Santa Barbara Travel Guide
In 1782, the Spaniards
returned for good. A group led by Governor Felipe de Neve, Captain Jose Ortega,
and Father Junipero Serra, permanently settled in the area in order to establish
a military presidio and mission and, in the process, founded the city of Santa
Barbara. In the process of the Spaniards' teaching the Native Americans to wear
European clothing, to eat meat instead of their healthful diet of fruit, vegetables,
nuts and fish, most the Chumash became ill and died. of European diseases. The
Spaniards governed the area until 1822, when California became a Mexican territory.
The United States took Santa Barbara from Mexico 24 years later, in 1846. Thus
was created a melting pot of Chumash, Spanish, Mexican and North American languages
Up until the late
1800's the serene, peaceful community of Santa Barbara was over looked by the
rush of westward migrators. About that time word began to reach the east coast
that there was a place in California called Santa Barbara which had attributes
more valuable than gold or silver. It possessed an ideal climate, hot and cold
springs, and a restful atmosphere. Many people began to converge on the little
mission with a desire to recuperate from the stresses of life. Santa Barbara
was touted as one of the most idyllic health spas to be found anywhere, attracting
visitors from around the U.S. and beyond. Some came to relax and recharge and
then left, others came and found they did not want to leave. Many of those who
remained had money to invest, and the small, sleepy mission soon began showing
signs of growth. Modern hotels and cultural centres were created. Presidents,
kings and queens, the rich and the famous, all came from around the globe to
bask in the beauty and culture that was now Santa Barbara.
In 1910, before
Hollywood became the film capital of the world, Santa Barbara was the centre
of the motion picture industry. The American Film Company opened the Flying
A Studio there. At that time and for several years thereafter, the studio was
the largest of its kind in the world. In a ten year span over 1200 movies (mostly
westerns) were made. Today, many film celebrities own homes in Santa Barbara.
For them it was the perfect place to escape the glare of Hollywood, while at
the same time be less than two hours away from their work.
architecture springs from the roots of its historic past. Splendid old adobes
with court yards named after historical figures and Mediterranean style buildings
found throughout the city, were inspired by the Spanish residences of the early
years. The museums and cultural centres preserve much of the town's past. The
Chumash (now restored to health and re established as a native American community),
Hispanic, Mexican and North American influences are very much a part of life
in this peaceful sanctuary.
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