Santa Barbara High School Celebrates 100th Birthday

Santa Barbara High School in 1924 (courtesy)

By the Santa Barbara High School Alumni Association

Santa Barbara High School (“The High School” to all Dons) was established in 1875 at the corner of Cota and Santa Barbara Streets.

After multiple moves and a population boom (between 1900 and 1920 the school’s enrollment quadrupled) the school’s De La Vina campus was bursting at the seams with 500 students in a building built for 300. Students and community members (including School Board President Frederick Forest Peabody) worked tirelessly to promote bond issues that would support a new campus.

In 1922 a $450,000 bond passed with a significant majority of voter approval. In 1923 the momentum continued with a $150,000 bond to fund the furnishings for the new school building.

The plan was to build the school in an area that was considered remote and they chose 29 acres at 700 East Anapamu Street. Additional land acquisitions from the undeveloped areas around the new campus enabled SBHS to expand to the 40+ acre campus that it is today. The cornerstone was laid in September 1923 and the Anapamu Campus was born.

On June 20, 1924, 130 students from the De La Vina campus graduated in the newly built Auditorium at the Anapamu Street location. That same year, on September 2, the Main Building doors opened for the first students to start their 1924-25 academic journey on the Anapamu Street campus, and by Thanksgiving Day, Peabody Stadium was dedicated and enjoyed by students, teams, and the community. SBHS alumni stand on the shoulders of the Dons of the early 1900s.

The Anapamu Campus Centennial Celebrations will be marked when the SBHS Alumni Association hangs banners announcing the Centennial at the entrances to the school.

In addition, we will have a Campus Beautification Day on Sunday, June 2, 2024. All Dons and members of the community are welcome to join us. Donations for the Centennial Celebrations and Campus Cleanup (and the 2025 150th birthday of SBHS) are welcome and appreciated. Questions can be directed to

Note: Thank you to the SBHS Forge and Noticias for the historical information.

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