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URBAN HIKE

Short & Sweet - Part II
updated: Jan 28, 2012, 9:30 AM

By the Urban Hikers, Stacey Wright & Peter Hartmann

This week we follow up with more of the shortest streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara, showing each of the "qualifying shorties" suggested by Edhat readers. Many of the one-block or less streets are avenues, some are lanes and others are streets. We've got a couple of plazas, one place and one way. We've even got a road that appears to be a two-block street, but it's not. Some of the streets readers suggested we include, but didn't are too long to be a "shortie"; and one is outside the city limits. The ‘too long" streets (albeit short nevertheless) are: Colina, Wyola, Orella, De La Vista, Villa and Soledad. Ukiah is outside the city limits, so we didn't walk that one. Many of the "shorties" from last week's story and this week's are on the Eastside and Westside, above Anapamu Street. We've included them on this map.

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We'll start by telling you about all of the Avenues...it seems ironic that the highest percentage of shortest streets in town are Avenues, because for us an avenue conjures up a broad dignified roadway …we're still so puzzled by that.

For each of the "shorties" we share with you here we'll show you a view of the entire street, and at least one image of something unique we found along the street.

We begin with Ruth Avenue, or "Baby Ruth" as was suggested. This was the street where most everyone practiced their "3-point turns" with driving instructors in preparation of taking the DMV driving test. For the sake of residents on Ruth, we hope there are other streets that instructors now take their pupils to to learn this valuable driving skill.

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Persidio Avenue - As suggested, it most likely is the oldest "shortie" in town. It's a beauty for sure.

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This is American Avenue and its nearby "shortie" neighbor, Wellington Ave. Both are lined with very quaint homes.

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Equestrian Avenue is another old street that reportedly got its name for the fact that it was home to a livery stable back before automobiles came to Santa Barbara.

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Morrison Avenue is a dead-end street. We loved the way the two homes at the end of the street are oriented, and how this home's driveway was situated.

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Donze Avenue is home to the marvelous tea cup/saucer/pottery sculptures. We love this house and its artistic resident. We also wonder how the street got its unusual name…

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And since we were in the neighborhood, we took it upon ourselves to add one of our own - Maple Avenue. It sounds so darn sweet…and it is.

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Mellifont Avenue is one of our Lower Eastside "shorties". We think these trees are pretty special, and we couldn't resist showing you the misspelled sidewalk contactor stamp we spotted.

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Next are the lanes...we have two of them to tell you about. We'll begin with Rossier Lane, which is just off Sate Street. We especially liked the little garden gate.

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And then there's Green Lane, which appears to have more green colored buildings than most streets…was it names for its buildings or were the building painted to match the name of the street...such critical issues we urban hikers must sometimes confront.

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We have but three short streets to tell you about. The first one, Sierra Street dead ends at Alameda Padre Serra. There is a little staircase that take you up to APS, and that is where the photo view of this street was taken. There's also a sweet little fountain at the end of the street that we couldn't resist sharing with you.

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Elizabeth Street is home to a very lazy little kitty. Long name, little street.

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Orena Street is another of the "shorties" that we've added to the story, and we did so because of a unique aspect of it we discovered along our journey. Despite being intersected by Cleveland Avenue, Orena Street has addresses that are all in the 500 block…both below Cleveland (where the street ends and the Roosevelt School playground begins), and above Cleveland where it meets Grand. Go figure…The stairs are a wonderful example of the kinds of street stairs that dot the Upper Eastside. They are at the corner of Orena and Cleveland.

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We got suggestions for two plaza "shorties" and both are simply lovely. Bonita Plaza is below Bonita Way and is home to a beautiful fountain and quaint little rest stop. We didn't have a chance to sit and ponder there, but some day we may have to return and sit for a spell.

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Our other beautiful plaza is Junipero Plaza. Lined with very stately homes, we noticed a plaque on this villa that tells about its historical significance. We love it when homeowners take the time to display informative plaques like these. What we learned is that this house, remodeled in 2009 by Mary and Rowland Hanson was originally the home of Franscisca De La Guerra Dibblee, the granddaughter of Don José de la Guerra, Commandante of the Royal Presidio. Built in 1910, architect Francis T. Underhill designed the home for Mrs. Dibblee, who happened to be his mother-in-law.

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Panchita Place is our only place "shortie". In a previous story (Bungalow Haven and Beyond) we showed you several of the wonderful bungalows that line this one-block street. It's truly a marvelous little street located in the heart of "Bungalow Haven". If you want to know more about it and the house on it, you're in luck, as we recently learned that several of the homes in "Bungalow Haven" (including a few on Panchita Place) will be showcased in the Pearl Chase Historic Homes Tour this May. We guess by the size of his stamp, that the sidewalk contractor was pretty proud of the work he did on this street…

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Last, but certainly not least, we have Bonita Way. And "bonita" it is. Beautiful and short.

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Many thanks to the Edhat readers and commenters who recommended we look at all but two of these short and sweet city streets. It was fun to go back and revisit the streets and it was exciting to hear what streets and neighborhoods pique your interests.

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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