Santa Barbara is an incredible place to live. Every neighborhood offers its own interesting and unique experience. Click on the map below to learn more!
Some SB history...
One of Santa Barbara’s most cherished assets is its colorful history - a mix of Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese and American Indian influences blended with some film industry flavor. Santa Barbara visitors and residents alike still enjoy many gifts from our past like the Spanish Revival architecture seen in the Santa Barbara Courthouse, archeological sites like the Chumash Indian ruins surrounding the Old Mission, and silent-era Hollywood lore from our days as “the back lot by the sea.”
Santa Barbara got its name from Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo when he happened upon the area in 1542. Before and after Cabrillo’s visit, the Chumash Indians populated our coastline, cruising coastal waters and living off the land, until Spanish Franciscan monks arrived in the 18th century on their mission-building quest through California.
The Franciscans built 21 missions in California, including three in Santa Barbara County: Mission Santa Ines in Solvang, La Purisima Mission in Lompoc and Mission Santa Barbara, known as the “Queen of the Missions.” After coming under Mexican rule for 24 years, Santa Barbara became a U.S. territory in 1846.
After the Civil War, the face of Santa Barbara began to change. Victorian houses soon outnumbered Spanish Colonials. Shipping grew in prominence, as goods and people from the East began pouring in through the small, but growing, port. This began a period of great experimentation. Agriculture became more important as people realized that just about anything planted grew in Santa Barbara.
In the early 1900s, the pre-Hollywood silent film studios set up shop in Santa Barbara, and more than 1,200 movies (mostly Westerns) were produced during a ten-year period. Legendary film stars including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin made Santa Barbara their playground, and location scouts continue to feature Santa Barbara in modern day movies.
In 1925, an earthquake leveled much of the city. Most of the Victorians burned and Santa Barbara was rebuilt in the spirit of its heritage. The resulting “Spanish Revival” architecture can be seen in some of the city’s most iconic buildings, like the Santa Barbara Courthouse, and is responsible for giving us the stunning skyline that we enjoy today.
Somewhere between the earthquake and now, Santa Barbara exploded from a quiet agricultural community to a busy, well rounded community. The rich heritage of Santa Barbara is evident in the many local events and sites throughout the city.