imports, but as early dementia sets in, I really can't remember exactly. I'm pretty sure that the building itself is circa 1970 or so, though.


 COMMENT 248947 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 05:52 PM

Sorry to say, but the neighborhood markets aren't markets. They're liquor stores, and they create a lot of problems for their neighbors. La Bamba is pretty bad. Others are even worse. I think back in the day they used to serve neighborhoods really well. But all they sell now is liquor, cigarettes and junk food. Not a real market...


 COMMENT 248969P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-14 10:39 PM

You walked past my old studio apartment in one of those old Victorians! I love the charm of all the eclectic buildings on Bath. Also, while corner markets do cater mostly to the alcohol and cigarette crowd, they are often very useful for that gallon of milk, the carton of eggs, or other random items that you forgot to get at the grocery store. I've never experienced any problems.


 COMMENT 248986 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-15 07:45 AM

Are the urban walkers a regular group? Would love to join them sometimes. Joined you on the last leg of your walking tour of SB a week or so ago. If so how do folks know when and where to go for a walk with y'all?


 CHERIDIANE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-15 07:54 AM

Bath Street has many wonders, and how fun to wake up this morning to see them from you on EdHat. Oh, I too love those housing courts. Show us more, if you would.


 COMMENT 249028 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-15 10:01 AM

vey cool thanks again EH!


 COMMENT 249050 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-15 01:11 PM

Many years ago when I lived on the eastside (Arrellaga St) I loved the "market" on E. Micheltorena St and Victoria Mkt on Olive and Victoria. Depending on the ownership, you could find interesting homemade goodies at the Victoria. At least 10 years ago a lovely Asian woman named Daisy used to sell delicious pork buns and spring rolls...yum!


 COMMENT 249059 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-15 02:54 PM

The little house (pic 15) is where Audrey Ovington lived. She owned Cold Springs Tavern. I worked at the Tavern. She was quite an independent woman. She talked about growing up at the Tavern and where her bedroom was.
The La Bamba Market iswhat the locals used to call the "Z" store due to the exterior wood decoration. Owners and names came and went (including Fresno Market), but the Z stayed constant. (Pic 11) The white house used to be our neighbors. They had a giant oak tree that also grew unto our property. We told the renters to tell the owners that the tree was sick, growing mushrooms. Nothing was done. A few months later a giant limb dropped in their back yard and the oak fell over taking out part of their back left upper bedroom. If the limb had not fallen 1st, the tree would have wiped out the whole house.


 COMMENT 249100 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-16 06:49 AM

Just an FYI ... Clear redwood is a bit expensive, but really not very rare.


 COMMENT 249114 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-16 08:01 AM

The story about the pub is interesting. But, it is just a story. I knew a couple of the builders and it's a scratch built item. I loaned out an adze and a hewing ax for the timbers since they needed to have several in operation. It was a learning project in timber framing by a group of Whole Earth Catalog types.


 COMMENT 249335 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-01-17 10:04 AM

Would love to join the Urban Hikers, when do you go? Let us know, you never know who might show up! :)


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