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Neal Graffy, local writer and Historian presents: The Search for Water

May 20, 2017 from 10:30am - 12:00pm

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, Saturday, May 20, at the First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance at State Street, 9:30 am to 12:00 pm.  

Since the Spanish arrived in 1782, Santa Barbara has been in a never-ending search for water, and our May program highlights how the community has continually – at least so far - figured out a way to resolve its water woes. Neal Graffy’s tour of our water history takes us 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 us 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 H2O in these parts 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 Neal’s once-in-a-lifetime four-mile hike under the Santa Ynez Mountains from the Gibraltar Dam to Mission Canyon via the hundred-year old Mission Tunnel. 


Neal Graffy has written: Murder at the Potter Hotel, Santa Barbara Then and Now, Street Names of Santa Barbara, and Historic Santa Barbara – An illustrated History. He has written for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Magazine, the 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.


Neal 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. 


Special Interest Groups meet at 9:30 am 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 and the featured speaker starts at 11:00am.

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

A calendar of genealogical events can be found at the Society web site (




Media contact: Glenn Avolio, PR Chair, [email protected]  (805) 886-5438


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
  • Starts: May 20, 2017 10:30am - 12:00pm
  • Price: Free
  • Location: First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance at State
  • Website:
  • Sponsors: Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society