Barnsdall Models

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Barnsdall Models
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By Tom Modugno of Goleta History

Everybody knows and loves this beautiful old building. We have for decades. And we are all waiting patiently for the city to save it.

Over the years, countless artists have made their renditions of the little gas station with world class architecture.

But recently, a viewer told us they had seen a model of the Barnsdall station in an old Model Railroader magazine! This we had to see…..

Without too much effort, we found it and ordered up a copy ASAP. It was a Model Railroader magazine from April 1979.

The author, Carl Jacobsen, describes how he stumbled across the station one day and had no idea what it was. He snuck through the barbed wire fence, through the tall weeds and found an old receipt book on the ground. A “wrinkled carbon copy” said that on October 21, 1934, the Rio Grande Oil Inc. sold 23 gallons of gas to Perkins Cement Co. for 14 cents a gallon. That’s when the author realized it was an old gas station….

One of the great things about this article was it provided several photos of the old station back in 1979. Obviously, it was in much better shape than it is now. The author continues to say that he contacted Santa Barbara’s noted historian, Walker Tompkins, and learned all about the history of the building.

Around the back, the author peers over the 5 foot wall and sees “old oil cans, rusty mufflers, and worn out tires”. Look what great shape the tiles were in back then!

He took an oil can home to copy the company trademark on the model he was going to make for his train set. He says he was going to make it the “mysterious Spook House” of his layout….

He must have spent a lot of time there, because he goes into great detail about the building and surrounding area, with exact measurements and beautiful drawings of every little thing.

Fun to see what was still around the property in 1979.

Next is a very informative walk through of how to build it and what materials he recommends.

The author really studied every detail in order to build his model, and he even mocks the construction workers that built the station, pointing out several mistakes. But finishes by saying this little station could be the “shining jewel” of your model railroad layout.

Overall a fun find about a local treasure, and some great photos of its condition in 1979.

Not long after getting the magazine, I saw this picture in a Facebook post! I contacted the poster, Pam Dudash, and she explained her brother Mike Dudash had built it from scratch using resin.

So I talked to Mike and learned he used this very same magazine article for the dimensions. Quite a coincidence! He made about 20 of these and sold them around town. This is just another example of how much people love this old building and how important it is to save it!

Sources: Stu Fredricks, Henry Schulte, Model Railroader magazine, Pam Dudash, Mike Dudash

Read more at GoletaHistory.org

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hunkymon Jun 21, 2021 12:23 PM
Barnsdall Models

Maybe I missed it in the comments, but there was a big to do a few years ago about Ty Warner making a big donation to save the Station.

irishgirl Jun 21, 2021 08:16 AM
Barnsdall Models

Here is a link to an article about the Barnsdall Station architectural influence in Goleta and Santa Barbara https://goletahistory.com/architectural-influence/

SantaBarbaraObserver Jun 21, 2021 08:16 AM
Barnsdall Models

On a similar note: I hear people are looking to save the beautiful, art covered, architectural gem located on the edge of the ocean in Summerland. The wooden building, while never finished, has historical significance because people have become used to staring at it rotting away on the cliffs for the last 15 years. Lil' FernaldPoint, a local "surfer" who spends most of his days camped below the building says " I got my first taste of modern California street art from this building, its truly a significant part of my life and our culture here".... _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Honestly, this strange kind of nostalgia for an old dilapidated gas station is truly nuts. Sure its an interesting looking building, that might make a great coffee shop drive in somewhere with actual traffic, but come on, its just a old gas station rotting away! Are people really that starving for some sense of culture that we cling onto such meaningless buildings and claim they're historical? Yes, why yes we are... cut to: His arm extends, his palm opens wide and then quickly slaps into his forehead while his head bows in shame... fade to black. "CUT!"

a-1624302956 Jun 21, 2021 12:15 PM
Barnsdall Models

I like the Barnsdall Station because I remember it from my childhood. We lived way up north, but drove down 101 to visit relatives in L.A. My parents routinely turned off here and we’d stop to eat sandwiches and lemonade brought from home, and pee in the nearby bushes. That was decades ago. But it’s a fond memory.

tMo Jun 21, 2021 07:48 AM
Barnsdall Models

Here's what happened with Ty Warner's donation.....
https://goletahistory.com/victory-at-ellwood/

a-1624318389 Jun 21, 2021 04:33 PM
Barnsdall Models

Thanks TMO. That was indeed informative.

4358ed Jun 20, 2021 10:41 PM
Barnsdall Models

I thought the story was Ty Warner (?) owned the property and was all in for the refurbish. However the environmental requirements proved too costly. It was then "donated" back to the county for historical purpose... or something like that.

Sail380 Jun 21, 2021 07:37 AM
Barnsdall Models

4358ED you hit on the biggest problem with restoration. No one wants to tackle the coastal commission and possible fuel contamination from leaking tanks. Does not cost anything to let it sit until the can of worms is opened.

yacht rocked Jun 21, 2021 06:42 AM
Barnsdall Models

If that's true, one solution would be for the County to designate it as a cannabis retail location, fix it up back to historic look, and then rent it out to the permittee for a nice income.

a-1624249059 Jun 20, 2021 09:17 PM
Barnsdall Models

This would make a good subject for 3-D printing or http://www.papermodelers.com

a-1624246736 Jun 20, 2021 08:38 PM
Barnsdall Models

Mr. Tom, you're a prince. I hope the entire area, your readers here, Goleta, and Santa Barbara County, and compatriot historians, appreciate your contributions! Thank you.

Ahchooo Jun 20, 2021 08:15 PM
Barnsdall Models

If a reliable group makes a viable plan to save it, I’ll contribute a couple hundred dollars. Can we do that? Get the funding by donation? (Sorry, I won’t step up to organize such a plan. But maybe somebody will?)

RockwellBAD2 Jun 20, 2021 08:11 PM
Barnsdall Models

Hey Tom-
What a fascinating article you have written.!!! I appreciate the angle your research has presented. Who knew The Barnsdall would be a part of a model train-scape.! Keep up the good work and don’t let all the political comments about the unhoused population and other subterfuge slow you down.

a-1624241849 Jun 20, 2021 07:17 PM
Barnsdall Models

What a pity the present Goleta government has just left it to deteriorate; one day, one of them will exclaim, "It's a safety hazard!!" and will urge it to be torn down because the city doesn't have the money to restore because it has to pay so much to the county ...and that it is all the first councilmembers' fault. Where is the Goodland Coalition?

Fascinating photos and article!

Minibeast Jun 20, 2021 06:41 PM
Barnsdall Models

self-edit *hold up ON restoration

a-1624247247 Jun 20, 2021 08:47 PM
Barnsdall Models

If you're interested, can you find out more for us?
My money and interests go toward other issues, so I know nothing about this restoration beyond what I read here.

RHS Jun 20, 2021 06:41 PM
Barnsdall Models

OK, it is an interesting and nostalgic reminder of 100 years ago. A time when corporations built their businesses to attract customers and, on occasion, allowed creative people to do wonderful things. But was just a gas station. In Europe rich people built little follies that sat on their estates as pseudo homage to a romantic vision of a time that wasn't . Marie Antoinette had her farm. Does anyone think those buildings were particularly artistic? Save it if you can because it is cute but it is not a symbol of a golden age.

Minibeast Jun 20, 2021 06:41 PM
Barnsdall Models

Time to get** impatient** about this. The building is falling to ruin, inch by inch. What's the hold up restoration? Tom, I thought you were part of a campaign to save the old station. What happened, aside from Covid?

yacht rocked Jun 20, 2021 06:20 PM
Barnsdall Models

Who owns the building and land it sits on? Follow the money....

3P14159 Jun 20, 2021 05:34 PM
Barnsdall Models

I have always imagined this to be a turned into an iconic coffee shop. It's beauty and history could make it a very successful local attraction for the nearby residents, cyclists, travellers, etc. Could generate a nice taxable income.

It's asset potential is huge !

a-1624244561 Jun 20, 2021 08:02 PM
Barnsdall Models

You're right. It would make a great coffee shop or even mini restaurant. To celebrate the iconic days of Highway 1.

Byzantium Jun 20, 2021 04:56 PM
Barnsdall Models

Call it a monument to the end of fossil fuels, and I suspect you would have a good fund-raising theme.

a-1624233295 Jun 20, 2021 04:54 PM
Barnsdall Models

Perhaps if we were to call it a homeless shelter millions of tax dollars would suddenly pour into it's restoration.

CoastWatch Jun 20, 2021 04:00 PM
Barnsdall Models

Money that should be spent on saving a local icon from a past society, is instead being spent on our failed current society of vagrants and addicts to the tune of Millions in local taxpayer funds annually. Screw the Parks and Rec for kids, schools, infrastructure and preserving buildings like this.

a-1624317149 Jun 21, 2021 04:12 PM
Barnsdall Models

And not ashamed to admit it?

a-1624247068 Jun 20, 2021 08:44 PM
Barnsdall Models

So "people" are in a "stupor"? And not voting how you prefer?
I'm opinionated, but I would never accuse the public of what you accuse them of!
And there are hundreds of local issues of interest to certain citizen interest groups. Do you really expect politicians to cater to all of them? It's up to citizens to support and be active in making their wishes and projects come true. That's a part of American democracy.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jun 20, 2021 04:34 PM
Barnsdall Models

It's not in the interest of politicians to save a local icon like this. Restoring it will remind people of how nice things used to be, jolting them from their present stupor. The people might actually hold the crooks responsible for years of decay and vote them out of office, and they can't have that.

OICU812 Jun 20, 2021 03:27 PM
Barnsdall Models

The delay in saving this gem is so terribly sad. Step up Ty!

LovesSB Jun 20, 2021 03:03 PM
Barnsdall Models

Beautiful!!! It must be saved!!

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