News & Outreach

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Goleta Union School_GoletaHistory
Photo: Goleta Union School

On October 18, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at Goleta City Hall Council Chambers (130 Cremona Drive, Suite B), there will be a public workshop to discuss the draft of the Goleta Citywide Historic Context Statement and receive input.  

Project  Update #3 - October 2, 2017

The Goleta Citywide Historic Context Statement is now available for public review! (Download the document here.) The Historic Context Statement identifies important historic development patterns, events, and people associated with Goleta’s distinct neighborhoods and historic districts. It identifies property types, their associated character-defining features, and development patterns from the Rancho period (1821-1865) to post-World War II development (1946-1969). Comments may be submitted in writing to Lisa Prasse, Current Planning Manager, at The deadline to submit comments is 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

Project Update #2 - February 2017

Since completing the reconnaissance survey, the Historic Resources Group project team has been hard at work compiling data and conducting research on the history of Goleta. Based on information gathered to date, they are working on the first draft of the historic context statement, and preparing for additional field work which will begin at the end of February 2017.

During the course of their research, they have come across several interesting facts about Goleta’s history, including:

  • The Development of Two Towns
  • Sexton Hall
  • Goleta Federated Church
  • Goleta Lemon Association
  • Kellogg Park Subdivision

Click here to learn about these findings.

Project Update #1: December 2016 Workshop

On December 7, 2016, the City held its first workshop in a series on the Historic Preservation Project. Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation explaining the project and providing next steps. At the workshop, attendees were separated into break out groups where they identified built resources they thought should be looked at through the Historic Preservation process. These places were then added to a map - click here to see it. Please note, this map does not include comments regarding archaeological resources.  

Be sure to sign up at to receive updates and notifications about future workshops.


Goleta Through the Years
Travel through time to see Goleta's development decade by decade.
See how the City has been developed via subdivisions, or tracts, over time.

Designated Historic Resources
There are a number of Designated Historic Resources in Goleta already, here are some highlights:

 Stow House_large
Stow House, 1885. Source: Goleta Valley Historical Society

The Sherman P. Stow House (1873, Frank Walker; SBCL #6; listed in the National Register of Historic Places) is historically significant because of its association with Edgar Whitney Stow, a prominent agriculturist and ranch owner in Santa Barbara County. Stow made the house his primary residence from 1915 to 1949. During his residency at the Stow House, Stow developed an international reputation for his research into improving the productivity of lemon trees. He was also instrumental in the development of the agricultural cooperative movement in Santa Barbara County. As a State Senator, Stow represented the agricultural interests of independent farmers in Santa Barbara County.

Sexton House 
Sexton House, 1992. Source: Sexton House National Register Nomination

Located on Hollister Avenue, the Joseph and Lucy Foster Sexton House (1880, Peter Barber; SBCL #14; listed in the National Register of Historic Places) is significant for its association with Joseph Sexton, a pioneer nurseryman and a key figure in the agricultural development of the Goleta Valley. It is also significant for its Italianate style design by Peter Barber, a prominent 19th-century Santa Barbara architect. The house and its associated features are the only extant structures associated directly with Joseph Sexton and his career as a horticulturist. Sexton earned a reputation as a pioneer horticulturist, and influenced the transformation of southern California's vast cattle ranches into commercial farms and its dusty, semi-arid villages into well-ordered American communities with shaded streets and ornamental gardens. He was an experimenter, and the Sexton Nursery was as much a laboratory for developing stock suited to the southern California environment as it was a supply station.

Goleta Depot 1912 (trackside view) 
Goleta Depot, 1912. Source: South Coast Railroad Museum

Goleta Depot (1901; SBCL #22; listed in the National Register of Historic Places) was built during the completion of Southern Pacific's Coast Line. This coastal route, linking the principal California cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, came to have a major impact on patterns of settlement, tourism, agriculture, and other forms of social and economic development throughout most of the 20th century. Scores of depots and lesser buildings were erected in the county during these final years of the Coast Line construction. While other original structures and features (e.g., bridges, cuts and fills) endure, Goleta Depot is the only surviving railroad building from that period. 

Barnsdall_Rio Gas Station 
Barnsdall-Rio Grande Gasoline Station, n.d. Source: Goleta History

Located beside what was once a vast oil field, the Barnsdall-Rio Grande Gasoline Station (1929, Morgan, Walls & Clement; SBCL #29) was the product of a 1928 oil strike, which quickly made the Barnsdall-Rio Grande oil company a major player on the New York Stock Exchange. Almost overnight, they were Goleta’s biggest taxpayer. At one time, Ellwood was the most productive oil field in the world, yielding more than 100 million barrels of oil in over 3 decades. Most filling stations at the time were boxlike structures with little ornamentation. However, when the Barnsdall-Rio Grande decided to build a filling station on the State Highway adjacent to their oil fields, they wanted it to be a showpiece.