Derivation and Pronunciation of the Names of Santa Barbara Streets
Compiled and Published by
The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce
The tourist in Santa Barbara sometimes comments upon the difficult names of our streets recalling the ease with which the numbered or lettered avenues of other cities are remembered or pronounced, but to the long-time citizen who has grown to appreciate these names that so link its present history with the past, the old time Spanish titles possess a charm which Avenue 67 and F Street N. W. can never hope to rival.
The alphabetical list of original streets are as follows:
ALISOS (Ah-lee’-sos) – Is the Spanish for Alders, many of which grew on the street so named.
ANACAPA (A-nah-câ’-pah) – Was so named because the street points in the direction of the Island of that name. It is an Indian word that implies deception in appearance; and was applied to the island because of the mirages that so often give it a distorted appearance.
ANAPAMU (A-nah-pah-moo’) – Was named after a famous Indian Chief who ruled over many tribes and covered a wide stretch of country in the early days to the south of Santa Barbara.
ARRELLAGA (A-ree-yah’-gah) – So named in honer of one of California’s most distinguished Spanish governor from 1792 to 17 94 and again from 1800 to 1814.
BATH (English pronunciation) – Formerly called Los Banos, Spanish word for baths and was so named because it led to that part of the beach which the people favored for bathing purposes.
CACIQUE (Kah-seek’) – Was the titled applied to the chief of an Indian tribe.
CANADA (English pronunciation) – Spanish word for a Ravine, and the street was so named because it extended to a ravine.
CANAL (English pronunciation) – Is the Spanish for Channel, so The name of this street has been changed in recent years and is now known as Olive street.
CANON PERDIDO (Kan’yon) (Perdee’-do) Spanish for “lost cannon”) – So named on account of the following incident” Early in the spring of 1848, the American brig Elizabeth was wrecked on the coast of Santa Barbara. Among the property saved was a twelve-pound brass cannon, which remained upon the beach long after the remaining property had been removed. Early in the month of May it disappeared. Apparently it had been stolen by native Californians, at least that representation was made to Governor Mason, who levied a tax of $500.00 upon the city for its return. The cannon could not be found and the tax was paid only by to be refused by the Mexican authorities. Subsequently a storm exposed the cannon and the memory of this incident was preserved by naming the street that ran past the theater, Canon Perdido – the lost cannon. Unfortunately the cannon was sold to a junk dealer and removed to San Francisco.
CARPINTERIA (Kar-pin-tere-ee’-ah) – So named because it was the route usually taken toward Carpinteria. During Portola’s expedition up the coast he found a number of Indians, near the mouth of Rincon Creek, manufacturing canoes, paddles and other articles from wood, hence Carpinteria, a wood-working establishment or carpenter’s shop.
CARRILLO (Kah-ree’-yo) – Was named after the Carrillo family. Raimundo Carrillo was commandante at the Presidio. Don Joaquin Carrillo was the first District Judge after the organization of this county. It is one of the eighty foot streets provided for in the Haley Survey, the other being State Street.
CASTILLO (Kas-tee’yo) – Is the Spanish word for Castle of Fort and the street was so named because is led to the old Spanish fort on the mesa.
CHAPALA (Chah-pah’-lah) – Was named for a city and a lake in Mexico from which some of the early settlers came.
CHINO (Chee’-no) – Derived its name from the Rancho del Chino where the battle of San Pascual was fought.
COTA (Ko’-tah) – Was named after the Cota family, one of whom was first lieutenant under Captain Ortega.
DE LA GUERRA (Del’la-Gair’-rah) (“g” as in game) – Was named in honor of Don Pablo de la Guerra, the most prominent grandee during late Spanish and early American period.
DE LA VINA (Del’lah Vee’nah) – Was originally called Vineyard street and derived its name from the fact that it passed through a vineyard planted by Governor Covcochea.
FIGUEROA (Fig-gay-ro’-ah) – Was named for Governor Jose Figueroa, who was appointed Governor of Alta California in 1832 and who issued the famous Secularization proclamation in 1833.
GARDEN (English pronunciation) – Also called Jardines, so named because the street, if extended, would pass through the DE la Guerra gardens in its lower course.
GILLESPIE (English pronunciation) – Was named after Captain Gillespie, who charged of the American troops at the battle of San Pascual.
GUTIERREZ (Goo-tair’-es) (g as in “game”) – A local family name but in this instance given to the street because Don Octaviano Gutierrez was a member of the city council.
HALEY (English pronunciation) – Was named after Salisbury Haley, who made what is known locally as the Haley Survey.
INDIO MUERTO (In’-dee-o) (Moo-air’-toe) – Signifies in Spanish, a Dead Indian, and was so named because a dead Indian was found in the locality at the time of the survey.
ISLAY (Iz’-lay) – Is the Indian name for the Wild Cherry which grows on the Santa Ynez Mountains, formerly quite a source of subsistence to the natives.
LAGUNA (Lah-goo’-nah) – So named because the street extended into the lake or lagoon which was formed during the rainy season by the backed-up waters of Mission Creek.
MASON (English pronunciation) – Was named after Governor Mason, who levied the tax of five hundred dollars in connection with the lost cannon incident.
MICHELTORENA (Mitchell-to-ray’-nah) – Was named after Manuel Micheltorena, who was appointed governor of Alta California in 1842.
MILPAS (Mil’-pas) – An Indian word for a “sowing patch.” The fine, rich quality of the soil in the vicinity of Milpas street led to its name for the Indians had many patches of grain sowed there.
MISSION (English pronunciation) – Of course was the street next to the Mission.
MONTECITO (Mon-tay-see’-toe) – Was so named because it led toward the beautiful valley of Montecito just beyond the town. In Spanish the word signifies A Little Mountain.
NOPAL (No’-pal) – Is the Indian word for Prickley Pear and was so named because of the great quantity that grew in that vicinity.
ORTEGA (Or-tay’-gah) – Named in honor of a prominent family, descended from an officer of that name who was connected with the early garrison at the Presidio.
PEDREGODA (Ped-ree-go’sah) – Is the Spanish adjective for Stony and the street was so named after Arroyo Pedregosa, the original name of our present Mission Creek.
PITOS (Pee’tos) – Is the Spanish word for Flutes and the street derived its name from the reeds which grow where the street now [asses, and from which flutes were manufactured by the Indians.
PUNTA GORDA (Poon’-tah) (Gor’dah) – Signifies in Spanish a High Bluff, and refers to the bank to which the street extends.
QUARANTINA (Kwa-ran-tee’-nah) – Derives its name from the fact that some ships were once placed in quarantine near where the street reaches the beach.
QUINIENTOS (Kee-nee-en’-tos) – Is the Spanish word for Five Hundred, and the street derived its name as a result of the five hundred dollar tax that was imposed upon the city in connection with the lost cannon incident.
RANCHERIA (Ran-chay-ree’-ah) – Was so named on account of a rancheria or Indian village which formerly existed in the section.
ROBBINS (English pronunciation) – Was named for Captain Thomas Robbins who came to Santa Barbara in 1827 and to whom was granted the Las Positas y Calera Ranch, the major portion of which is now known as Hope Ranch Park.
SALINAS (Sah-lee’-nas) – Signifies in Spanish a Salt Marsh, and was so named from the salt pond where it terminated.
SAL SI PUEDES (Sahl’-si’-pueh-des) – Generally written as one word, means in Spanish, “get out if you can,” referring to the broken character of the land, on account of many gulches in that vicinity.
SAN ANDREAS (San) (An-dress’) – Is somewhat doubtful but probably took its name from Andres Pico who commanded the Californians in the battle of San Pascual.
SAN BUENAVENTURA (San) (Bway-nah-ven-too’-ra) – Was named after the pueblo of San Buenaventura, our neighboring town in the east, and in Spanish signifies Welcome.
SAN PASCUAL (San) (Pas-kwal’) – Took its name from the battle of San Pascual, fought between the Americans and Californians in 1846.
SANTA BARBARA (English pronunciation) – Naturally was named for the town itself. The city derived its name from the following historical event: “In the autumn of 1602 Sebastian Viscaino set sail from Acapulo with three large vessels and a transport. One of the friars who accompanied Viscaino was Antonio de la Ascension, a man of considerable learning who compiled information regarding the countries and gave names to the places visited. The convoy entered the harbor on the eve of Saint Barbara’s day, December 3rd, and following the Spanish custom, the Channel was named after the young Saint.”
SOLA (So’-lah) – Was named in honor of Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola who was in charge of affairs when Mexico ceased to be a Spanish province and took California with her.
SOLEDAD (Sol’-lay-dad) – In Spanish signifies Solitude or a place where no one lives, the condition that prevailed in that vicinity when the survey was made.
STATE (English pronunciation) – Was so named from the State of California just then proud of its admittance to the Union.
VALERIO (Vah-lair’-you) – Is said to have been the name of a noted Indian outlaw, who escaped from the Mission in 1826 and turned robber. He lived in a cave in the Santa Ynez Mountains, and made frequent depredations upon the settlers but was never apprehended.
VICTORIA (Vick-tor’-yah) – Was named after Manuel Victoria, who was made governor of Alta California in 1831.
VOLUNTARIO (Vall-un-tair’yo) – Is the Spanish for Volunteers, and was so named because Fremont’s Volunteers camped upon the hill to which the street extended.
YANONALI (Yah-no’-nah’-lee) – Commemorates the name of the famous old chief who was at the head of the local Indian tribe whose headquarters were located on the famous mound where the Hotel Potter recently stood.