santa barbara then & now: the westside

















Ever wonder how some of the main streets in Santa Barbara got their name? In 1850, Santa Barbara’s Common Council decided to officially name the streets. The ten major north-south streets on the Westside were the first to be named.

  • Chapala Street was named after a lake in Jalisco Province, Mexico.
  • De la Vina, for the vineyards it crossed.
  • Bath, or Banos, was the road that led to the public bathing beach.
  • Castillo pointed toward the Castle Rock landmark.
  • Rancheria crossed local Indian “rancherias”, aka villages.
  • San Pascual, the place where the Mexicans fought the Yankees.
  • San Andres, named after General Andres Pico who was the commander of the Mexican forces.
  • Chino Street, for Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.
  • Gillespie, for Lt. Archibald Gillespie who was the American hero of the Battle of San Pasqual.
  • Robbins, named after Thomas Robbins, who once owned Hope Ranch and Santa Catalina Island.

Back in the day the Westside area of SB featured a polo field near what we know as the area surrounding San Andres, Figueroa, Gillespie and Victoria Street. There was a Santa Barbara Polo Club, which sponsored many polo matches on its Westside field.
The Westside is one of, if not the oldest residential area in town and six out of ten houses there were built prior to 1940.


Neighborly Advice
A local resident of the Westside neighborhood, Dani Williams describes the feel of the neighborhood as being “perfect for the young Santa Barbara pedestrian,” due to it’s “central location to downtown, the Mesa, and Santa Barbara City College.” Dani enjoys “being able to walk and bike downtown within ten minutes, as well as being close to the beach.” A Westside resident favorite: “The Anapamu footbridge that crosses the 101,” Dani says, “because it is so convenient for walking and biking.” Most residents enjoy walking to the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday and Saturday. Dani also appreciates the “diversity of the area because there are a lot of young college-aged people, as well as families which creates a vibrant neighborhood.” Best Westside restaurant? “Super Cuca’s, Dani says, “it is a Westside landmark and it is delicious!”


Westside Snapshot:

• Schools: Harding Elementary School and the La Cumbre Junior High School
• Parks: Bohnett Park, Parque de los Ninos/ Children’s Orchard, which features its own vegetable garden
• Historical SB Buildings: The Fernald House and the Trussell-Winchester Adobe.
• THRIVE Westside, is a partnership between Harding University Partnership School, McKinley Elementary School, La Cumbre Junior High, and San Marcos High School that strives to ensure a coordinated effort of resources for children and families living in Santa Barbara’s Westside neighborhood. The goal of the project is to ensure that all children are healthy and safe, prepared for kindergarten through high school graduation, and on to college and career.



The Westside today is a lively neighborhood in Santa Barbara. With a diverse community that enjoys both the pedestrian lifestyle and its central location that c leads downtown or the beach within minutes. The neighborhood has families that care about their fellow neighbors and schools, as well as keeping their homes maintained and their streets safe.

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