Archive » September 14, 2006
Eye on Montecito
By John Watson
Along the continuous coast running from the Aleutian Islands to the Strait of Magellan is a seemingly insignificant wiggle of land at the eastern end of Miramar Beach known as Fernald Point. In the early 1860s there were reportedly 200,000 head of cattle in Santa Barbara county, but by the end of the 1862-1865 drought, there were less than 5,000 head. This astronomical reduction of the herd was accomplished at a slaughterhouse on the western edge of Ortega Ridge. While the hides were successfully salvaged and some portions became hog feed, it is rumored that the unused remains were discarded in what became “Shark’s Cove.” Shark’s Cove is bounded on its western edge by Fernald Point and on the east by what is now Outlook Park in Summerland.
Charles Fernald Sr., was studying law in San Francisco in the 1860s when his house burned to the ground. In a nearly simultaneous fire, his place of employment also burned, so seeing the writing on the wall, he decided to leave San Francisco. He had developed friendships on the East Coast earlier in his life, so he boarded a boat to make the transit. Stopping in Santa Barbara just for an overnight stay, a friend persuaded him to become the County Sheriff. A few years later he was elected the District Attorney. After his stint as the DA, he opened his own law practice. Eventually he became Mayor of Santa Barbara. Fernald bought the Point in 1881 as an investment while he lived in his Queen Anne house in downtown Santa Barbara. Although his family owned the land into the early 1900s, Charles Sr., never lived at the Point.
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