The Modern Period


Having become part of the United States, Santa Barbara's population doubled between 1850 and 1860. As American settlers moved in, wood construction replaced adobe and the area became lawless during the California Gold Rush years, with stagecoach robberies a regular occurrence. English gradually replaced Spanish as the language of daily life, and with increased settler growth in the 1870s, the ranchos were eventually all subdivided.

In the Santa Ynez Valley farmers grew olives, peaches, walnuts, prunes, apples, cherries and quinces. Dairy farming was an important part of Valley life from the 1930s through the 1960s, but this didn't survive into the seventies. Horse and cattle sales now play an important role in the life of the Valley and its heritage, and a few local ranches are known for their Arabian or thoroughbred breeds.