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Way Back When in Santa Barbara & Mesa Memories

"WAY BACK WHEN" WEDNESDAY - 100 years ago this week

WAY BACK WHEN WEDNESDAY - 100 years ago this week, mail was being delivered to the Channel Islands from Santa Barbara, not by air mail, but by pigeon mail. "Carrier pigeons as a means of communication between the Channel Islands and the mainland will soon become common, as large numbers of birds are now being trained for that purpose. At present, the only means of communication is by boat … Captain Ira Eaton has a flock of 40 or 50 pigeons at his camp on Santa Cruz Island … It is expected that they will make the 30-mile trip across the Channel easily within half an hour." There was no phone or telegraph service to the northern Channel Islands yet.
Pigeons delivering mail to and from the Channel Islands had been used off and on from the 1800s through the 1940s, according to Islapedia.com. Pigeon mail is also covered in the July chapter of "Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1915." (Image: New York Public Library)

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