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Neal Graffy to Present ‘Santa Barbara Then & Now’ to Genealogical Society

By Glenn Avolio for the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society |

Neal Graffy will present “Santa Barbara Then & Now” at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 21 at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance St.

“Delightfully unfettered by convention” sums up Graffy’s approach to history. Whether in print, radio, television, documentary or live, his audiences always find his presentations to be entertaining, fun and educational.

Even though it may seem like Santa Barbara’s red-tiled roofs and white stucco walls and buildings have been here forever, Graffy knows what secrets lurk beneath those facades. Through the images of “Santa Barbara Then & Now,” he will peel back layers of time to reveal an earlier Santa Barbara of many different designs and uses.

The side-by-side comparison of the "Then & Now" images present a fascinating journey through Santa Barbara as it was and as it currently is. Along the way it’s easy to see that every generation gains and loses something they treasure. This is the only historic presentation that dares to pose the question, "Has every building in Santa Barbara been a restaurant at least once in its life?"

Graffy has had numerous appearances on local, state and national radio and TV, including Huell Howser's "California Gold," KCET TV's "Life and Times" and nationally on "This Old House." He has been featured in several documentaries, including the Emmy Award-winning Impressions in Time. He has authored numerous monographs for historical organizations, as well as articles in regional and national publications.

His newest book, Santa Barbara Then & Now, has just been released. His two previous books are Street Names of Santa Barbara and Historic Santa Barbara. For fun, he collects Santa Barbara memorabilia, postcards and photographs, plays guitar, enjoys cruising around town in an unrestored 1941 Packard 180 limousine and continues the never-ending search for the perfect bacon burger.

The doors will open at 9 a.m. for JewishGen Special Interest Group. The other SIGS will meet at 9:30 a.m.. Enjoy refreshments and a short business meeting, followed by the program at 10:30 a.m.

Come join us. You do not need to be a member to enjoy this wonderful presentation.

Click here for a calendar of genealogical events, or click here for more information about the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

— Glenn Avolio is publicity chairman for the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.




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