Crocker Row on Garden St. Colorization

Crocker Row in Santa Barbara circa 1900 (Photo: Black Gold Library)

The Mission is not the star in this colorization, just a co-star!  The Garden St. dog hasn’t arrived yet!!! This is the historic Crocker Row on the original Garden Street in Santa Barbara.

Note the cut into the Riviera hill on the right…that’s where the former Oreña then Hawley estate was located, and now the Roosevelt Elementary School.

The date is around 1900-1910. Photo is found in the Black Gold library.

Historic photo of Crocker Row in Santa Barbara circa 1900 colorized by Joe DeLise (Original photo courtesy Black Gold Library)


Written by Joe DeLise

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    • Good morning and thanks for reading Edhat! When I first started my colorizations in 2022, and searching through 100’s of old photos, my biggest surprises was how open the land was, and total lack of trees/shrubs (except along water routes). Other surprise was how the area around the mission changed with plantings, based on its needs of the time. Last big surprise was how “ratty” the mission got leading up to a 1886 hundredth anniversary fund raiser, which benefitted the front dormitory re-plastering and new roof. Was also fun seeing the first utility pole….the mission lit it’s first two electric lights on Christmas Eve, 1901.

    • Thanks, Joe for your good work! Good observation, Basicinfo! It is important to recognize that 90% of the trees, shrubs and grasses that we see here are planted and are not natives. None of those pretty flowering trees and palm trees belong here. The vast majority of grasses and ornamental shrubs are introduced and some are quite invasive, competing with and choking out whatever natives attempt to recolonize. But we can help! Plant more natives.

      The few places where you can see what SB really looked like (aside from old photos ;-)) are the Carpinteria Bluffs, More Mesa and Ellwood Mesa. Just ignore the introduced eucalyptus and invasive pampas grass. And, of course, there’s the native foothill woodland canyons and the remaining riparian areas. There is a movement to replant with [at least] regional native plants. There are so many use-to-be local natives and regional natives that can enhance the natural beauty of SB. This is an awesome season to check out the SB Botanic Garden and see what that means.

      • Although old photos show an expansive lack of trees, I read the land had been native oak trees. They were clear cut as fuel for uses like ship boilers, whale blubber rendering, household stoves, and export. Tis would’ve been back in the 1700s-earlier 1800s. I think Walker Tompkins wrote that an unbroken oak forest from Santa Barbara to Gaviota was clear cut.
        That may have been native on S Barb hillsides prior to graislands in late 1800s photos.

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