More's Landing

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More's Landing, Goleta

More's Landing, Goleta, was built off More Mesa about a mile to the east of the Goleta Slough in 1874. It was owned by T. Wallace More and his brothers, who also owned Santa Rosa Island. According to Walker Tompkins [Goleta the Good Land, 1966]:

“More's Landing was 900 feet long and 35 feet wide, with a two-story warehouse at the seaward end. Ships had two fathoms of water at low tide when they reached the pier head. Access roads were dug out of the shale cliffs to form ramps, both east and west of the wharf.”

More's Landing was much closer and more convenient to Goleta Valley farmers. They used More Ranch Road from Hollister Avenue to haul their lima beans, honey, walnuts, barley, and other products to More's Landing for loading aboard coastal steamers. On September 10, 1874, the County Supervisors awarded T. Wallace More a 20-year franchise for the wharf, and set up a scale of fees he could charge his customers, identical to the wharfage rates charged by John P. Stearns in Santa Barbara.

Additionally, More and his brothers had begun mining the asphalt flow that was on their property, and the demand was great, especially since the first streets in San Francisco were being paved with asphalt from the More ranch. T. Wallace More chose a wharf location on his coastal bluffs between an artesian spring and his asphalt mine. He dug out two access roads, one on the east and one on the west side of the landing site.

T. Wallace More was murdered at his Rancho Sespe on March 24, 1877. Over the following years, the More ranch would ship over 32,000 tons of asphalt from the pier T. Wallace built, making his investment very lucrative. When the steamers were a mile from the wharf, they would sound their whistle and the wharfinger would hurry down with a horse and cart, no matter the weather or the time of day. When the fog was thick, the wharfinger would sound a hand cranked siren to help the ships find the pierhead. Many Goleta folks came down to the landing just to spend the day, and groups of visitors from Santa Barbara would come up for a day trip by steamer and by wagon. The beach was a pleasant place to spend the day, and visitors were encouraged to dig for souvenirs in the old Chumash burial sites that were nearby. Picnickers from Santa Barbara had lovely two hour cruise to the landing, where they changed into their suits in a shed on the end of the pier. One visitor recalls, "... A boy made a run across the wharf and jumped out and down to the soft sand, a drop of six or eight feet. This was something new to us, so for a half an hour, we had a competition to see who could jump the furthest."

Disaster struck More's landing on March 20, 1889 when a sou'easter wrecked most of the wharf, including the warehouse, which contained 44 tons of lima beans. The landing was rebuilt and continued in existence for some time after 1902, but by that time, the railroad had pushed through to the north in 1900. The Landing fell into disrepair, and was finally wiped out by a winter storm.

In the News~

August 25, 1874 [SBDP]: “The steamer California arrived here yesterday afternoon from San Francisco. She stopped at More’s Landing in this county on the way down, and took aboard 200 tons of wheat from 400 tons which were awaiting shipment. She brought 10 tons of freight for this place, and after discharging this, she steamed to Hueneme where she will pick up a large amount of grain, and then proceed to Santa Cruz Island, ship 3000 of the 10,000 sheep proposed to be sent to market, and then sail for San Francisco.”

January 19, 1876 [SBDN]: “The Star of Freedom left for More’s Landing today for a cargo of supplies for Santa Rosa Island.”

March 18, 1876 [SBDP]: “The schooner Annie Stoffer will sail this afternoon from Stearn’s Wharf for More’s Landing for a cargo of asphaltum.”

October 18, 1876 [SBDP]: “The schooner May Queen, loaded with beans and asphaltum from More’s Landing, came into this port yesterday, and will sail for San Francisco tomorrow.”

December 29, 1876 [SBDP]: “The three-masted schooner Uno sailed hence yesterday for More’s Landing where she will discharge the balance of her cargo.”

May 26, 1877 [SBDP]: “A rumor was circulated on the street this morning to the effect that the schooner Star of Freedom and More’s Wharf were burned and Captain Thomas and crew were drowned. The rumor, which is entirely without foundation, is supposed to have originated in the fact that Captain Mullett and men who had been catching sea lions arrived in one of the schooner’s boats, the schooner itself being becalmed on the other side of the lighthouse. Captain Mullett left the schooner this morning with captain and all hands in good health.”

January 15, 1878 [SBDP]: “More’s wharf at the Patera Landing is reported to be damaged to the extent of $7000 to $8000. A pile-driver and small engine of ten or twelve horse-power are supposed to have made a part of the loss.”

January 16, 1878 [SBDP]: “It is said that the wharf at More’s Landing was not in the least injured by the storm yesterday. This is very good news if true.”

January 17, 1878 [SBDP]: “In the storm’s track. The destruction among the fishing craft was general… More’s wharf had just been rebuilt and nicely fenced again, when the storm tore up the planking, broke the fenders and carried away some of the piles. On Wednesday morning the breakers were washing over the wharf from stem to stern.”

January 17, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Reliance went on the rocks day before yesterday at More’s Landing, was dashed to pieces, and heaved on the beach. There is not a piece of her left large enough for a decent back-log.”

January 17, 1878 [SBDP]: “Yesterday about three bents near the outer end of More’s wharf were carried away.”

January 24, 1878 [SBDP]: “More’s wharf has again been damaged by the high tide carrying away about 100 feet just outside the newly-built part.”

February 9, 1878 [SBDP]: “The destruction of or damage to the wharves at various roadsteads on our coast south of the Golden Gate, including… More’s Landing and Ventura, by the late storms, are serious misfortunes…”

March 28, 1878 [SBDP]: “Goleta. The grade to More’s Landing is being repaired.”

May 29, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Santa Cruz yesterday brought eighty-four more piles for the wharf. Work will be commenced as soon as the engine now in use on the wharf at More’s Landing shall have been brought down. The wharf at More’s Landing is expected to be finished any day.”

June 3, 1878 [SBDP]: “The new pile-driver, for use in building the wharf, is in process of construction. The engine from More’s Landing is expected down tomorrow, and soon the wharf will begin to work its way out to join its severed head.”

August 13, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Santa Cruz passed up last night without stopping. She will go to More’s Landing and take a load of grain there for San Francisco.”

December 3, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Alma is expected tonight from More’s Landing, in charge of Deputy Marshal Donellan. She left several days since for San Francisco in charge of some parties who abandoned her at More’s Landing. A writ of attachment was got out, and she will probably remain here in charge of the Constable.”

April 22, 1879 [SBDP]: “The new schooner Santa Rosa with a sheep shearing outfit sailed from More’s Landing this morning for Santa Rosa Island.”

May 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “The oil that covers the ocean for miles off More’s Landing is said to be more extensive this year than ever before.”

July 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa sailed from More’s Landing to Santa Rosa Island today.”

September 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa, belonging to the More Brothers, has gone to Santa Rosa Island to load with wool for More’s Landing.”

November 4, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa sailed for More’s Landing yesterday afternoon.”

November 4, 1879 [SBDP]: “Mr. E. C. Durfey yesterday shipped 450 hogs to San Francisco from More’s Landing.”

November 20, 1879 [SBDP]: “On Wednesday of last week the schooner Santa Rosa, belonging to the More Brothers, narrowly escaped being wrecked during the gale which prevailed outside of the islands. She parted her chain cable and was rapidly drifting onto the rocks, but sail was got on her in time to enable her to beat off shore and keep away for More’s Landing.”

December 1, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa left here yesterday morning for More’s Landing, from which place she will take a load of supplies to Santa Rosa Island.”

January 8, 1881 [SBDP]: “A pile-driver will soon be at work on More’s Landing wharf, inured by the last storm.”

March 15, 1881 [SBDP]: “Supervisor’s Proceedings… the following license tax be, and the same is hereby fixed on the several wharves, as follows… More’s Wharf $5…”

October 19, 1881 [SBDP]: “The Bonito will arrive this afternoon for seventy-five hogs, thence will go to More’s Landing for miscellaneous freight.”

May 4, 1882 [SBDP]: “The Gipsy sailed from More’s Landing with hogs yesterday morning.”

June 13, 1882 [SBDP]: “The schooner Hueneme, Captain Elliott, arrive in port Sunday, having made a very successful nine days’ run from Pugeot Sound. She is laden with pine lumber and piles for Santa Rosa Island, and for More’s wharf at Goleta, also with a full supply of lumber for Gorham & Co.”

August 25, 1882 [SBDP]: “The Constantine will call at Carpinteria for flax, and at More’s Landing for miscellaneous freight.”

August 11, 1883 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King sailed this morning for the islands touching at More’s Landing to take on a party of pleasure seekers from Goleta.”

August 13, 1883 [SBDP]: “The sloop Ocean King returned this morning after two days' cruise. Captain Larco landed the slickest cargo of pleasure seekers at More's Landing that ever went forth on the briny. Ten stalwart Grangers of Goleta, and all sick. No fun in the party.”

August 23, 1883 [SBDP]: “The Bonita is due at More’s Landing for freight. She is on her way to Ventura.”

November 9, 1883 [SBDI]: “The beautiful lines of the Ocean King will be missed from the waters of the channel for awhile as Captain Larco has taken it to More’s Landing to be renovated.”

November 20, 1883 [SBDP]: “The Bonito will take on 30 tons of freight at More’s Landing tomorrow noon.”

December 20, 1883 [SBDI]: “The Duncan proceeded to More’s Landing at an early hour this morning to load hogs.”

February 23, 1884 [SBDP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa set sail today for More’s Landing, where she will take a cargo of asphaltum for San Francisco.”

April 7, 1884 [SBDI]: “Twenty tons of freight awaits shipment at More’s Landing.”

January 5, 1885 [SBDI]: “The schooner Santa Rosa goes to More’s Wharf in a day or two to load asphaltum for the San Francisco market.”

May 29, 1886 [SBDI]: “Schooner Santa Rosa arrived from More’s wharf last evening.”

May 12, 1888 [SBDI]: “The steamer Wilmington touched at More’s Landing today for freight shipped to San Francisco.”

June 17, 1891 [SBMP]: “The sloop Liberty arrived from San Miguel Island at 2:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon. She started for the island Saturday to bring over Miss Mabel Guild. On the way back, the Liberty stopped at More’s Landing, and Miss Guild came to this city overland. She arrived home in time to attend her father’s funeral.”

July 19, 1893 [SBDI]: “The four-masted schooner Elizabeth Zane is at More’s wharf, Goleta, discharging a cargo of poles for the telephone company.”

August 22, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “Trying experience of a couple of men in a sailboat. After three days and two nights without food, William Bates and George Culbertson arrived last night on the stage from El Capitan. They left Gaviota on Sunday morning for this city, and were becalmed in the afternoon near More’s Landing. They laid there for awhile and then got in their small boat and rowed as long as they could, towing the sailboat. They dared not land, as the coast was too rocky in that vicinity, and on Saturday evening a strong southeast gale came up. They took in one sail and the other was blown away. They then dropped anchor and, overcome by exhaustion, laid down and went to sleep. During the night they drifted about twelve miles up the coast, dragging their anchor, and on Monday morning they left the boat and rowed ashore in the little boat, making El Capitan, where they awaited the stage. Charles Bates and Harold Doulton started this morning with the launch Chispa to bring back the sailboat.”

September 6, 1894 [SBDI]: “The steamer Bonita arrived this morning about 4 o’clock… She then left for More’s Landing where she took on about fifty piles for Santa Rosa Island.”

November 13, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “A southeaster has been prevailing all afternoon, accompanied with dust. This is the storm that was brewing yesterday, and caused the capsizing of the Chinese junk, Chromo, which was on the way to the Hollister estate at Gaviota with a load of lumber. The junk capsized off More’s Landing. At the time of the accident there was one man on deck and two below asleep. Fortunately they escaped drowning…”

November 13, 1895 [SFCall]: “More's Landing Disaster. Loss of a heavily laden Chinese junk and its cargo. Santa Barbara, Cal., Nov. 12. — A Chinese junk, the Chromo, under command of Captain Lars, which sailed from this port laboring under a heavy deck load of lumber for the Hollister ranch, which she was to deliver at Gaviota, capsized off More's Landing, some seven miles up the coast. The cargo was a complete loss. The fate of the junk is not yet known, but the master and crew escaped with their lives. One of the men was so chilled and exhausted that he very nearly perished.”

December 11, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “While anchored off More’s Landing, about ten miles from Santa Barbara, the Petrel, the finest sailing craft in the channel, broke its anchor chain and narrowly escaped being totally destroyed. ..”

February 1, 1901 [SBDI]: “A sailing party will be given Sunday afternoon by Earnest Robbins to a number of his friends. A cruise will be taken up to More’s Landing and back.”

June 25, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “While fishing in the bay about a mile from More’s Landing, a party of young men came upon the body of Mrs. Sadie Benson who disappeared from this city about three weeks ago. It is supposed she committed suicide by jumping off the wharf, although the Coroner’s jury returned a verdict of simple drowning in the Santa Barbara Channel. No marks of violence were found upon the remains, which were much decomposed. The funeral was held yesterday afternoon.”

September 17, 1902 [SBMP]: “The schooner Mildred E, Captain Prescott, sailed for More's Landing yesterday, whence she will go to Santa Rosa Island. The Mildred E. carried a group of sheep shearers.”

September 17, 1902 [SBMP]: “Mr. and Mrs. H. F. R. Vail and Mr. Walter Vail and family of Los Angeles leave for a camping trip on Santa Rosa Island today. The party will sail from More's Landing and will be gone several days.”

October 23, 1906 [SBMP]: “Captain George Gourley and Arthur C. Greenwell gather in 170 fish in two hours. Captain George Gourley and Arthur C. Greenwell on the launch Nina yesterday smashed all fishing records to a thousand pieces. In two hours trolling they brought in 132 barracuda, 28 bonito, and 18 yellowtail. This was on a run between More's Landing and the lighthouse.”

May 1, 1907 [SBMP]: “The yacht Vishnu, Captain T. H. Merry, is now in much demand. Judge Max C. Sloss, Henry Ehrlick, both of San Francisco, and Louis Hecht of Boston, enjoyed a pleasant outing on the Vishnu trolling for game up coast as far as More's Landing.”

February 14, 1908 [SBMP]: “There are complains against four others [crawfish poachers] Scattered up the coast from More's Landing to Point Conception.”

January 24, 1912 [SBMP]: “The old wharf at More’s Landing, Goleta, is fast disappearing, the warehouse at the outer end has been removed, and no effort has been made to keep the pier in repair. Before the coming of the railroad, More’s Landing was the shipping point for the entire Goleta Valley, but for some years no steamers have stopped there.”