Item #7626 Santa Barbara Beach—On Road of a Thousand Wonders—On Line Southern Pacific. The Southern Pacific Railroad.

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The Southern Pacific Railroad.

Santa Barbara Beach—On Road of a Thousand Wonders—On Line Southern Pacific.

[San Francisco?, ca. 1905.]. 20” x 24”, in original oak frame with a title plaque, 25.5” x 29.5” overall. Frame manufacturer label of “Sanborn, Vail & Co.” of San Francisco on verso. Stamp on verso of “Grover C. Drake District Passenger Agent, 937 State Street, Santa Barbara, California.” CONDITION: Some very small losses at edge of image in lower left corner, very good overall.

A large and very appealing advertising photograph of Santa Barbara Beach and vicinity issued by the Southern Pacific Railway.

This turn of the century photo, likely taken on the weekend, captures the lively scene at Plaza Del Mar (built in the 1890s), showing men, women, and children sitting on benches or strolling about. Many of the women wear white dresses and hats, and a few hold parasols. Several boys in bathing suits sit in the sand in the lower right foreground. Los Baños del Mar (opened 1901), shown here with picnic tables on the roof, appears just to the left of the crowd. At center-left, a Japanese tea garden (and a sign identifying it as such) can be seen on the roof of a building, and to its right is a storefront with a sign reading “Boulevard Card[?] Store.” Cabrillo Boulevard with its palm tree-lined promenade stretches along the beach at center right. Hotel Potter appears in the distance on the left, and foothills and mountains loom in the background.

The phrase “Road of a Thousand Wonders,” which is included in the photo’s title, was used by the Southern Pacific Co. from the 1900s to at least the 1920s. One of the great American railroad systems, the Southern Pacific was established by the “big four” of western railroad building: Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker. After completing the Central Pacific line from California to Utah in 1869, the four partners started the Southern Pacific as a branch line into southern California. It was incorporated in 1884, and the railroads making up the Central Pacific system were leased to the Southern Pacific Co. the following year. The Southern Pacific system grew to serve fifteen states in the West and Southwest, with lines reaching the Pacific and Gulf coasts.

A striking image of the Santa Barbara Beach scene produced by the Southern Pacific Railroad.

REFERENCES: Southern Pacific Railroad at Britannica online.

Item #7626

Price: $2,500.00

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