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Way Back When in Santa Barbara & Mesa Memories

"MESA MEMORIES" MONDAY

MESA MEMORIES MONDAY - Arroyo Burro Beach Park History

         This is the only county park on the Mesa. Its official name has been Arroyo Burro Beach since 1949, but many Mesa residents still call it "Hendry's Beach." And longtime Mesa residents used to call it "Henry's Beach" or simply "the pit." A pair of young Scottish immigrants — William and Ann Hendry — arrived here in the early 1870s, and had a ranch near the beach. It's not known if their ranch was a financial success, but the union of William and Ann certainly was — they had 12 children (nine boys and three girls). William died in 1924, and Ann died in 1940.

         Much of the area now covered by the two parking lots was originally wetlands that were filled in during the 1940s and 1950s. Although some people believe that there was a Chumash village on this site, a 1989 archaeological survey found only a few artifacts.

         Residents of the Mesa in the 1950s recall a simple shack here that served food to hungry surfers. During summer vacations, it was a place where your mom would drop you off in the morning, and pick you up on her way home from work. The shack eventually burned down. For many years, the Brown Pelican restaurant served hungry beachgoers. Today the Boathouse restaurant occupies the site. (Image: Wikimedia)

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