Oct. 21, 2004 - Ed takes the High Road
We didn't fool no-one-no-way in yesterday's where-is-it contest. You see, a lot of our dedicated subscribers are runners and bikers who have often raced and trained on this beautiful stretch of winding road. As they climb the hill from the Mission toward Highway 192, they have had plenty of time to ponder this 20-foot high retaining wall and its triangular buttresses. Yesterday all that sweat and toil paid off - they were able to correctly answer the question in the Edhat daily contest.
For those of you who don't ride your bikes behind the Riviera, or run the Pier to Peak race, the picture was taken on Mountain Drive.
Specifically, it was taken just up the from the Mission, past that really scary intersection where cars are forced to make 180 degree turns into on-coming traffic, and just before Tremonto Road.
The wall on the right is just about the prettiest wall you could ever see. Perhaps if Pyramus and Thisbe had a wall as beautiful as this, things would have turned out better. And speaking of walls - how 'bout them Red Sox!
Back to the wall (pun intended), it is composed of coldwater sandstone, so named because it was quarried in Mission, Cold Springs and Rattlesnake Canyons. It is a hard stone, grayish-white in color and weathers to a buff color. It is described as 'tenacious, sustaining as great a weight as iron'. The sandstone that was quarried here used to be shipped all over California.
Italian, English and Scottish stonemasons constructed most of the stone walls around Mission Canyon and Montecito.
It is the Italian stonemason's "free-form" work that stands out on the Riviera. Their style tended toward broken ashlar (using irregular shapes) and random ashlar (patterns made up of cut stones that fit together, but are not in rows.).
The wall near Mission Canyon Road has a date of 1891 on the mountain side. The wall in the picture is 1.75 miles long. It was built on the Clarence Black Estate ("El Cerrito") by two Italian stonemasons, John Antolini and Antonio Da Ros. The estate is now home to the Marymount Campus.
Interestingly, Antonio Da Ros' son today owns Santa Barbara Stone Company.
So, who won yesterday's contest? Well, the Boston Red Sox, of course. But, if you're talking about the Edhat daily contest, we had lots of people to pick between.
Although lots of people knew where it was, some of them called the road Mission Ridge Road instead of Mountain Drive, and some of them only described it as above Rocky Nook Park. We only accepted people who actually gave us the correct name of the road - and there were 61 of them.
We wrote all 61 names on post-its and stuck them on a wall. Then we took one of our felt pens and threw it. The pen struck the name SpoilSport who was declared the winner of an Edhat t-shirt and 2 tickets to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The museum has exhibits that will challenge your skills of perception, judgment, and proportion. But really, if you want to look at something just plain pretty, you should take a drive, walk, run, or bike ride down Mountain Drive to see one of the most scenic places in town.
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