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« Pat Condell on the Geert Wilders Affair | Main | Short Links »

February 17, 2009

Short State Street Stroll

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

There's a song about Chicago ("that toddlin' town") that has the line: "State Street, that great street." State Street lost out to Michigan Avenue half a century or more ago and doesn't strike me as being worth singing about.

Then there's an unsung (literally, as best I know) State Street that beats the Chicago version all to pieces. It's Santa Barbara's main commercial drag anchored on one end by the shore and Stearns Wharf and on the other more or less by the 101 freeway. The most interesting part for tourists is the segment extending from the shore for a mile or so, ending a few blocks west of the art museum.

Since SB is sort of a college town (UCSB is actually in a neighboring burg), one finds the usual West Coast assortment of college kids, street people and the stores, restaurants and bars they find appealing. One also finds on or near State Street tonier places such as art galleries, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

What I like about the area is the Spanish-style streetscape, the result of decisions made in the wake of the 1925 earthquake that heavily damaged the city. (General information on Santa Barbara that briefly mentions the quake and aftermath can be found here.)

Below are some snapshots I took 31 January. Most were taken near the art museum. It was a bright day, so the exposure meter had trouble coping with the strong light/shade contrasts; hope you don't mind.

Here is an intersection view I'll use as my establishment shot.

Half a block west.

A bit farther west is the art museum.

Around the corner from the museum is the public library.

A sidewalk view.

A view of the shady side of the street.

Several passages can be found along State.

Closer look at that passage. The window-cleaner at the left is a statue, by the way -- at first glance, most folks think he's real.

Not shown is the fabulous county courthouse, a blog-post subject in its own right.



posted by Donald at February 17, 2009


Enjoy it while it lasts! And will the last productive, taxpaying white leaving California please turn out the lights?

Posted by: YT on February 17, 2009 2:06 PM

Hate to burst your Calicentric bubble but the best Spanish architecture by far is still in Spain. Then there's the Prado and all that Goya.

Posted by: shiva on February 17, 2009 4:02 PM

Nice snapz of one of the prettiest city stretches in the U.S., as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 17, 2009 4:15 PM

shiva, so what? This post is about Santa Barbara.

Christ, a totally innocuous and pleasant travelogue post generates 2 ridiculous, contentious comments. Sign of the times, I guess.

Posted by: JV on February 17, 2009 4:16 PM

Spane haz best Spanesh arkitektshure evar!

Posted by: ROFL on February 17, 2009 4:39 PM

"Nice snapz of one of the prettiest city stretches in the U.S., as far as I'm concerned."

I prefer Eastern US landscapes myself.

What you left coasters fail to appreciate is how insignificant California is to the rest of us.

Besides, did anything good ever come from California?

And, ROFL, you're stretching for an insult which mostly makes you lame.

Posted by: shiva on February 17, 2009 7:58 PM

Everything good comes from California, it just takes the rest of the country a few years to catch up. I'm not joking. :)

Posted by: JV on February 17, 2009 9:11 PM

"And, ROFL, you're stretching for an insult which mostly makes you lame."

Too lame to respond to, I guess.

Posted by: Anon on February 17, 2009 10:15 PM

My old town! I don't miss the high cost of living in SB, but I do miss strolls down State Street.

I hope you do take the opportunity to post on the Court House. It's a gorgeous building that's now on the National Register of Historic Places, but at the time it was built (after the 1925 earthquake) it was highly controversial due to the expensive budget overruns. I think it's worth every penny

Posted by: Reid Farmer on February 18, 2009 7:34 PM

The thing that always stuns me every time I visit California is the flora. I don't know the names of any of the trees or bushes in these pictures (maybe someone can name them) but they give California, Southern California especially, a lushness that you don't get in the rest of the country. It's especially stunning coming as it does just after you've crossed a desert. Needless to say the Spanish architecture doesn't hurt either.

Posted by: ricpic on February 19, 2009 6:00 AM

I don't know the names of any of the trees or bushes in these pictures (maybe someone can name them)

Other than the palms whose trunks you can see, most of the other trees in Don's pictures are jacarandas. They have beautiful blue flowers when they bloom in the spring

Posted by: Reid Farmer on February 19, 2009 4:10 PM

I love those pictures on your post..
Very colorful,keep on writing my friend.
Hope to see you on my blog too..=D

Posted by: Solo on February 20, 2009 3:24 AM

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