The Yankee Barbareños:
the Americanization of Santa Barbara County, California 1796-1925
It's been more than a decade since a comprehensive history of Santa Barbara County has been published,
and those looking for an engaging read on the subject will be excited to discover Walker A. Tompkins'
The Yankee Barbareños: the Americanization of Santa Barbara County, California 1796-1925.
Thanks to the editorial work of Tompkins' widow, Barbara Hathaway Tompkins, and many dedicated,
local historians, the The Yankee Barbareños is now finding its way into the hands of eager readers.
Awarded a grant from the Samuel B. Mosher Foundation in 1964, Tompkins focused his narrative on the
American influence on Santa Barbara County. Broken into eight sections, Tompkins uses his signature
story-telling style to trace the accounts of the early settlers and pioneers, the effects of the
gold rush in Santa Barbara, the formation of its county and city governments, the creation of various
civic projects (including the first public library), and the impact the Southern Pacific Railroad had
on the beginnings of the tourism industry. Readers will also find the stories behind many of Santa Barbara's
well-known architects and business men, its bandidos and outlaws, and harrowing tales of some of Santa Barbara's
worst disasters. The book ends with the devastating 1925 earthquake and the rebuilding efforts under the leadership
of Pearl Chase of the Plans and Planting Branch of the Community Arts Association that would lead to the
Spanish Revival architectural style that has given Santa Barbara its romantic title, the American Riviera.
Including rare photographs of early Santa Barbara and exquisite drawings by Joseph Knowles,
The Yankee Barbareños is an essential addition to all Santa Barbara history collections.
Copies are available for checkout from all branches of the Santa Barbara Public Library System, and may
be purchased from many fine bookstores and historical societies, including Chaucer's Books, The Book Loft,
The Book Den, Tecolote Book Shop, and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Click here for a complete list.
Net proceeds from sales of this book will benefit the Santa Barbara Public Library.
Jace R. Turner
Santa Barbara Public Library