Get to know Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara is a county seat and has been called the American Riviera.  The first permanent settlers were Spanish missionaries under Felipe de Neve.  The Santa Barbara Mission was established in 1786 on the Feast of Saint Barbara.  The area remained sparsely inhabited during the Mexican Rancho period, but quickly grew following the United States’ acquisition of California.  The city was incorporated in 1850 and the street grid laid out 1851.  It was a dangerous and lawless area during the Gold Rush.  In 1871 entrepreneur Mortimer Cook came to the area and opened a bank in 1873.  In 1872 Santa Barbara was opened up to commercial and tourist accessibility with the construction of Stearns Wharf.  Charles Nordhoff promoted the town as a health resort in the 1870’s, attracting travelers, many of whom decided to stay.  The discovery of oil nearby at the turn of the century led to offshore oil development.  It was home to Flying A Studios, the world’s largest movie study, from 1910 to 1922 when it moved to Hollywood.  The city saw destruction from the earthquake in 1925.  The subsequent rebuilding resulted in some of Santa Barbara’s most famous buildings, including the courthouse.  The city was home to a Marine Corps air station and a Naval reserve center during World War II.  Many servicemen stayed following the war promoting a postwar boom.  It is a popular tourist destination that also relies on aerospace and defense, the service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and government to support the economy.  The top employers in Santa Barbara are the University of California, Santa Barbara and the County of Santa Barbara.  Popular attractions include Mission Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, and the annual Fiesta in August.

Quick Facts

Population: 90,401

Median Household Income: $66,107

Median Property Value: $846,400

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