BRIEF FRONT OF RIVIERA TOUR
Park in front of Orpet Park on Alameda Padre Serra or at the El Encanto Resort (we will end your tour at the resort). Start your walking tour of the Riviera by meandering through the park. Former Park Superintendent E. O. Orpet established this 4-acre, two parcel (both sides of the street) park as a horticultural showplace in 1921. He made an extremely active park superintendent. He supervised plantings along Cabrillo Boulevard as well as the islands in the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge. The planting of olive trees along Olive Street was largely his work, as were the cork oaks in the Samarkand neighborhood and the magnolias on San Andres Street. He also was instrumental urging the use of ice plants along California highways. The park itself features distant ocean views, rare plants and trees, picnic tables, and walking paths. Cross at corner of Alameda Padre Serra and Lasuen Road. Note the reproduction of the original streetcar stop at the corner which is now a historical landmark. Now walk up the walkway and stairs to Riviera Park. Check out the fountains, the theatre and the early 20th century buildings. In 1909, the State of California selected Santa Barbara as the site of a new Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics which would later become the Santa Barbara College. As part of the terms to establish the school, the state required the city to provide land for the campus and transportation for students and faculty. Local banker Charles A. Edwards responded by donating 14 acres of his Upper Riviera tract. To which the city extended its streetcar line from the Santa Barbara Mission up to the Normal School site, later adding a short extension to Moreno Road; both of which would be removed in 1930.
Walk by the lotus pond and fountain to the Quad Building and turn left. When you get to the street turn right and walk up to Mission Ridge. (Total distance approximately .15 miles) Turn right on Mission Ridge. Continue up Mission Ridge Road past Las Tunas Road for approximately .5 miles. During this portion of the walk, take in the view to your right of Santa Barbara High School and it’s football field, the Granada theatre and downtown State Street, the pier and on a clear Day the Mesa in the distance. 5 houses past Las Tunas Road just past 1704 Mission Ridge Road look high up on the cliff to your left and you will see a bust of Mr Franceschi overlooking Santa Barbara. Emanuele Orazio Fenzi, better known as Francesco Franceschi (1843–1924), was an Italian horticulturist responsible for vastly increasing the botanical variety of Santa Barbara (introducing more than 900 species). He was also for awhile the primary landowner on the Riviera, our loaf-shaped hill overlooking the city’s downtown. Approximately 350 feet/175 steps past the bust take the foot path on your right (opening between the guardrail) and follow it down for approximately 375 steps/.15 mile to Dover Road. This path was established so that students from the top of the Riviera neighborhood could easily get down to Jefferson Middle School located on Alameda Padre Serra. Turn right when you get to Dover Road. Stay on Dover for a short 500 feet and at fork in road veer left onto Paterna Road. The interesting turnaround area was once a trolley turn. Most of the homes here on Paterna were built in the 1930s. The frog wall will appear on your right between 1600-1700 Paterna. According to local history, a plastic frog appeared in 1989 at this location, and over the following 30 years, neighbors and visitors to the area added their own frogs to the wall. Please be respectful when visiting. Making your own froggy offering is an excellent way to contribute to the specialness of the shrine.
Continue on Paterna until Lasuen Road (approximately .35 miles). Turn left. On your right used to be student housing which is now the back side of the El Encanto Resort. Continue straight on Lasuen at the stone light above Orpet Park to Alvarado Place. (approximately .12 miles) Turn right and the El Encanto Resort entrance will be shortly on your right. With the opening across the street of the Normal School campus in 1914, an immediate shortage of housing developed on the hillside. To help fill that need, James M. Warren built a two-story dormitory, two 10-room houses, and three cottages on his property adjacent to the Normal School along Lasuen Road. These buildings would prove unpopular with students and would go on to house Santa Barbara’s tourists as the El Encanto Hotel. Also spurred by activity of the Normal School, developer George Batchelder and a group of investors formed the Riviera Company in 1913. Mr. Batchelder sought to promote the southern slope of the Mission Ridge as the Pacific equivalent of the Mediterranean Riviera and thus appropriated the name “Riviera” to create a new image for what was once little more than a barren and undesirable hillside.
Finish your walk here at the 5 star resort with a delicious bite or a libation.
TOTAL DISTANCE APPROXIMATELY 1.5 MILES