Thanksgiving on Garden Street, Santa Barbara.

I write this as an introduction to the first entry of the diaries of Clinton Bennett Hale Hollister”> who operated the ranches known collectively as the “Hollister Ranch.”

If you’re interested in the adventures of flood control in someone elses back yard, you’ll find this — regarding chicken coops and quarter inch pipes–of interest. In addition this is not about cowboys & indians.

If it’s about social history, we can learn a little more about  people we might have known, including Dusty Weber, Cliff Weber, Frank Hollister, Bero, Woody, Elizabeth, Negy, Mickey, Joe, the Wards. Jane Wheelwright. Eddie Hames—and the ancient history of the Rose Bowl.

The first of these diary entries, from November 4, 1955, was put together right before Democrat John J. Hollister Jr.—Jack—upset Republican Stanley Tomlinson in Santa Barbara County’s special election of November 8 to name a State Senator.

According to a Davis University web page, “Jack was elected to the California State Senate in 1955 during a special election and was re-elected in 1956 and 1960. During his terms of office, he manifested a keen interest in legislation pertaining to agriculture, education, soil conservation, and harbor development. He served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor.”

On the same day, it was reported in the Los Angeles Times that Jack’s first cousin, Graham Hollister and his wife, Janet Davis Hollister were visiting Santa Barbara. They “were down from their ranch near Genoa Nevada for Cate School homecoming weekend.”

Indeed, the Nevada Hollisters all came down with the wife of the architect who had designed some of the Hollister ranch buildings—including Saunders knoll—Mrs David Vhay and her children David and Diana. The Newspaper continues:

“There was much going and coming between the Ramirez adobe where Mrs A. L. Murphy Vhay grandmother of David and Diana lives and the quaint little half street between Garden and Laguna Sts that has now become a  stronghold of town houses for various members of the vast and influential Hollister clan.”

That “stronghold” included the off-ranch home of JJsr—Jim and Dot, Clint and Becky, and Joe Hollister’s family, I think. Joe had died suddenly in 1953, and Clint quit his job as pediatrician to figure out how to mother cows instead.

This last of these diaries for 1955 (the diary starts up again in February 1956) was also written shortly before Thanksgiving. The “Senator elect and Mrs. John James Hollister Jr” did not live at the downtown Hollister compound, but at Winchester Canyon—Rancho Las Armitas. The LA Times of November 24 reports that they were planning to “serve turkey to their son Jimmy who is down from Stanford with a friend, George Sterrett Wheaton III.”

As with the previous, I’m only trying to line up original sources with any interesting time-line as it becomes available. And I hope you will all find this of interest—and have a happy thanksgiving!

Reference to:

 

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