Once a Don…

Santa Barbara High School (“Home of the Dons”) was founded in 1875 and is the third oldest high school in California. By 1916, the School Board realized that it needed a new school, and beginning in 1922 a school bond was passed. Sauter and Lockard Architects were hired, and ground was broken on the 40-acre site bounded by Anapamu, Canon Perdido, Nopal and Olive streets. Placing the school on the knoll of the property and surrounding it with lower-lying sports fields allowed the architects to create a commanding structure that did not overpower its immediately adjacent residential neighbors. Sauter and Lockard, having a sufficient budget to employ a first-class architectural solution, developed a relatively simple “U” shaped plan of classrooms surrounding a basilica-inspired auditorium. The façade of the school is composed of large windows thoughtfully placed on the otherwise understated classroom wings with great emphasis placed on the entry (seen here), with its highly decorated carved stone surround. The school was built several years before the earthquake and undoubtedly helped provide a stylistic anchor for the Spanish Colonial revival that was soon to take over the downtown. This was the only high school in the Goleta/Santa Barbara area until 1958 when San Marcos was built – obviously emerging during a different period of architectural style, and budgetary constraints.

Santa Barbara High School has graduated a number of world famous individuals including: Martha Graham (1913) dance; John Northrop (also 1913) aviation; Charles Schwab (1955) stockbroker; Gary Hart (1961) education and politics; and Karch Kiraly (1978) three-time Olympic gold medalist volleyball player. As these famous individuals, and all students of SBHS know, Once a Don, Always a Don…