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Extremely Rare and Impressive View of Santa Barbara. Only One Other Recorded Copy -- at the Santa Barbara Historical Society.

Rare lithographed view of Santa Barbara by "RH" and W.W. Elliott Lithography of San Francisco. According to Reps (389) there is only one institutional copy of the view, at the Santa Barbara Historical Society. There are no examples recorded in OCLC.

In one of the most beautiful valleys on the Pacific Coast, on a gentle slope, rising from the waters of the Pacific to a height of more than 300 feet to the venerable Franciscan Mission, is situated the far-famed city of Santa Barbara, the "little city by the sea." - Introduction below the image.

This view was prepared for S.W. Backus & Co, and was no doubt intended as a real estate promotional piece. It was published by The Santa Barbara Independent in 1877.

Relationship to other Early Views of Santa Barbara

Reps records a few other views of Santa Barbara published in the last quarter of the 19th century, however, this is the rarest early view; the 1873 "Santa Barbara, California" by A.E. Mathews and A.L. Banckroft & Co. is known in at least four institutional examples and features on three checklists; the 1877 E.S. Glover view "Bird's Eye of Santa Barbara, California, 1877. Looking North to the Santa Barbara Mountains" is in at least seven institutional collections and four checklists.

The timeline of these views makes sense given the history of Santa Barbara. While the city had existed in some form since Santa Barbara Presidio was founded in 1782, it was not until the Stearns Wharf was constructed in 1872 that the city saw its first real boom. Writer Charles Nordhoff was commissioned by the Southern Pacific Railroad to write about the city in the 1870s, and he further contributed to tourist interest in the area.

Vignettes and Key

The view features the following 29 vignettes (clockwise from the top middle):

  • Commercial Hotel, W.S. Low. Proprietor.
  • Santa Barbara Library Building Cos. Block.
  • W.A. & T.S. Hawley's Hardware Store.
  • Champion Stables. A.F. McPhail.
  • Santa Barbara County National Bank.
  • County Court House.
  • Residence of W.H. Woodbridge.
  • Residence of Judge Charles Fernald.
  • Parish Res. of Rev. James Vila.
  • Res. of F.H. Knight, Anacapa St. Furniture Dealer, Clock Building.
  • Private School. Victoria Street.
  • Punta. Del. Castillo. Res. of Thos. B. Dibblee.
  • Res. of J.W. Cooper Chapala & Soto Sts.
  • Res. of John Spence Nurseryman & Florist.
  • Hawley Block State St. Bet. Arlington & San Marcos. Hotels.
  • Res. of Joseph J. Perkins. Cor. Anacapa & Padregosa Sts.
  • Residence of John Edwards.
  • Res. of J.W. Galkins. Cor. Sta. Barbara & Sola Sts.
  • Residence of W.N. Hawley.
  • Res. of J.K. Fisher.
  • Residence of W. Alexander.
  • Residence of A.L. Clarke.
  • Residence of John H. Redington.
  • Residence of C.A. Storke.
  • Mission Santa Barbara Founded 1786.
  • First National Bank.
  • Morris House, J. Spellman & Co.
  • The Arlington C.C. Wheeler, Proprietor.
  • The Commercial Bank.

Below the view is a key of 35 points of interest on the map.

The final poem in the description of the view reads:

Where falls not hail... or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep in meadow'd, happy, fair, with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows, crowned with summer-sea.
Condition Description
Some minor expert restoration almost entirely confined to the margins, with no replacement of image.
Reps 389