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


Image: The Successful American, 1899



This is the second part of my post about the San Francisco attorney Colonel Henry Isaac Kowalsky and how his name ended up on a street in Santa Barbara.


Here's how it happened. Just about a month before the first train from Los Angeles reached Santa Barbara in 1887, Kowalsky bought 130 acres on the Mesa. The land was north of Cliff Drive and east of Meigs Road. Kowalsky did not live in Santa Barbara. He bought the land as an investment. This was a boom time for Santa Barbara, because everyone knew that the train would bring more visitors to our fair city, and property values would rise. Kowalsky bought the Mesa property on July 16. The first train arrived on August 19, 1887.


He bought numerous pieces of land elsewhere in Santa Barbara at about this time. One of the properties was on Santa Barbara's west side about where Gillespie and Robbins streets intersect with Micheltorena. And this is the area in which Kowalski Avenue is located.

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