Colorized 1890 Mission Photo

By Joe DeLise

Here’s a 1890 Riviera view of the Mission looking west.

The tree line in the background is Mission Creek, and I believe the house in the background is approximately on today’s De La Vina St.

If any readers have pre-WWII non-commercial B&W photographs of Santa Barbara and vicinity with structures that are still standing, I’d appreciate if you can send a copy to me at:, and please don’t forget to include your name for credit! Smartphone photo or scanned images acceptable, thank you!

Original black and white photograph is from the SBPL online collection.


Written by jdelise

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    • THOMAS JOHN – Odd you would make that comment, given there are only TWO trees in the foreground of this photo and there’s not exactly a sprawling forest in the background. Not only are trees solitary living organisms, they’re home to many animals and shelter for migratory species, but yeah, you need a better bike path……

  1. Love seeing the colorized photo of The Old Mission! How barren the landscape around here was back in the day. It’s obvious from the photo that we have very few native trees growing in Santa Barbara. Fortunately, because of our climate, we are able to grow nearly any plant/tree here that we desire, which is only possible by creating an infrastructure for importing water. Removing a handful of non-native trees along the new bike path on Modoc isn’t the end of the world. I love palm trees, but those along Modoc create unnecessary hazards and simply need to be removed for the greater good of the people of Santa Barbara, especially the bike-riding public. Years ago (late 60s/early 70s) they wanted to replace all of the Italian Stone Pine trees along Anapamu St., but there was a huge uproar. Now we have to live with and maintain the unsafe buckled roads and sidewalks due to their huge root system. Those ISPs are unnaturally “force fed” water to keep them alive using those ugly plastic “troughs” next to many of those trees.

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