Santa Barbara is an American city that is located in Santa Barbara County, California. The city is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. It covers an area of forty-one square miles and has a population of ninety thousand residents. Santa Barbara is a popular resort and tourist destination and is sometimes called “America’s Riviera”. Its economy is diverse and strong and is represented by education, tourism, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. Education in the city is provide by five institutions of higher learning which include the Brooks Institute of Photography, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Antioch University and Westmont College. The transportation needs of the city are serviced by Santa Barbara Airport and Amtrak.
The history of the area on which Santa Barbara rests can be traced back thirteen thousand years when it was inhabited by the Chumash tribe. When the Spanish missionaries arrived in the area, there were over one hundred Chumash villages with a population of eighteen thousand people. In the 1780s, El Presidio and the Mission were established. Thus began the Christianization of the natives and colonization of the area. The Spanish ruled the area until 1822, when the territory of California became a Mexican territory. In 1846, Santa Barbara was taken in the name of the United States by Colonel John Fremont. Between 1830 and 1865, a strong agricultural and ranching industry developed in the area. After the end of the Civil War, Santa Barbara went through several significant changes. The city began to switch from Spanish Colonial style homes to Victorians. The city also developed a healthy trade industry that was enhanced by the influx of goods and people from the east. In 1925, the city is rocked by a huge earthquake. This earthquake destroyed most of the Victorian homes. The only homes that withstood the quake was the Spanish Colonials. As a result, an ordinance was passed to make downtown Santa Barbara more in the Spanish Colonial stye. After the earthquake, the city went through an extensive boom period and emerged as a modern community from its agricultural roots.
Today, the city is a well known tourist destination that is visited year round. It is known for its fair weather, Spanish architecture and downtown beaches. Tourism brings in over a billion dollars a year into the city, a figure which includes eighty million dollars in tax revenue. A popular attraction in the city is Mission Santa Barbara. This Spanish Franciscan mission was founded in December of 1786 on the feast day of Saint Barbara. It was consecrated by Father Fermín Lasuen. Santa Barbara Mission is the only mission to have remained under the control of Franciscan Friars since its inception. Another popular attraction in the city is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This courthouse was designed by William Mooser and built in 1929. Its done in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and occupies an entire city block. The courthouse is made up of four building which have a total area of one hundred and fifty thousand square feet. It features a jail wing (which is no longer in use) and an eighty five foot clock tower called El Mirador. The facade of the building has two figures on thrones. In between them is a Spanish inscription which reads “DIOS NOS DIO LOS CAMPOS ARTE HVMANA EDIFICO CIVDADES”. This tranlates into English as “God gave us country, the skill of man built the cities”.
Another prominent attraction in the city is the Santa Barbara Zoo. This zoo is situated on thirty acres and was originally known as the Child’s Estate Zoo. Santa Barbara Zoo has earned numerous awards for being the best small zoo in the country. It contains five hundred animals taken from one hundred and sixty species in its exhibits. These include African black-footed cat, Channel Island Fox, West African Guinea Hog, Snow Leopard, Asian small-clawed Otter, Navajo-Churro Sheep, Amur Leopard, Crested Porcupine, Slender-tailed Meerkat, Asian Elephant and San Clemente Island Goats.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is another attraction that is popular among visitors to the city. This museum was founded in 1941 and is located in the downtown area of the city at 1130 State Street. Its permanent collection includes American, European and Asian art that spans the last four thousand years. Items in its collection includes musical instruments, Pre-Columbian Art, seventeenth century doll collections, African Art and American paintings. Current exhibitions include “Poets, Courtiers, and Lovers: Allusions to the Classical Past in Japanese Woodblock Prints”, “Diana Thater: Butterflies and Other People” and “California Calling: Works from Santa Barbara Collections, 1948 – 2008”. Artists represented by its collection include Albert-Ernest Carrier- Belleuse, Pierre Bonnard, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Berthe Marie Paul Morisot, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rene Francois Rodin, George Wesley Bellows, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas W. Eakins, John Frederick Peto, Frederic Remington, Bo Bartlett, Lawrence Gipe, Miriam Schapiro, Hung Liu and Alison Saar.
Other attractions in the city of Santa Barbara include The Grapeline Santa Barbara, Wine Edventures Wine Tour, Sustainable Vine Wine Tours, Market Forays, Segway of Santa Barbara, Casa de la Guerra, Natural History Museum, Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Andree Clark Bird Refuge, Santa Barbara Land Shark, Karpeles Manuscript Library, Santa Barbara Winery, Chase Palm Park, Nojoqui Falls County Park, Ty Warner Sea Center, Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Lobero Theatre, Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, Casa del Herrero, El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, Carriage & Western Art Museum, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Convict Lake, El Capitan Lake, Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park, Arlington Theatre, Float Luxury Spa, Santa Barbara Backroads, Alameda Park, Douglas Family Preserve, Hendry’s Beach, Leadbetter Beach, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, De La Guerra Plaza, Gould Park, Shoreline Park, Skofield Park, East Beach, West Beach, Elings Park and Butterfly Beach. The city of Santa Barbara also contains many restaurants and hotels, as well as beautiful golf courses and great shopping venues.