It’s Now Official: The Miramar Has New Owner

As of 3 pm, Tuesday February 20th, Los Angeles-based commercial developer Rick Caruso is officially the new owner of the Miramar property. During a Friday afternoon, February 16 Meet & Greet at Montecito Hall, Caruso confessed he’d not only never met previous Miramar owner Ian Schrager, but that he’d never met Ty Warner either.

To learn more of what he and his 150-strong development team have in mind for the venerable but now-shuttered hotel & resort, read my dad’s report in “Coming & Going” beginning on page 16. In that column, you’ll also read of Caruso Affiliated’s plan to solicit anecdotes, artifacts, photos, postcards, letters, and other mementos from past and present residents, former hotel employees, guests, and others to launch a display they will call “Memories of the Miramar.” Many of the items collected will be on permanent display somewhere on the new Miramar property when it reopens, perhaps as early as Christmas 2010.

The Journal will be helping Caruso Affiliated gather these collectables. Please feel free to swing by our office at 1122 Coast Village Circle, and drop off any pictures, videos, or other memorabilia that you would like to contribute. Pictures that you may not want to part with will be scanned and returned. Otherwise, all other written memories can be sent to tim@montecitojournal.net and also to miramar@carusoaffiliated.com.

While we look forward to the unveiling of Caruso’s plans, we do so with some sadness. All of Ty Warner’s projects have been of the highest quality and no doubt had he gone ahead with his plans for the Miramar that too would have been at the same level. Putting Mr.Warner through a tortuous process prompted him to sell the Miramar. Citizens of Montecito have done a disservice to a good man. We trust the same fate will not befall Mr.Caruso and we wish him well.

It Was Forty-Nine Years Ago Today

Here are some random notes we thought you may enjoy, taken from the February 20th, 1958 issue of Montecito Ledger, one of our esteemed predecessors:

Ode to Montecito

by Gordon Duncan

Between the towering rampart of the mountains,

And the pounding breakers of the sea,

Lies a sylvan slope in the west,

That is a haven for me.

Far from the smog and the crowds of town;

Their hustle and bustle and frenetic strife;

The roar of the traffic and the blast of the horn.

Here I can just rest in quiet,

or live the good life.

The roads curve through the oak and the large sugar pine,

Past homesteads amply spaced and none in line,

Bathed in the warm sun of the mildest clime

A Place of response untouched by time, Montecito

Forty-nine years ago, you could have followed up on one of these ads: “For Rent: Unfurnished studio apartment $42.50. Also, 1-bedroom apartment for $52.50.” Local Grocery specials included: two pounds of bananas for 25 cents; four bars of “colored” Dial Soap for 49 cents, and P-Nut Butter at 25 cents per can; chicken was 69 cents a pound, and a three-year-old 1955 Chevy V-8 Carryall Station Wagon, in excellent condition, could be had for $1,100.

And, don’t think there were no societal problems to deal with. Here’s one “Letter to the Editor” that drew a response from the Gazette’s social editor: “Dear Ellen, I have a problem with very rough looking and feeling elbows and heels. Have you some tips that might help? I have a book on good grooming for teenager but it doesn’t have anything on this subject. Just sign me Fifteen.”

Ellen’s response? “… You simply cannot be sweet and feminine with rough elbows or skin. It is well worth the little effort to overcome this problem right away.”

Volunteer To Steer Big Bike Race Through Montecito On Saturday, Feb 24

The Amgen Tour of California bicycle racers will be speeding through Montecito this Saturday, entering from Cabrillo Boulevard, up Hot Springs Road to Sycamore Canyon, and along East Valley Road beginning around 11 am. This was an exciting event to behold last year – the event’s first – and we expect it will be again. Hundreds gathered alongside the route to cheer the bicyclists, and Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group volunteers expect to be on hand to help direct traffic. Anyone wishing to help in that effort are urged meet with MERRAG organizers in front of Village Hardware in the upper village at 10:30 am. For more information, e-mail Geri Simmons at: gsimmons@montecitofire.com or call 805-969-2537.