Skip to main content

El Camino Real Relics in Santa Barbara

Back during the first half of December 2013, I had traveled out to California to follow the New York Islanders ice hockey club on a trip where they were playing the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. While I had wanted to take a road trip like this around the Golden State for a number of years, I also wanted to take in a few things that California had to offer. After all, I was a long way from my home in Upstate New York. Being a history buff as well as a road enthusiast and hockey fan, I decided to check out the Old Mission Santa Barbara along my way from Los Angeles to San Jose on US Highway 101. With missions being a part of California's Spanish history, this had to be a win-win. Upon parking at the mission, I had spotted a few other historic relics that I wasn't quite expecting to see at the mission itself.

Historic El Camino Real marker bell.

Historic Auto Club of Southern California road sign.

You may be wondering what the deal with the bell is, especially if you're not quite familiar with California. There were a number of bells that marked the historic route of the El Camino Real, which followed US 101 and other modern roads between Orange County and Sonoma County. There was a Mission Bell Marker system that has existed on the Historic El Camino Real since 1906, with a bell placed one mile apart along the El Camino Real. Modern renditions of the bells can be found along US 101, plus you can even buy your own El Camino Real bell if you have some cash to spare. The bell in at the Old Mission Santa Barbara is an older bell, complete with an old road sign from the Auto Club of Southern California made of porcelain enamel material.

As for that Spanish mission in Santa Barbara I visited, it is now a great museum to check out. Even Junipero Serra himself would agree. I learned a lot and enjoyed my visit.

The exterior of the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Inside the courtyard inside the mission.

Fr. Junipero Serra statue.


Sources and Links
1. Conejo Valley Guide - The Story Behind Those Historic El Camino Real Bell Markers on the 101 Freeway
2. California Highways - US Highway 101
3. CalTrafficSigns.com - California Highway Signs 
4. Doug Kerr / Flickr - Mission Santa Barbara Photo Gallery

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Central Freeway of San Francisco (US Route 101)

The Central Freeway is a 1.2-mile elevated limited access corridor in the city of San Francisco.  As presently configured the Central Freeway connects from the end of the Bayshore Freeway to Market Street.  The Central Freeway carries the mainline of northbound US Route 101 from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street. The Central Freeway has origins with the establishment of Legislative Route Number 223 and is heavily tied to the history of the once proposed Panhandle Freeway.  The Central Freeway between the Bayshore Freeway and Mission Street was completed during 1955.  The corridor was extended to a one-way couplet located at Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue in 1959 which served to connect US Route 101 to Van Ness Avenue.  The Central Freeway was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has since been truncated to Market Street.   The Central Freeway as pictured on the blog cover was featured in the May/June 1959 California Highways & Public Works.  The scan below is fro

The Bayshore Freeway (US Route 101)

The Bayshore Freeway is a 56.4-mile component of US Route 101 located in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Bayshore Freeway connects the southern extent of San Jose to the Central Freeway in the city of San Francisco.  The corridor was originally developed as the Bayshore Highway between 1923 and 1937.  The Bayshore Highway would serve briefly as mainline US Route 101 before being reassigned as US Route 101 Bypass in 1938.  Conceptually the designs for the Bayshore Freeway originated in 1940 but construction would be delayed until 1947.  The Bayshore Freeway was completed by 1962 and became mainline US Route 101 during June 1963.   Part 1; the history of the Bayshore Freeway Prior the creation of the Bayshore Highway corridor the most commonly used highway between San Jose and San Francisco was El Camino Real (alternatively known as Peninsula Highway).  The  American El Camino Real  began as an early example of a signed as an Auto Trail starting in 1906.  The era of State Highway Mainte

The history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California

The historic corridor of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 through the borderlands of southern California share a largely mutual history.  Both highways originated in the city of San Diego and departed the state at the Colorado River into Yuma, Arizona.  Both highways share numerous famous geographical components such as the Mountain Springs Grade and Algodones Sand Dunes.  This article serves as a comprehensive history of the combined US Route 80/Interstate 8 corridor in California from the tolled stage route era of the nineteenth century to the development of the modern freeway.   The blog cover photo features US Route 80 along the Mountains Springs Grade through In-Ko-Pah Gorge during late 1920s.  This photo is part of the Caltrans McCurry Collection. Part 1; the history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California share a largely mutual history.  The backstory of both highways is tied heavily to the corridors of the Old Spanish Trail, Legisl