Neal Graffy is a historian and author whose work uncovers the treasures of Santa Barbara while being one himself.
The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors has had him come to our monthly meetings on numerous occasions to give talks on the fascinating history of the area. We always come away with an interesting bit of history to share with our clients on our tours around town.
In addition to Historic Santa Barbara, his book Santa Barbara Street Names has given new meaning to some of the streets we sell. Santa Barbara could not be content with numbers or letters for street names, so in 1851, the town council appointed a committee. The result is a weave of names inspired by the unique geography and botany of our town, honoring history with Chumash references as well as early settlers and some humor. Perhaps the committee was getting a little punchy when “Salsipuedes” was named. The name is a warning to “get out if you can!” due to the difficult terrain.
Many of us use Graffy’s books to enrich our understanding of how this beautiful town came to be, and he is often available to give valuable insight or marketing fodder for some of our listings.
His most recent endeavor is Santa Barbara Then and Now. This is a pictorial history that juxtaposes photos from the 19th century to the present. His goal is to “provide an enjoyable journey of what was, what still is, and perhaps even a record of what won’t be.” In that, he has been successful.
Santa Barbara Then and Now can be purchased at Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara Arts, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Bookstore and Tecolote Books. It will soon be available online by clicking here.