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Way Back When in Santa Barbara, Mesa Memories, & Silent Movies Made in Montecito

"MESA MEMORIES" MONDAY

View of Castle Rock from West Beach.
Image courtesy of John Woodward

Castle Rock - Part 2

 

Although Castle Rock was a tourist attraction, some people considered it an obstacle. Carriages could only drive around the rock and go west along the beach during low tides. As early as 1872, one Santa Barbara newspaper wrote, "Blow It Up … by a little blasting … we could have a drive on the beach from the lighthouse to Carpinteria." (The lighthouse was located near today's La Mesa Park.)

 

In 1875, some citizens suggested "… opening a roadway through 'Castle Rock' above high-water mark so as to connect the beach above the rock and the beach in front of the city…"

 

In 1876, a road was cut between Castle Rock and the Mesa bluff. "There is now a beautiful drive up the beach for over six miles," enthused one newspaper. The next year (1877), the road was widened by blasting a passage wide enough for two carriages to ride side by side. But Mother Nature struck back. Later that year, a newspaper mourned, "The land is sliding and choking up the new road through Castle Point."

 

In the end, the rock was erased from our landscape. Around 1931, when the breakwater was being built, Castle Rock was finally dynamited into oblivion. An article on December 5, 1931 casually mentioned that the much-photographed landmark was now just landfill. "Crushed rock, secured from the remains of Castle Rock, was used as a base for a surface of oil and gravel." What an ignominious ending for Santa Barbara's castle on the sand!

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