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URBAN HIKE

Montecito's Magical Corridor
updated: Apr 07, 2012, 9:30 AM

By the Urban Hikers, Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

Now that we've walked each and every street in the City of Santa Barbara, we're wondering around wherever we please. This weekend we decided to hike from the corner of Channel Drive and Cabrillo Blvd. to the intersection of Coast Village and Olive Mill Roads. There were many marvelous sights along the way and tons of quite fascinating interesting history to tell about this relatively short stretch. So, we've decided to break the story into two parts, and today we present part one: 1 Hot Springs Road to the stairs at Butterfly Beach, plus a tad bit more.

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The intersection at Cabrillo Blvd and Channel Drive has two interesting features; one is a memorial to two young boys, and the other is something called the "Sam Salario Project." We'll start by telling you the very little we know about the Sam Salario Project and hope that Billy Goodnick can fill us in on some of the details.

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We Googled Sam Salario and found that he's a local playwright, or at least was, in 1989. There's at least one YouTube video attributed to Mr. Salario, which features Halloween in Isla Vista, but we digress. We suspect that the project involved the creation of the landscaped island in front of the Charles Caldwell Park Watering Trough and Fountain. Billy, can you please tell us more?

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Designated a city landmark in January 12, 1982, the Charles Caldwell Park Memorial Trough's official address is 1 Hot Springs Rd. It was constructed between 1910 and 1911, and was designed by local architect Francis Wilson, the man who had designed the Charles C. Park mansion on Park Lane. You may recall from past Urban Hiker stories that Francis Wilson also designed the Santa Barbara train station and lived in a marvelous bungalow on in the 1600 block of De La Vina Street (the one with the massive pergola out front)...but once again we digress. The fact is that two of Dr. Charles and Mrs. Hellen Park's nine children, Roy Harrison Park and Charles C. Park Jr., died in infancy. As a way of paying homage to their deceased children, the Parks commissioned Francis Wilson to design a modest memorial for the little boys. The front of the memorial features a lion fountain; the back has a small trough and little bench for weary travelers.

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From the turn of the century the Park family, originally from the East Coast, were influential in Santa Barbara, owning several pieces of local real estate. The CC Park residence on Park Lane, first named "Karlsruhe" but later changed to "Tipperary" was quite an elegant mansion. Hellen Park was one of the founders of the The Little Town Club and is credited with underwriting the first farmers' market in town, then called The Santa Barbara Free Market. The couple owned several commercial buildings downtown, one of which, known as the Park Building, still bears its inscription at the front of the building. You can find it on the west side of State Street just below Ortega Street. Alice Keck Park, the benefactor of Alice Keck Park Park was the widow of David Park, a grandson of Dr. Charles Caldwell and Hellen Park.

The next sop along our route is the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

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The cemetery, formed in 1867 and opened in 1869, served the needs of the non- Catholic residents of the city. Prior to the opening of the SB Cemetery, there was one small burial ground for local non-Catholics, located on the western end of Montecito Street at the base of the Mesa. By the mid 1800s, the small cemetery "for Protestants and strangers" was severely neglected and was beginning to be encroached upon by the surrounding brickyards that supplied materials for new construction in town. As a result, several prominent Protestant citizens formed the Santa Barbara Cemetery Association and purchased the property on Channel Drive.

The chapel and crematorium were designed by famed architect George Washington Smith. The chapel contains several stylized murals which were designed by Alfredo Ramos Martinez in the early 1930's. We don't have photos of these murals, so you'll have to take a hike of your own if you want to enjoy these beautiful works of art.

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As we wandered the grounds of the cemetery we noticed there seemed to be very defined areas based on the departed's heritage and religion. Specifically there appeared to be, among others, a designated Japanese area, Chinese area, and a Jewish area. We also noticed that most of the markers are flush with the ground, and understand that more recently all markers are required to be installed in that way for ease of maintenance. These images show only a few of the memorials, markers and gravestones that caught our eyes. One is from the old "Chinese area" near Channel Drive. We recall that for many years vegetation and brambles had been allowed to overgrow on that portion of the cemetery and were happy to see it has been nicely restored to a more tidy state.

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Among the large mausoleums, memorials and modest markers, we found Dr. Samuel Brinkerhoff's, as well as several belonging to members of the Nidever family. Both Dr. Brinkerhoff and Captain Nidever were instrumental in creating the cemetery itself.

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Perhaps the most modest marker we found is that of Fredrick Forrest Peabody, a well- known local philanthropists - his truly is a grave stone.

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And lastly, we couldn't help but include the stone marking the grave of Dr. Joseph Fields. It's in the shape of a tree stump and the the letters "WOW" are prominently engraved on the front of the trunk. A little investigation reveals that WOW stands for "Woodmen of the World," a fraternity started in Omaha, Nebraska in 1890 "to clear away problems of financial security for its members." We could use a little "WOW" factor during these hard times.

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The property which is now the home to the Music Academy of the West originally opened in 1894 as the Santa Barbara Country Club. When it opened it boasted a fine, 18-hole golf course, a club house and other "modern" amenities. When the club moved - first to a location near the Andre Clarke Bird Refuge, and later to its current home on Summit Road - it changed its named to the Montecito Country Club.

In the early 1900's after the country club and golf course relocated, the clubhouse was renovated and became "Miraflores," a private residence. The owners of the property, Mr. and Mrs John P. Jefferson, lived in the home for a number of years. When John Jefferson died, the estate passed to his second wife Mary, and then to Helen Marso, Mr. Jefferson's long-time personal secretary. Ms. Marso, wanting to pay tribute to the Jeffersons, created a memorial in their remembrance by donating the property for use a a civic venue. In 1951, the property, including 18 acres and a home designed by famed architect Reginald D. Johnson (architect of the Biltmore and the SB main Post Office among other projects) ultimately became the Music Academy of the West.

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One of the most beautiful features of the Music Academy of the West property is the Cynthia Wood Memorial Courtyard, which, in 1992 was remodeled from an original courtyard and garden designed by renowned landscape architect Florence Yoch.

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Florence Yoch studied at the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she completed her degree in landscape architecture. She began working as a landscape architect in 1918, taking on a broad range of projects including estates, campuses, parks, movie sets and botanical gardens. In 1932, Yoch designed the courtyard, dubbed the Don Quixote Courtyard, at Miraflores for the Jeffersons. Interestingly, she later designed the movie sets for "Tara" the Southern plantation featured in Gone with the Wind. It's been written that Ms. Yoch's designs were "noted for the juxtaposition of informal, wild plantings and formal geometry, as well as the theatrical and unexpected." We love the courtyard now, and would love to know what it looked like back in the 1930's.

We Urban Hikers vividly recall how many years ago the pines trees at The Music Academy of the West were a significant migratory stop for the Monarch butterflies. Many fortunate school children (including us) took field trips to the estate to learn about the migration of the butterflies and to appreciate the architectural beauty of the property with its lovely architectural features.

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Today Miraflores still retains much of its original charm and beauty, despite its extensive renovation and transformation from a private home into a public institution.

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Exiting The Music Academy of the West at its main gate, we headed toward the beach. Along Channel Drive (on the cemetery side of the street) is a little garden gate that for many years we've admired for its simple beauty.

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For a short stretch, Channel Drive - where it intersects Fairway Road - becomes a pedestrian/bike path, closed to cars and other motorized vehicles. But apparently moose are also allowed to share the path.

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At that same intersection, if you look to your left, you can see the main entry gates to Ty Warner's home, a Mediterranean marvel that he reportedly purchased in 2003 for a mere $22 million. We hear he lives in this place part-time.

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Rounding the corner of the pedestrian/bike/moose path the view of the Pacific Ocean and the SB coastline is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

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Butterfly Beach is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. The stairs leading to the beach make access convenient and safe, although on nice days, parking can be a total nightmare. The beach itself is one of Santa Barbara's most beautiful, and although there are several rules and warnings, it seems that few beach goers at Butterfly pay much attention to them.

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Butterfly Lane, which ends at the stairs at Butterfly Beach, also extends well past Coast Village Road where it intersects Middle Road, just below Hot Springs Road. Walking toward the mountains on Butterfly Lane you'll pass a house that is festooned with more pigs than you could ever imagine. We've taken a few photos, but they really don't do the place justice. It's worth a trip to that part of Butterfly Lane just to marvel at this "piggy palace." We understand the home belongs to a couple who began collecting pigs of all kinds back in the 1960's or 1970's, as a humorous reaction to one of the couple's profession. The husband, a retired law enforcement officer, and his wife began collecting and displaying pigs of every kind, and the collection has continued to grow over the years. We hear the inside of the home also has quite an impressive collection of "porcomobilia."

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Lastly we'll tell you about a not-so secret underPANTS (as Roger likes to call them) at the end of Butterfly Lane. In order to allow passage from Coast Village Road to the beach, and vice versa, the Butterfly Lane Tunnel was built in 1956. This pedestrian/ bike underpass goes beneath the 101 and the train tracks, following Butterfly Lane from Coast Village Road to the spot where the road dead ends at the railroad tracks on the beach side of the freeway. The tunnel underwent a major renovation in 2006 and is a very handy way to safely and quickly get from Coast Village Rd. to the beach and back again. We like the tunnel so well we decided to show it to you from both sides.

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As always we encourage you to go out and explore your town, 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 270066 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 10:34 AM

Thank you, Peter and Stacey!
We love reading your articles about our town and appreciate your engaging writing and all the effort you must put in to get us the historical "skinny" on your walks around Santa Barbara!
Keep up the excellent work!

 

 COMMENT 270075 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 11:34 AM

I bike there all the time and had no idea what I was passing by. Thank you!

 

 COMMENT 270081 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 11:50 AM

When I was a teenager on Hermosillo Road, I used to go to Butterfly Beach everyday in the summer via the "underpants." I still like going there....just not as often. Thanks for another great report.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 12:04 PM

Where is the Milpas Underpants? Oh yea I'm wearing them..

 

 BILLY GOODNICK agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 02:54 PM

It was quite a while ago, but my recollection was that Sam Salario was a Park and Recreation Commissioner at the time and was bothered by the shabby appearance of this planter. He asked Grant Castleberg and me (in my capacity as City Landscape Architect) to select some plants to gussy up the beds and I think he rounded up donations (or got the nurseries to supply the plants) and a few of us showed up on the designated Saturday and put them in (green side up). I still get a little kick out of that project whenever I'm cruising the beach. Sam's a major force of nature and should be the subject of a bio here at Edhat someday.

bg

 

 COMMENT 270113 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 02:59 PM

Thanks, Billy. We knew you'd have the 4-1-1 on that.

 

 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 03:16 PM

Thank you Stacey and Peter for another beautiful, well-written story. I've been out of commission lately and have missed you!

 

 COMMENT 270116 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 03:31 PM

Ty Warner's estate is actually three separate parcels that he purchased and combined into one. 1035 Fairway, 1045 Fairway and 1000 Channel. He paid a total of $52 million for the three estates, tore them down and built his current estate at 1000 Channel. All in all, he's in it for well over $100 million.

 

 ZENYATTA19 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 06:01 PM

Thank you for the great pictures and information. We are all so lucky to live in such an amazing place!

 

 CHERIDIANE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 07:22 PM

So informative. I made a note to take my grand daughter through the tunnel and on the moose trail this summer. Thank you for what you do. I am always eager to see your posts.

 

 COMMENT 270151 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 08:37 PM

Oh my God! When will this guy stop? Why not count grains of sand. Ridiculous.

 

 COMMENT 270160P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-07 09:46 PM

@ 151- uh...huh? What do grains of sand and the amount of them have to do with this story? Wrong thread?

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-08 11:25 AM

Where's the Gorilla counting grains of sand?

 

 COMMENT 270237 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-08 02:39 PM

Again I am encouraged to hike in places I haven't even thought of, like the SB Cemetery.....it would be like walking thru a piece of history to take time to read those headstones.

Thanks Urban Hikers!

 

 COMMENT 270325 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-09 06:41 AM

Another fine hike

 

 COMMENT 274617 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-04-25 06:27 AM

Thank you urban hikers!!! I no longer live in SB but have walked on many of the streets you guys do - I love to read your articles - I learn something AND get to go down memory lane!!

 

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