Introduction to Goleta, California
The city of Goleta is located in southern Santa Barbara County's Goleta Valley on the central coast of California, approximately 8 miles northwest of Santa Barbara and 90 miles north of Los Angeles. Nestled between Los Padres National Forest's Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the city is serviced by U.S. Route 101 and is close to California State Highway 154.
The name "Goleta" (Spanish for small ship or schooner) officially appeared on the landscape in 1875 with the establishment of a local post office. The name was chosen because of the original land grant (La Goleta) which defined the area. Around the turn of the 20th century, the Southern Pacific Railroad established rail lines through the area, and in the 1930s a local airport was built. The airport was expanded and improved with Navy funds during World War II, when it became part of the Marine's Flying Leatherneck base. After the war, the airport was turned over to the City of Santa Barbara and later annexed to that city as their airport. The area's landscape, characterized by farms, dairies and ranches, changed in the 1950s concurrent with the arrival of the University of California campus and the establishment of many aerospace companies. The former farming region began a transformation to a high technology research area and an urban bedroom community. Often referred to as "Silicon Beach", Goleta Valley today is characterized by high technology, including diversified electronics, telecommunications, and remote sensing manufacturing industries. After many years of being the largest unincorporated area in the county, Goleta was finally incorporated as a city in 2002.
Historical sites in Goleta include the Stow House, an 1872 structure stocked with period furnishings. The grounds include the Goleta History Museum, a working Blacksmith Shop, a Maritime Museum and Carriage House. Also in Goleta is the South Coast Railroad Museum, whose waiting rooms have been restored and are open to the public. The city's premiere annual event is the Goleta Lemon Festival. The event, held on two weekend days in October, was at various times in its history known as the Goleta Magnolia Festival, Goleta Valley Fair, and Goleta Valley Days Festival. In 1992 the festival acquired its present name owing to the long history of the lemon industry in the Goleta Valley and variety of delicious recipes available using lemons. The festival is now a total community event with local service clubs providing food booths featuring all things lemon, including lemonade, lemon cake, lemon chicken, lemon yogurt and even a Lemon Pie Baking and Eating Contest.