Pixel Tracker

Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 5:03 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Neal Graffy to Talk ‘Montecito’s Hilltop Barons’ at Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society

Neal Graffy and his 1941 Packard.
Neal Graffy and his 1941 Packard. (Graffy family photo)

Neal Graffy, local writer and Santa Barbara historian, will present “Montecito’s Hilltop Barons” at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting.

The meeting is 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 21, at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance St.

Graffy’s approach to history is always entertaining, fun and educational. In this presentation he answers the question “What do Gas Lamps, Newspapers, Shirt Collars and Model T Fords have in common?”

Five magnificent Montecito estates, five commanding hilltop views and five families whose philanthropy in their “adopted” city remains unmatched to this day. 

Montecito’s Hilltop Barons profiles the backgrounds, the estates and the philanthropy of C.K.G. Billings, president of Peoples Gas Light & Coke Co., and his estate, Asombrosso; George Owen Knapp, founder of Union Carbide, and his estate, Arcady; Frederick Forrest Peabody, president of Arrow Shirts, and his estate, Solana; David Gray, vice president of Ford Motor Co., and his estate, Graholm; and newspaper publisher William H. Cowles and his estate, Eucalyptus Hill.

These men and their families “adopted” Santa Barbara, and dramatically improved our health care, enhanced our schools, preserved our beachfronts, and helped rebuild the city after the 1925 earthquake.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara Medical Foundation, Santa Barbara High School, the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center​, the Girls Club, Santa Barbara Girls School, Montecito trails, the scenic highway, Montecito garden tours, East Beach, the Santa Barbara School for the Arts and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art are just a few of the many institutions and places that benefited from Montecito’s Hilltop Barons.

Graffy has had numerous appearances on local, state and national radio and TV, including Huell Howser’s California’s Gold!, KCET’s Life & 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, and has published several books — Santa Barbara Then & Now, 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 Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s Special Interest Groups meet at 9:30 a.m. March 21 for Beginning Genealogy, Civil War Genealogy, Writers’ Support Group, German Ancestry, Italian Genealogy, French Canadian Genealogy, Computer Genealogy, DNA and Jewish Genealogy. The Society Monthly meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. and the featured speaker starts at 11 a.m.

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

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

— Glenn Avolio is public relations chairman of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.