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Architectural Walking Tour by Judy Keim of Pedal & Paddle Tours

What's New with Santa Barbara Car Free

Architectural Walking Tour by Judy Keim of Pedal & Paddle Tours


October 19 - 21, 2009

Carl Morrison, 

(Click any photo below for a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

The Santa Barbara Car Free website promotes walking by saying:


With its many paseos, Santa Barbara's shopping district is made for pedestrians. It's just a short walk from the waterfront up State Street under Highway 101 to the vibrant center of town, with its irresistible shops, casual sidewalk cafes, and superb restaurants. If you get tired of walking, hop on the electric shuttle or, in the evening, flag down a bike cab. Or you can rent a bike or segway (see this page). See how to be car free for some suggestions and itineraries.

Listed here are a few locations exceptionally well-suited for exploring on foot. 

I made connections with Judy Keim for my Shelton Brothers Walking Tour.  Her website says:

Pedal & Paddle of Santa Barbara

Pedal & Paddle of Santa Barbara, owner-operated since 1992, by Judy Keim, offers customized individual and group kayaking, biking and walking tours in the Santa Barbara area. The tours focus on nature, flora, fauna, art, and architecture, with an emphasis on local history and folklore, giving you a look at this beautiful seaside community from a different perspective.

Pedal & Paddle of Santa Barbara
848 Cathedral Vista Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Questions: Judy Keim     TEL: 805-687-2912
E-MAIL: or Call Anytime!

Car Free Discount Offer for 2009: 10% off any kayak, bike, or walking tour seven days a week with a two-hour minimum.

Since our Surfliner did not leave Santa Barbara until Wednesday afternoon about 2 pm, we had time for one more Car Free Activity in the morning.  I chose to meet Judy Keim, of Pedal & Paddle of Santa Barbara, for an architectural walking tour called, SHELTON BROTHERS TOUR.  As her ad says above, Call Anytime! I can verify that this works.  I had called Judy on Monday to set this up and mentioned that I only had Wednesday morning for the tour and she was kind enough to set up a tour before she went to work at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History at 9:30.  I took a cab, only because the electric trolley doesn't run before 9 am, and met Judy at D'Angelo Bread, 25 W Gutierrez St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3449, (805) 962-5466.  I arrived a few minutes before our 8 am appointed time, so I had a delicious blueberry muffin and coffee.  At the 8 o'clock hour, I walked outside and there was Judy. 

Judy handed me a "Shelton Brothers Tours" sheet with color photos of some of the spots we would be seeing on the tour.  The sheet said, Our walk on the lower east and west sides of State Street will focus on the recent unique architectural designs of Jeff and David Shelton.  We'll also see homes and commercial buildings built in the mid and late 1800s, most changed significantly in style after the 1925 earthquake.  We'll pass by one of the city's oldest parks, explore Brooks Institute of Photography and discover a hidden restaurant row that will give you some options for your evening's dinner out.  Wear:  Hat/visor and sunscreen.  Bring:  camera and water.  Walk IS wheelchair and stroller accessible. 

The tour usually takes 2 hours, but since this tour was done just for me before she went to work, we shortened it and did not enter the buildings as she would on a regular tour.  It was very interesting and informative, just like a friend showing you around their hometown, but with extra commentary added that most locals would not know.  Thank you Judy!

Judy began by explaining that one of the Shelton Bros., Jeff, was an architect and another, David, was a metal worker and we would see their work combined in the buildings we would see on the tour.  There are two other brothers.  Steve is a music teacher and Ron makes movies such as Tin Cup, White Men Can't Jump, Bull Durham, etc.

Shelton Brothers Tour by Judy Keim

Photo Tip:  Take your wide angle lens.


The first building, a residence with garage on street level, was owned by oriental carpet cleaners.  She pointed out the racks on the upper patio for hanging the rugs for drying.  Also, the ceramic rugs as art seemingly hanging over the edge of the patio.

The multi-use building is a half block long with garage on the lower level and interior hallway, right, for movement between the garages and other areas of the building.

On State Street, Judy explained that since Hwy. 1 was only one block off State St. many buildings in this part of town were automobile related - new car show rooms, garages, etc.  The arches on the buildings were for showroom windows or for driving cars through into the buildings if they were garages.

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This corner was formerly a gas station.

One-half block off State Street, we walked down an alley with Shelton ironwork along the sides.
The Ablitt House by Jeff Shelton, 2008.
Built on 20 x 20 ft. lot, 4 stories high, one room per floor, staircase on left, garage on lower floor.  The interior staircase has a continuous wooden handrail.


The longer you look at the building, the more unique elements you see.  The first floor is the laundry and garage.

Jeff Shelton Architect

519 Fig Avenue,

Santa Barbara California 93101


Ablitt Plan, right, from Jeff Shelton's website:


The "No on 8" banner is against a proposed law that no structures in Santa Barbara can be over 3 stories tall.  Judy explained that if there was earthquake damage, buildings like this one and even the County Courthouse could not be repaired.
Since the entry to the Ablitt House is down an alley, you see backs of buildings as you approach it.  Businesses are starting to improve the looks of the backs of the buildings, as with this one and the potted plants.  A closer look at the light colored cactus on the left:


Nearby is the Holiday Inn Express at 17 West Haley Street.  The building was built in 1916 as the Hotel Virginia, as a residence hotel.  In 1925 a 3rd story was added.  It was the first commercial building on Haley Street.  Another hotel was built next door and linked on the upper floors and both building functioned as a single unit.  In the 1925 earthquake, it was damaged and the two buildings were repaired in the Spanish Colonial Revival design, still keeping separate window treatments on the outside.  In the following decades, it fell into disrepair and in 1998 it was purchased and renovated.

This building was a Firestone Store.  The Firestone Family has vineyards in Los Olivos and Paso Robles.  Large openings in this building were car bays for tire installations.
The current owner.
This 1895 home at 501 Chapala is Queen Ann Architecture built by a Pacific Coast Steamship Captain.  His wife could see the pier from the turret.

A recent repainting emphasizes the gingerbread.


El Andaluz at 531 Chapala Street

There are seven homes around an extraordinary Moroccan influenced open-air courtyard. The specifications meet the criteria of people who prefer distinctive architecture, highest quality building standards, and aesthetically luxurious finishes for their serene and secure home. This site is in a diverse neighborhood setting downtown, conveniently located just one block from State Street, six blocks from the beach, and within walking distance of the many civic and cultural amenities of Santa Barbara.

A three-story Condominium building by the Shelton's .  Seven units with 8th as a commercial unit on the ground floor.
Judy pointed out the ceramic covered benches in front and along many other streets in the area.

Moroccan influenced architecture

Judy pointed out another art piece, the acorn, found on many Shelton structures, created by Andy Johnson.
The columns and ceiling of the entry to the El Andaluz Bldg.
Stairs to the residential units.
Architecture by Jeff Shelton and metalwork by David Shelton.


Notice the Andy Johnson ceramics on the top ends of the bench.

This building, built as an auto showroom, still serves that use today.

This auto dealer is across the street from the El Andaluz Bldg.
In the auto showroom was a 1938 Ford.

Another auto-related building nearby.

527 Fig Avenue
A furniture designer and sculptor known for his ironwork
Other views round the Shelton Studios

The Hotel Santa Barbara, where we had stayed on our last Santa Barbara Car Free trip five years ago, still looks beautiful in the morning light.


A large  black and white photo of the Hotel Santa Barbara is in the window at street level.

East Cota Street

Joe's Cafe across State St. from the Hotel Santa Barbara.

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Palace Restaurant

Palace exterior

The Blue Agave has a Cigar Lounge upstairs.


Reflected in the Blue Agave's window is the Brooks Institute at 27 E. Cota Street (right).
Built originally as the Lyon Van and Storage Company Building.

IMG_3963.jpg IMG_3967.jpg IMG_3964.jpg
Lobby of the Brooks Institute.  Student photographs are sometimes displayed here at the Cota St. Campus.  The main campus is at 801 Alston Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 (888) 381-4999
Site of the Lincoln Elementary School 1870 - 1979.



A block-long public park, Plaza De Vera Cruz is across the street.
IMG_3974.jpg IMG_3976.jpg
Early workers' cottage significant for its architecture and occupants.

Another Shelton Building - Cota Street Studios


IMG_3981.jpg IMG_3983.jpg

Garages are nestled into the first floor off the alley.
Note the ironwork porch and the placement of the pots in the patio walls.
More use of ceramics on the walls.
Notice how, under the eves, the tops of the walls look like the early worker's cottage above on this page.

At every angle you notice an interesting, new element.
Residence for people with mental illness, including some seniors, near the Cota Street Studios.

"Art From Scrap" headquarters.  They are an environmentally friendly organization that promotes reducing/reusing/recycling.
Art From Scrap
302 E Cota St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101-1622
(805) 884-0459.


Nicely rennovated original home, with business behind.
IMG_4007.jpg IMG_4006.jpg

The Haley Cottage, above and left, was originally a motor court, popular in this part of town with proximity to Hwy. 1's original route through town.

Small one-room church with 2 story bldg. built on the back, right.


La Rosa Bungalow Court

La Rosa Bungalow Court, a traditional courtyard complex situated in the heart of Santa Barbara, California.

La Rosa Bungalow Court is a unique courtyard property in Santa Barbara, CA, offering both long-term and seasonal vacation rentals. The La Rosa bungalow cottages are conveniently located close to everything downtown - 3 blocks to State St. shopping and restaurant district, and 4 blocks to the beach.  221 E. Haley

Please see our sister property: Haley Cottages - this sunny studio complex is perfect for student housing, and is located adjacent to La Rosa.


Church of "Skatan."  When the 1925 Baptist Church was sold, no outside changes could be made and inside only the pews could be moved.  It is now a shop that sells everything related to skateboarding.
IMG_4025.jpg IMG_4027.jpg

On State Street, just north of the Hwy. 101 underpass.
Built by Standard Oil, this one square block building was where oil rig equipment was built and, during the war, war goods like propellers were built here, now offices.

For more on walking in Santa Barbara, go to the Santa Barbara Car Free website to the Chapter on "Walking in Santa Barbara" at:  http://www.santabarbaraCar

After the tour, I walked down State Street to the entrance to the pier to catch an electric trolley back to Fess Parker Doubletree Resort.  Once there, I realized that it was only 5 blocks east on Cabrillo Blvd. to the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort, so I walked it, making myself feel better about my Car Free vacation.

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