« PrejšnjaNaprej »
through a number of holes from three to eight inches in diameter, and forms pools of tar in which the gas generated at the same time creates great bladders, that burst with a loud noise. It soon hardens, on exposure, when it forms asphaltum, or brea, as it is called here, or maltha, as it is termed by men of science. There are a great many other places in this county where these materials are found in abundance. In the Canada de la Brea, about twenty miles east from Los Angeles, the petroleum oozes from the hill side, and has formed immense deposits of asphaltum in the canon. At several places around the estero of San Pedro, the same material flows through the banks near the sea beach. Considerable oil has been made from petroleum obtained in the San Fernando district. Asphaltum is shipped in large quantities to San Francisco from deposits near the coast, and experiments are being made to test its adaptability for fuel.
There are good roads in nearly all parts of Los Angeles, which connect it with the adjoining counties. With railroad facilities, and a larger population, its resources will be immensely increased.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY.
Santa Barbara county embraces the angle of the coast at Point Concepcion, whence it trends nearly north forty miles, and easterly one hundred and twenty miles. It is the only county in the State having so large a coast line facing towards the south. This peculiarity in its topography exerts a great influence over the climate and productions of this county, and those south and east of it. North of Point Concepcion the coast, during the summer is swept by cold fog bearing winds from the northwest, and by violent rain storms from the south during the winter. South of that point there is scarcely any fog, and it is both drier and warmer than to the north. Snow rarely falls on the highest mountains—frost is almost unknown—and it seldom rains from May to November.
The whole county, which is about one hundred and twenty miles in length, and about forty miles in average breadth, lies on the west of the main divide of the coast range. It contains about 1,500,000 acres, nearly one half of which are mountainous, and unfit for cultivation, but well adapted for cattle and sheep raising.
The Santa Inez branch of the coast mountains is entirely in this county, traversing it from east to west, terminating at Point Concepcion. The Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains divide it from Los Angeles County on the southeast. Between these ranges, and at their base along the coast, there are a number of exceedingly beautiful and fertile valleys, most of them being under cultivation where water can be obtained for irrigation, but no ditches or reservoirs have been made to obtain an additional supply of this element, although sufficient to irrigate the entire county runs to waste.
The Santa Inez river traverses the county from east to west upwards of one hundred miles, emptying into the Pacific Ocean at Jesus Maria, in this county. It has more the character of a creek than a river, for about ten miles from the sea. The San Buenaventura rises near the junction of the San Rafael and Santa Inez mountains, in the central part of the county, and flows nearly due south into the Santa Barbara channel, at the old Mission of San Buenaventura. The Santa Clara has its source in Los Angeles, but flows nearly west, across Santa Barbara county, entering the sea three miles southeast of San Buenaventura. The Cuyama, or Santa Maria, is quite a stream, having its source near the Canada de las Uvas in the Sierra Nevada. It forms the northem boundary line of the county for more than one hundred miles, > extending a few miles north of Point Sal to near Fort Tejon. There are a great many tributaries to each of these streams, which contain water during the year. The main river sinks into the sand in several places near its mouth. Extending east from Point Conception a hundred miles along the sea shore, on the south side of the Santa Ynez mountains, there is a belt of land about three miles wide, the climate of which is almost tropical and unsurpassed by that of any other portion of the State.
There is but little timber in any part of the county, except oak, willow, and sycamore, which grow on the plains or in the valleys. The highest mountains being covered with grass or wild oats during the winter and spring, furnish nutritious pasturage for sheep and cattle during the entire year. In the western portion of the county, the mountains are much lower than they are on the east, where the Sierra Nevada and Coast Range unite. The culminating peak at the junction, Mount Pinos, is nearly seven thousand five hundred feet high. In this vicinity there are forests of pine and redwood.
The Santa Inez valley, in which the old mission of that name is located, is very beautiful and fertile. The old mission buildings remain in good preservation, the bells still hanging in the belfry, calling the worshippers to service. This valley, like all the others on this part of the coast, has a series of terraces formed by successive elevations of the land within the present geological era. The lowest of these three terraces, in the Santa Inez valley, is about twenty-five feet above the level of the river; the second is forty-five feet, and the third is ninety-five feet above the present level of the river, which evidently cut them all. To the west of the town of Santa Barbara, on the south side of the Santa Inez mountains, the coast line forms a terrace extending from Santa Barbara to the base of the Gaviota pass, eighty feet above the ocean.
The town of Santa Barbara is situated on the shore of the bay, on a headland to the west of which there is a good lighthouse. It is nearly in the center of the county, on the southern coast line. The houses, which are nearly all built of adobe, and roofed with red tiles, in the old Mexican style, extend continuously from the shore, for about a mile inland. It contains about 1,600 inhabitants, nearly 1,200 of whom are Mexicans and native Californians, the others being chiefly Americans and Europeans. There is one hotel and numerous stores. A good wharf has been built, but it is not far enough out from the shore for vessels to load or unload without boats. About a mile and a half from the shore, further up the valley, on an eminence which commands a fine view of the surrounding country and of a wide expanse of ocean, stands the old mission, from which the town and county derive their name. It is in a good state of preservation, service being still performed in it by the Catholic pastor. There is considerable land under cultivation in this fine valley, but little in other parts of the county. The orange, lemon, grape, olive, fig, and the cereals, are produced here.
At the hacienda of Semar del Cannello, near Montecita, about three miles east of Santa Barbara, on the sea-coast, is the largest grape-vine in the Stats—probably the largest on the American continent. This vine is of the old mission, or Los Angeles variety. It was planted about forty-three years ago, by Maria Marcilina Felix, a Mexican woman, who died there in 1865, at the age of 107. The vine measures nearly twelve inches in diameter at four feet from the ground; at two feet higher, the stem is divided, and its branches are supported by a rude trellis-work, forming a splendid bower, which covers an area of 10,000 square feet. It annually produces about 12,000 pounds of grapes. The bunches are generally from fifteen to eighteen inches long, and weigh from six to seven pounds each. There is a smaller vine near by, being about ten years old, that produces annually from 900 to 1,200 bunches. No fertilizer is used about these vines, excepting that the cuttings are burned, and their ashes placed in the soil over the roots. Irrigation is employed very sparingly, and only at the time when the ashes are used. No better proof of the adaptability of the soil and climate of this part of the coast for the culture of the grape can be required.
East of Santa Barbara, there is a level plain, averaging two miles wide, and about fifteen miles in length, which is nearly all in a good state of cultivation. Some of the finest barley raised in the State is produced on this plain, and most kinds of fruit are also cultivated. Monticito and Carpenteria are both located on this plain. Siticoy and Santa Clara valleys have a frontage on the coast of sixteen miles, and extends inland about forty miles, gradually narrowing, and are cultivated to some extent. These valleys and plains produce immense quantities of wild mustard, which grows to the size of small trees in some localities. Wild bees are also very numerous, yielding a great deal of honey and wax. These articles are among the staple exports of the county. A large number of mulberry trees have been planted within the past few years, for propagating the silk-worm, which is found to thrive well in this county. Its present agricultural products are of comparatively little importance, not more than 15,000 acres of land being under cultivation. The entire county contains but one grist-mill, and that with only one set of stones, about two hundred tons of flour being annually imported from San Francisco. The chief products are cattle and sheep. It is one of the most important grazing counties in the State. As recently as 1864, thousands of cattle were slaughtered for their hides and tallow, but they have increased in value two hundred per cent. since then, owing to the increasing cultivation of land in other counties. Large numbers of horses raised here are sent to Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. Messrs. A. and T. B. Dibblee, and Col. W. W. Hollister, of San Francisco, graze 31,500 sheep upon 120,000 acres of land, near Point Concepcion. These sheep are chiefly Spanish merinos and their grades, bred with imported bucks. The wool clip from this flock, for 1867, amounted to 106,000 pounds. Hollister & Cooper, on ranches adjoining the above have 20,000 sheep of the same character of breed. There are numerous smaller flocks in other portions of the county, and on the islands off the coast, amounting in the aggregate to 185,000. The want of population is the only impediment to the development of its resources; but it is probable that this defect will be remedied to some extent during 1868, as roads have been laid out to connect with Kern and Inyo counties.
The peculiarly mountainous character of the country renders it somewhat difficult and expensive to make good roads of any length. That which crosses the Santa Inez mountains, to Santa Barbara, is very romantic and sinuous. It winds up steep mountains by zig-zags, and crosses sandy creeks and marshy valleys, until it reaches the Gaviota Pass —a natural chasm, about sixty feet wide, through a lofty chain of mountains, reaching within a mile of the sea. The sides of this pass are nearly perpendicular walls of solid rock, upwards of three hundred feet high. From this pass, the road winds at the base of these mountains, for nearly twenty miles along the sea beach. This is a delightful trip during the summer—the white-crested billows of the Pacific curling and seething about the horse's feet; and the cool seabreeze, how refreshing—after leaving the hot and dusty roads over the mountains. But it is not quite so agreeable at night, during the winter, when the wind has lashed the waves into fury; it is then not a little dangerous to fail to make the trip between the tides.
Three miles southeast of Carpenteria, near Mount Hoar, the seashore is covered with a thick deposit of asphaltum, which oozes from the slaty bank in the form of thick tar, covering the beach and concreting the sand and pebbles as hard as rock, running under the sea, in places where the surface has become hardened and smooth. There are similar deposits of this mineral along the sea-shore in this and Los Angeles county, from which about two thousand tons of asphaltum are annually collected and shipped to San Francisco.
Opposite La Golita and Positas ranchos, in the roadstead of Santa Barbara, and extending coastwise as far as the "Rincon," the sea is covered with an iridescent film of oil, which finds its way to the surface at numerous points, over an extent of at least twenty miles, escaping, probably, from the outcropping edges of the strata.
There are numerous oil-springs, and petroleum deposits, in all of the southern counties.
Sulphur and salt are also obtained along the coast in Santa Barbara county; and some gold and copper have been found in the valley of the Santa Inez.
There are only three towns in the county: Santa Barbara, the county seat; San Buenaventura, thirty miles east; and Santa Inez, forty miles north-west. The population of the county is about 6,000, of whom 1,700 are children under fifteen years of age. Considerably more than one half of the adult population are Mexicans and native Californians.
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY.
San Luis Obispo county is bounded on the north by Monterey, on the east by Kern, on the south by Santa Barbara county, and on the west by the Pacific ocean. It contains about 1,500,000 acres, nearly