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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- 100 Years Ago

Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- September 24, 1918

Who did it? That was the question here. Image: Wikimedia

WAY BACK WHEN: 100 YEARS AGO TODAY – On September 24, 1918, the city of Santa Barbara was in an uproar. The local paper called it, "The Handiwork of a Fiend … Flag is Torn and Tied into Knots … An American flag has been perversely and fiendishly desecrated … The flag was flying on the roof of the Veronica Water bottling plant on Montecito Street Saturday night … The flag, in its mutilated condition, was discovered this morning and hauled down … the pole was on the roof of a two-story building, and it must have caused the flag's enemy considerable difficulty to reach it."

 

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- September 14, 1918

(Image: Wikimedia)

WAY BACK WHEN: 100 YEARS AGO TODAY – On September 14, 1918, Santa Barbara was recovering from an unseasonable storm. The local paper reported, "The storm has been threatening several days, and broke in a fury of wind, strong from the southeast late Thursday night. This morning, the seafront is strewn with wreckage." A yacht and a fishing boat were driven onto the beach. "A score of small skiffs were driven ashore and pounded to pieces … last night, hundreds of citizens gathering along the [Cabrillo] boulevard to watch the swells pounding against the sea wall, or break far out from shore, throwing tons of white spray high in the air."

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- September 7, 1918

Laskey drove a car called an Overland Big Four (see pic). Image: Indian and Eastern Motors, February 1918

WAY BACK WHEN: 100 YEARS AGO TODAY – On September 7, 1918, the local paper reported on a "first" on the streets of Santa Barbara. If she could drive halfway across the country without a male companion (Gosh, oh golly!), she could certainly drive a taxi around Santa Barbara.
The local paper marveled, "Just a year ago today, Santa Barbara acquired a resident such as few California cities can boast of – a woman taxi driver … Bess Laskey, transcontinental motorist, [was] tire changer, and general mechanic for the party of three which consisted of herself, a college chum, and … Laskey's daughter of seven years. Throughout the trip, the party camped out as two pioneer women would."

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- August 27, 1918

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On August 27, 1918, the local paper ran the headline, "Fined for Leaving Campfire Burning." Smokey the Bear was not around yet, but the widespread forest fires of 1917 in Ojai and Carpinteria had made the Forest Service more cautious. The culprit left a campfire burning and was fined $50. It was the first conviction under the new rule requiring all fires to be extinguished when the campers leave. The paper warned, "The forest service and the county fire warden intend to prosecute all cases that come under their observation." (There's more about those fires in Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1917.)

On Tuesday, December 11, I'll be presenting a slideshow about the 1917 fires in Ojai and Carpinteria and comparing them to the Thomas Fire. At the Ventura History Museum, 1 p.m.

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- August 16, 1918

Image: Vestkusten, April 9, 1936. Vestkusten was a Swedish-language newspaper published in san Francisco

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On August 16, 1918, the local paper noted that the artist Carl Oscar Borg had obtained a marriage license in Los Angeles. In January of 1918, Swedish-American artist Borg began to build his home on the Mesa. Now in August, the home was ready to receive his new bride – Madeline Carriel of Los Angeles.
"Between 1918 and 1924, the Borgs lived in Santa Barbara at the center of a circle which radiated out from Alexander Harmer and the bearded patriarchal Thomas Moran, the good gray painter of Santa Barbara, and included other Santa Barbaran artists such as Fernand Lungren, a Thomas Eakins-trained painter of Southwest subjects, the cowboy artist Ed Borein, Borg's next-door neighbor Albert Falvy, a like-minded antique collector and Indian aficionado, and other assorted intelligentsia." – Material Dreams, Southern California Through the 1920s by Kevin Starr, Oxford University Press, 1990

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- August 8, 1918

Image: Haberdasher magazine, January 1918

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On August 8, 1918, the local paper ran this headline: "Four Southern Men Swim in B.V.D.s." The swimmers from LA, "were charged with drinking on the beach and bathing in their B.V.D.s. According to police, the four men were intoxicated when arrested, and a quart bottle of whisky was found buried in the sand near where they staged their party … the four men were having a hilarious time at the foot of Santa Barbara Street, splashing about in the surf in costumes that no self-respecting censor would pass … The men were released on a bail … and departed for Los Angeles vowing never to return."

It's interesting that the brand name BVD is still used today as a synonym for men's unmentionables. The company Bradley, Voorhees & Day began back in 1876. One of their early slogans was, "Next to Myself I Like BVD Best." [This and other fun stories will be included in "Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1918" due out this fall.]

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- August 1, 1918

The building which had served as the school and orphanage since the 1870s is still on De la Vina, although it is missing its original top floor. The third floor was damaged in the 1925 earthquake (the orphans were no longer housed there), and the building became two stories. Image: Betsy J. Green)

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On August 1, 1918, the children who resided in St. Vincent's Orphanage at 925 De la Vina Street got their chance for a picnic. According to the local paper, "The children of St. Vincent's had an enjoyable picnic yesterday on Leadbetter Hill. [Now the site of Santa Barbara City College.] This hill has been their picnic grounds for the last 40 years, when it was formerly known as the Dibblee estate. Mr. and Mrs. Dibblee used to look forward each year to the children's coming, and took great pleasure in assisting with the luncheons. Mr. Leadbetter has kept up the good old-time spirit … The morning was spent rambling over the spacious grounds, and dinner which was served at noon, was greatly enjoyed by all."

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- July 22, 1918

Image: Exhibitor's Herald magazine, July 27, 1918

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On July 22, 1918, the "Flying A" film studio released their latest film Impossible Susan. This comedy-drama stars Margarita Fisher who plays a tomboy "with pleasing grace," according to one reviewer. Margarita, a poor orphan, ends up living with her aunt who is the housekeeper in a mansion inhabited by two brothers. The two brothers alternately fall in and out of love with Margarite, and she alternately likes one brother, and then the other.
Since three-way relationships were not acceptable 100 years ago, Margarita ends up settling for one of the brothers. He proposes, and they lived happily ever after.

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- July 20, 1918

Image: Santa Barbara Daily News & Independent, July 20, 1918

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - The other breakfast cereal company had an ad in the local paper on July 20, 1918. An ad in the local paper reminded me of the breakfast cereal king who used to live in Santa Barbara. No, not Kellogg, the other one — Charles W. Post. Remember Post Toasties or Postum? And how about Grape Nuts?

Post lived at 2102 Bath Street toward the end of his life when his health was failing. Despondent over his ill health, he committed suicide here in 1914. (The home is now longer here.)

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Way Back When in Santa Barbara -- July 7, 1918

Image: Library of Congress

WAY BACK WHEN - 100 Years Ago Today - On July 7, 1918, women rolled up their sleeves & pitched in. As more and more young men left for the battlefields, young women stepped up to take their places -- in the fields, in the theaters, in the telegraph offices, and in the hotels. "Girls Ready to Enter Bean Fields," wrote the local paper on July 7, 1918. "Clad in overalls and straw sombreros, nine well-known Santa Barbara girls will invade the Carpinteria apricot orchards … The job undertaken by the girls is a man-sized one. … The girls will not only pit, but they will pick and dry the fruit as well, practically unassisted by male employees. … Appearance will be a secondary matter, so a little dirt upon their faces and hands is to be expected." 

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