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(Photo: View of Castle Rock from West Beach. Image courtesy of John Woodward)

Castle Rock - Part 1

It was called Castle Rock, and it was one of the most photographed landmarks of Santa Barbara in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It appeared on numerous postcards — in the foreground or in the background. "Castle Rock was a favorite subject for early Santa Barbara photographers, along with the Mission, the Arlington Hotel, the Big Grapevine in Montecito and the Hot Springs," according to John Woodward, Santa Barbara historian and vintage photo collector.


Castle Rock stood at the southeast edge of the Mesa, near the location of the two white pillars that now lead to the breakwater, according to historian Neal Graffy. In 1847, when some of the earliest American settlers arrived in Santa Barbara, Castle Rock was still connected to the Mesa bluff. By the time people started taking photos, it already stood apart — a sentinel marking the west end of the beach.


Its name "Castle Rock" was coined by the early Santa Barbara photographer, Edward J. Hayward. The earliest newspaper article I found that used the term "Castle Rock" was in 1875. The name commemorated the Spanish fort that some historians believe was located on the edge of the Mesa just above. (The fort was sometimes referred to on early maps as Punta del Castillo, or Castle Point.)


More about Castle Rock in the next MESA MEMORIES MONDAY post. 

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