Santa Barbara

Population 88,410

Land 19.50 square miles

Elevation 49 ft.

Zip Codes 93101-93103, 93105–93111, 93116–93118, 93120–93121, 93130, 93140, 93150, 93160, 93190, 93199

Area Description

The Samarkand or in ancient Persian “The land of heart’s desire” was open cattle range until the end of the 19th century. It is bordered by Oak park to the East, Hollister Ave to the North, Las Positas to the West, and Old Coast Highway (101) to the South.  The neighborhood first used the title Samarkand in 1920 when a former all boys school on the property was turned into the opulent Persian themed lodge known as The Samarkand Hotel. In that same year, the property was also first subdivided into what is known as the Casa Loma Tract. Many of the streets in the Samarkand take their name from parts of the Hollister Estate, such as Santa Anita Road, San Onofre Road, Stanley Drive, and Tallant Road. The property would change hands several times over the coming decades before being purchased by the Evangelical Covenant Church and converted into a retirement home. For the first time in the Samarkand’s history the development was a success, because of its new management. The retirement center doubled its occupancy over the coming years and many capital improvements were made that still play a part in the desirable neighborhood’s charm to this day.
If you exit highway 101 from the north or south at Mission Street and head north up Mission, you will eventually cross Foothill Road and end up twisting your way through Mission Canyon, one of Santa Barbara’s most historic neighborhoods that is still comprised of landmarks from old Spanish days. One of these landmarks is the dam that was constructed in 1806 to hold the waters of mission creek back to provide water for the irrigation of grain fields, gardens, and vineyards near the mission. This dam can still be seen to this day in the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens along with remnants of the original aqueduct, tannery, and pottery buildings. Mission Canyon is a favorite among locals today for its many hiking trails, which include seven falls, cathedral peak, inspiration point, rattlesnake trail, and tunnel trail. Mission Canyon is unique because it is one of just a few neighborhoods in Santa Barbara that does not fall within the city limits; the other notable neighborhood being Hope Ranch.
The land that Hope Ranch occupies today traces its history back to one of the last Mexican land grants ever made. In 1846 Governor Pio Pico granted Narciso Fabrigat the “Las Positas Rancho” which was similar in size to the 3,232 acres of the “La Calera Rancho” he already owned. The two-combined made Fabrigat the first owner of what was to be known under its next owner, Thomas Hope as Hope Ranch. Hope Ranches modern day equestrian presence is largely due to the fact that Thomas Hope was engrossed with horse racing, having setup the first flat racing and hurdle racing courses in the state. In 1875 Hope commissioned local Santa Barbara architect Peter J. Barber to build a grand Victorian home to replace the adobe he and his wife were then living in. The house still stands as a designated historical landmark at 399 Nogal Drive. Sadly, Hope didn’t live long enough to see the structure completed, passing away in 1876. His wife, Delia, then sold her half of the ranch to the railroad interests of the Pacific Improvement Company for $200,000 in gold. The Pacific Improvement Company is responsible for much of what makes Hope Ranch unique today, including its network of winding roads and the water fed into Laguna Blanca reservoir from upper San Roque Canyon. The current homeowner’s association of Hope Ranch has been active since the early 1920s and is responsible for the 1,863 acres that make up the ranch.
San Roque is one of Santa Barbara’s most desirable neighborhoods due to its public schools, rich landscaping, long curving streets, and abundance of architectural designs; which include Spanish Colonial, American Colonial, French Normandy, Italianate, English Tudor, and many more. San Roque draws its name from Saint Roque, the patron saint of invalids. San Roque experienced an explosion of growth in the early 20th century. This lead to a need for an elementary school, so Peabody Elementary was built at 3018 Calle Noguera in 1928. By 1940 roughly half of the San Roque area was developed. Later growth, between 1955 and 1965 would see the large remainder of the area filled in with residences. The shopping areas just to the south of San Roque (Loreto Plaza, Broadmoor Plaza, La Cumbre Plaza, and Five Points) owe their success in large part to the purchasing power that was created because of the growing San Roque neighborhood.
The Riviera is Santa Barbara’s most visible neighborhood; spanning the two miles between Mission and Sycamore Canyon one can see it protruding up from downtown whether standing on the beach or just about anywhere uptown. The Riviera has not always gone by its current appealing name, however. Before any houses were ever built on The Riviera, it served as a foot path for the Chumash and then centuries later as a road for the ox carts of Mexican ranchers. The tracks left behind by the carts formed a more permanent road that would later be known as Grand Ave. The first permanent dwelling ever put on the Riviera was located on what is now 1740 Grand Ave by C. A. Storke. Storke’s son was born in his house on Grand Ave and would later go on to establish the Santa Barbara News Press. The Riviera neighborhood is in demand today as a setting to own a home, not only because of its unparalleled views of Santa Barbara, but also because of its partially tropical appearance. One will find plentiful plantings of acacias, eucalyptus, pittosporum, eugenias, varieties of palms, and hibiscus.
The Mesa takes its name from the Spanish word that means table. This is due to the fact that the sheer cliff facing the ocean in Santa Barbara resembles a table top. All of Santa Barbara used to possess these cliffs that we are all so familiar with, but sometime in the geologic past a two-and-a-half-mile segment of the cliffs sank below sea level, which allowed a gulf of seawater to develop inland, reaching as far as where the Santa Barbara Mission now stands. After this geologic event the Mission and Sycamore Canyon creeks slowly filled in the gulf with silt and rocks to create where downtown Santa Barbara now stands. Before the Mesa was developed it was home to many farms in the late 19th century, due to its rich soil. The farms ranged in size from a few acres to as big as 264 acres. The largest of these farms was owned by Mr. T. W. Moore and was located north of Cliff Dr. between Las Positas and Flora Vista. The Mesa was home to many families whose names can still be found on The Mesa today, some of which include, Meigs, Beckstead, Snow, Weldon, Dewlaney, Oliver, DeAdrian, Porter, Davis, Potter Babcock, and Low. Much of why The Mesa looks as it does today is because many of these families refused to develop or split up their land during the 1880s or 90s, when many other areas of Santa Barbara were being urbanized. This changed largely during the 20th century as The Mesa became a family focused community. To meet the educational needs of The Mesa three elementary schools were built during this time; McKinley in 1932, Washington in 1954, and Monroe in 1958. Well known Shoreline Park was later dedicated in 1967 after the city approved a bond to buy the land. The 15 acres of Shoreline Park is enjoyed by adults and kids alike to this day. after the city approved a bond to buy the land. The 15 acres of Shoreline Park is enjoyed by adults and kids alike to this day.
The differentiation between the “Eastside” and “Westside” was not made until 1851 when State St. was first devised. The Eastside was originally a marsh not possessing many trees or inhabitants whatsoever. Santa Barbara’s first governor, Gaspar de Portola, would change this with his development that was known as “La Laguna de la Concepcion.” As the early Spanish settlers of Santa Barbara moved into the area the Governor of the time was concerned with the safety of the town and other neighboring settlements. This caused Governor Neve, Lt. Ortega, and Father Serra to construct the Presidio as a home base to protect the settlers of the area. The Presidio still stands to this day, where Canon Perdido crosses Santa Barbara St. The settlers who called the Eastside home during this time raised berries, vegetables, and maize in the fertile soils that surround the bottom of Mission and Sycamore creeks. The center of the Eastside’s business community today is located along Milpas Street, a street which takes its name from the Spanish word for maize fields. The lowest lying areas of the Eastside are bordered by Olive, Haley, Milpas, and Ortega streets. This area was used as Santa Barbara’s dump during the first two decades of the 20th century. Eventually the area was cleaned up and converted into what we know today as Santa Barbara Junior High and Ortega Park.
When California became a state in 1850, the Westside of Santa Barbara was still open grazing range and farmland. The Westside was initially developed as the first non-Spanish settlement in Santa Barbara. Some of Santa Barbara’s most notable streets run through the Westside. De la Vina was named because of the vineyards it used to run through, Bath because it ran through town to the beach and the public bath houses, San Pascual after the battle fought in present day San Diego in the Mexican-American War, San Andres in commemoration of General Andres Pico, Chino named for Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, Gillespie for Lt. Archibald Gillespie, and Robbins, which memorializes Thomas Robbins, who owned Hope Ranch and Santa Catalina Island. A polo field used to be located on the Westside, between San Andres and Gillespie. The Santa Barbara Polo Club was located here and run by Olympic champion Elmer Boeseke. Mission Creek runs through much of the Westside providing drainage during storm years. The creek has not run year-round since 1911 when its source was tapped at Mission Tunnel.

Featured Listings

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.

Current Listings

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.