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Historian Graffy to Discuss Ebb and Flow of Local Water

Neal Graffy, local writer and Santa Barbara Historian will present: Santa Barbara - The Search for Water, at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting, 9:30 a.m.-noon., Saturday, May 20, at the First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance St.

Neal Graffy Click to view larger
Neal Graffy

Since the Spanish arrived in 1782, Santa Barbara has been in a never-ending search for water, and the program highlights how the community has continually — so far — figured out a way to resolve its water woes.

Graffy’s tour of local water history takes his audience to the padres at the mission with their brilliant water system, which served the city of Santa Barbara for well over 100 years.

It introduces listeners to clever schemers and water companies with no water; and to a period where all the water was controlled by one company. Despite the scarcity of water locally, there was a time when Santa Barbara's horrible-tasting water was shipped all over the world.

In addition to the rare photos and maps, there will be photos from Graffy’s once-in-a-lifetime four-mile hike under the Santa Ynez Mountains from Gibraltar Dam to Mission Canyon via the 100-year-old Mission Tunnel.

Graffy has authored: Murder at the Potter Hotel, Santa Barbara Then and Now, Street Names of Santa Barbara, and Historic Santa Barbara – An Illustrated History.

He also has written for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Magazine, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Santa Barbara Genealogical Society, and has spoken and appeared on state and national radio and TV.

Graffy has served as a board member of the Historical Museum, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Landmarks Commission, board member of the Mission Canyon Association, and president of the Santa Barbara Corral of Westerners.

The Genealogical Society’s special interest groups meet at 9:30 a.m. for Beginning Genealogy, Civil War Genealogy, Writers' Support Group, German Ancestry, Italian Genealogy, French Canadian Genealogy, Computer Genealogy, DNA, and Jewish Genealogy.

The society's monthly meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. with the featured speaker on at 11 a.m. It is not necessary to be a member to attend the free presentation.

A calendar of genealogical events can be found at http://sbgen.org/eventListings.php?nm=216.

— Glenn Avolio for Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

 

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