Long a refuge for bootleggers and hobos, Tecolote Canyon was engulfed by an industrialized oil boom for twenty years beginning in the 1930s, and endured the only Japanese attack on the contiguous U.S. during World War II. In the postindustrial era, the lower canyon was a haven for surfers, nudists, and gravediggers before being transformed into a five-star resort in the 1990s. But this beautiful area of California’s Santa Barbara coast has been occupied by humans for at least 9,000 years.
Known by the Chumash Indians as Hel’apunitse (guitar fish), the canyon was a major nexus of Chumash village life from about 2000 to 500 years ago. After the arrival of Europeans, the canyon passed from Chumash hands through successive Spanish, Mexican, and American administrations.
In A Canyon through Time, the authors summarize the deep history of this beautiful canyon, which serves as a fascinating history in microcosm of the California coastal region. Using data from archaeology, ecology, geology, geography, and history, they weave an interdisciplinary tale of the natural and human prehistory and history of the Tecolote Canyon area.