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Summerland was founded in 1889 as a Spiritualist colony.  The new residents built a temple where they held séances and contacted spirits, assisted by mediums who could communicate with departed friends and relatives.

The peaceful community’s serenity was threatened when oil was discovered.  In 1894 oil was discovered and within a few years a multitude of offshore oil wells rose on piers jutting out into the Santa Barbara Channel.  The Summerland oil field had an early peak in production followed by a precipitous decline. A severe winter storm in 1903 destroyed many of the flimsy wooden derricks on the wharves and beach, and by 1906 most of the oil production had ended.

In 1951 Highway 101 was expanded into a freeway, wiping out the original business district on Wallace Ave, and cutting off the town’s access to the beach.   In the 1960’s the freeway was elevated, allowing an underpass at Evans Ave and reuniting the town. An influx of surfers, artists, and hippies joined the older residents, drawn by inexpensive housing and a casual life style.   Now only a handful of undeveloped lots are available, but homes (most with ocean views) are in great demand.

Summerland Real Estate

Today, Summerland is a quaint little seaside town reminiscent of a New England village nestled on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You won’t want to miss the many antique stores that line Lillie Ave, the main street of Summerland.   The local beaches provide recreation for swimmers, sun-bathers, horses and dogs. On weekends the streets bustle with visitors and antique hunters.  Local laid back restaurants like The Nugget, Tinkers and the Summerland Beach Café attract visitors and locals alike.

Summerland Photos

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