Goleta Valley Historical Society had a modest beginning – a dream to “collect and promote our unique history.” This is the mission of the Society, whose journey began on April 13, 1966. Forty civic-minded guests attended that day at Bray’s Restaurant, many of them decedents of Valley pioneers. It was a day that would change the course of history in the Goleta community.
After some discussion, it was decided that the ‘saving of Stow House’ should be the Society’s first project. After a successful community campaign, in April 1967 George Adams submitted a report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which led to a lease agreement for Goleta Valley Historical Society to care for the interior of Stow House. A dedication ceremony in September of 1967 brought to life the dream to preserve the historic ranch for future generations.
Today, in partnership with the City of Goleta, the Society is the steward of the Stow House, the gardens, the ranch area, and other historic structures that have been carefully restored. The gathering place, once a home to the Stow family, has become a home to the community, a place to celebrate our history and all that is good in this wonderful city. This majestic landmark offers a rare opportunity to experience what life was like during the golden era of California ranching. The Ranch is open Saturdays and Sundays 1-4pm and by appointment.
In celebration of 50 years of dedication to our mission to “collect, preserve, interpret and foster research of Goleta Valley’s history through exhibits, programs, and stewardship of the historic Rancho La Patera, home to the Stow family” the Society is embarking on two ambitious projects. The first, an exhibition “Good Land Gold: GVHS Celebrates 50 Years,” to open June 1, 2016 and run through spring 2017, which will highlight the organization’s founding and first years. The second project is an exciting commemorative reprinting of Goleta: The Good Land (1966), by Walker Tompkins.