|The Campbell Ranch in western Goleta Valley once comprised 500 acres which included the entire Coal Oil Point area, today the UCSB's West Campus and Coal Oil Point Reserve, and a separate 250 acre parcel on the south side of Hollister Avenue. Today the winding hand-built entry road to the estate is the main road on UCSB's West Campus. The Campbell family built a large rambling mansion, many outbuildings, guest cottages, a bunkhouse, an abalone shell-encrusted beach house and a large barn for the family horses in the 1920's. The ranch with its British flavor was a social center for early Santa Barbara residents and supported many local people and their families.
Today, remnants of the ranch remain, a few are still in daily use. The scenic original road provides all or part of the access to the University Child Care Center, West Campus Faculty Housing, the West Campus Stables, the Cliff House and the Coal Oil Point Reserve and the Devereux Foundation's campus. The grounds and ranch were landscaped with rows of olive, eucalyptus, and cypress trees, many of which still stand today. A polo field that later became an airstrip for Campbell's son is now the site of West Campus Point faculty housing. The Campbell's mansion is used as part of the Devereux Foundation Campus and was renovated in the late 1980's.
The majestic Campbell Barn was closed for use following damage to the foundation in the 1978 earthquake. The spacious red barn housed horses and equipment until that time. The barn overlooks the West Campus Stables, which continues as an equestrian facility for UCSB students, faculty and staff. The English Polo Barn architecture of the barn is unique to the region and may be the only surviving example on the south coast.
The stone and cement beach house survives below the cliffs east of Coal Oil Point. The derelict structure has weathered numerous El Nino events in recent decades. It is now covered in graffiti rather than abalone shells and the cypress trees that once surrounded it have fallen. Local lore says the beach house was used as a landing and storage place for illegal spirits during Prohibition and that tunnels for hiding smuggled goods once extended well under the bluff.
Vernal pools originally covered much of the Isla Vista mesa and uplands of the Devereux Slough. Ranching and dry farming degraded the majority of the pools which were subsequently destroyed by rapid urban development in the 1950s. Successful restoration of vernal pools began in the late 1980s and continues on several sites in the Devereux and Goleta Slough watersheds.
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Site last updated February 28th, 2005
Site maintained by Williston Hayes