Hotel CALIFORNIAN at the Beach: A Momento to Better Days.


On June 19th 1925 the Hotel Californian had its grand opening, an opening that has left it closed for the last ninety years. The earthquake that hit Santa Barbara hit at at around 6:40am according to Neal Graffy, a local Santa Barbara Historian. It destroyed the Californian after it had only been opened for a few weeks. During those weeks the hotel established itself as a prime location for tourism and local gathering.

Decades later this once iconic pice of Santa Barbara history has recently however been given the “thumbs up” by local real estate officials, to go ahead and bring back this familiar monolith. Along with the construction of the new mini mall near to the popular Funk Zone area, The Californian should be welcoming locals and visitors alike once again in the years to come. The photos below depict the different steps into the past, present, and future of the Hotel Californian.

May 1925

Here we see the hotel in all it’s glory in the small span of time between opening and destruction.

Late June 1925

After the earthquake occurred nobody thought the doors of the hotel would ever be reopened.

Californian Hotel

April 2015

Today in the middle of April 2o15 we are hopeful that in our lifetime almost one hundred hears after the last time the doors opened, this hotel will once again be a beacon for Santa Barbarians and those coming to visit. For those who are not familiar with the hotel, the image above is the progress so far down on the corner of State Street and Mason Street. I am sure the obstruction of the road on State Street will soon shed light on the construction at work, as well as the strong dedication of the City of Santa Barbara to resurrect this beloved piece of history.

Though Santa Barbara Historian Neal Graffy once said, “that having survived earthquakes, floods, identify crisis, economic downturns, neighborhood blight and even disco, the building sits with an uncertain future;” there has been a positive shift for the reconstruction of this unique and familiar piece of our little beachside city.

 • Here is to bringing back those better days •

More information and background can be found here.

Photography: Neal Graffy, Zinkwazi, & Nick Salsbury.

About Author

nick salsbury

Nicholas received his Associates Degree in Photography from SBCC in 2012 and will now be graduating from Antioch University with a Bachelors Degree in Communications & Media in June of 2015. Nick is a passionate automotive enthusiast, photographer, and has always found himself at home being involved in music culture. While not in school, Nicholas can be found in the Guest Services department at the KIMPTONS Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara. Nick plans to pursue a career in advertising after graduation, as well as continue to pursue his passion for online media development. As a regular & continuing columnist for the AUSB Odyssey Nick also looks forward to perfecting his journalism and broadcasting skills in the future.

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