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Stearns Wharf to celebrate 150th anniversary with “grand birthday bash”

City of Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Built in 1872, Stearns Wharf will celebrate its 150th anniversary this year with a "grand birthday bash" on October 8.

Neal Graffy, local historian, said that the first ship to tie up to Stearns Wharf and unload was 150 years ago today on September 16, 1872.

"This photo from around 1888 shows two lumber ships (far left and far right) unloading lumber. A single ship could carry several hundred-thousand feet of lumber, shingles, posts etc. At the end of the wharf, the coastal steamer S. S. Mexico, of the Pacific Steamship Company line, releases and receives passengers," said Neal Graffy. PC: Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Stearns Wharf merchants invite the community to celebrate the milestone with a full day of family-friendly events including cannon battles with a tall ship, an opera performance, live music and more.

Organizers provided the following schedule:

  • 10:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Free rides for children 12 and under, Little Toot
  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Scavenger hunt
  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Face painting
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. Free concert: Opera Santa Barbara – selection of crowd favorites
  • 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Chowder tasting
  • 1:00 p.m. Yacht Club ceremonial regatta
  • 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Free concert: Tequila Mockingbird
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Free concert: Doublewide Kings
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Celebratory Convocation
  • 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Double Wide Kings

The day of events will be capped off with a five-minute fireworks show, according to city officials.

As seen on the landmark's website, "Stearns Wharf is more than a nice place to watch boats or fish, it’s a structure that changed the face of Santa Barbara-literally. 150 years ago, Santa Barbara, being surrounded by mountains, was an isolated pueblo. There were no roads into town, there was no railroad. When John Peck Stearns built the wharf in 1872 he not only opened the door to large-scale commerce and trade; he introduced Santa Barbara to the rest of the world."

For more information on the birthday bash or for more history, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Lily Dallow

Lily Dallow is a digital journalist and assignment editor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lily, click here.

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