Buellton is located on US Highway 101 in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. Buellton has an estimated population of 4,552. Within a six mile radius are four picturesque villages: the Danish City of Solvang; the western town of Santa Ynez; and the quaint rural communities of Ballard and Los Olivos. Larger cities in the area include Santa Barbara, 40 miles to the southeast via US 101; Santa Maria, 35 miles to the north on US 101; Lompoc, Vandenberg Air Force Base and Vandenberg Village, 17 miles to the west along State Highway 246. Los Angeles is two hours south of Buellton on US 101, and San Francisco is about a five hour drive north on US 101 or scenic Highway 1.
Buellton was incorporated on February 1, 1992 and operates under a five-member City Council, five-member Planning Commission, five member Parks and Recreation Commission and City Manager form of government. The City adopted a general plan and also established a Redevelopment Agency for a project area of about 180 acres in November 1993. The City Council members also serve as members of the Redevelopment Agency, and the City Manager holds the title of Executive Director of Redevelopment. City Council meetings are held at 6:00 PM on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month in the Council Chambers at 140 West Highway 246. Redevelopment Agency meetings are convened immediately following the council meeting adjournment. Planning Commission meetings are held at 6:00 PM on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the same hearing room. Parks & Recreation Commission meetings are held at 6:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month in the same hearing room.
The City of Buellton is served by the following utilities:
- Southern California Gas Company (Natural Gas) (800) 427-2200
- PG&E (Electricity) (800) 743-5000
- City of Buellton (Water and Sewer Services) 686-0137
- Health Sanitation Services of Santa Maria (Trash) 922-2121
- Valley Recycling (Recycling) 688-7456
- Comcast Cablevision (Cable Television) 688-5210
- U.S. Postal Service (Buellton Post Office) at home mail delivery or post office boxes 688-5118
Buellton enjoys a Mediterranean coastal climate with mild, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Typical summer temperatures are in the 80s and winter temperatures hover in the 60s. Winter lows are generally in the 30s with an occasional frosty dip below freezing. Yearly precipitation averages about 13 inches between the months of November and March. Storms usually come from the northwest during the winter months. Our air quality is exceptional and offshore afternoon winds from the northwest occur throughout the year. “Santa Ana” winds also occur during the fall and winter. These are warm, dry northeasterly winds of 15-20 mph. The City of Buellton is 360 feet above sea level.
Buellton's ten hotels and motels, with a total of 544 rooms, provide guests with a wide range of accommodation choices. For visitors who prefer campgrounds or RV travel, Flying Flags RV Park and Campground, and Rivergrove Mobile Home Park are ready to serve their needs. The Buellton area has a virtual smorgasbord of dining choices with a total of 17 restaurants.
Local air transportation needs are served by the 160-acre Santa Ynez Airport located just 7 miles east of Buellton on Highway 246. The Santa Ynez Airport has a 2,800 foot lighted runway that can accommodate DC-3's. Commercial airports include the Santa Barbara Airport located 40 miles southeast of Buellton on US 101 and the Santa Maria Airport located 35 miles north on US 101. Many local citizens commute to the surrounding areas for employment and there is a wide array of public and private buses and van pools transportation alternatives. In addition, the Santa Ynez Valley Transit system operates buses with regular routes and stops throughout the valley.
The climate and geography of the Santa Ynez Valley makes it a prime region for many agricultural operations. Horse and cattle ranches blanket the hills throughout the valley. There are also some very unique animals raised in the valley, including miniature horses, longhorn cattle, llamas, emus, ostriches, and mules. The most common crops raised in the Santa Ynez Valley include beans, squash, alfalfa, oat hay, and cauliflower for seed. In addition, almost 10,000 acres of the valley are lush vineyards. Over 30 wineries are located within a 15 mile radius of Buellton.
The Buellton Union School District has two elementary schools serving the Buellton area. Jonata Elementary School is at 301 Second Street and serves Kindergarten, and 4th through 8th grades. Oak Valley Elementary School is at 595 2nd Street and serves 1st through 3rd grades. The School District Superintendent is Tom Cooper. The Principal for both campuses is Jan Clevenger. Both can be reached at (805) 688-4222.
The Santa Ynez Valley Joint Union High School serves all five of the local communities and is located six miles east of Buellton. Zaca Center is a preschool and after school day care center for children operated by the County of Santa Barbara and located at 24 Six Flags Circle in Buellton. The Presbyterian Church near Ballard also operates a child day care center as well as a senior day care center.
Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital is located in Solvang with complete emergency and general services. There are four medical clinics in the valley, including the Buellton Medical Clinic, offering both appointments and Urgent Care walk-ins. The Solvang Lutheran Home and Friendship House both provide care for seniors. American Medical Response ambulance service operates out of Buellton with easy access to the 101 freeway, as well as local communities.
The Santa Ynez Valley News is the local weekly newspaper that covers and services the entire Santa Ynez Valley. You may contact the paper for a publication at (805) 688-5522. Other newspapers serving the local subscribers include the Santa Barbara News Press, Lompoc Record, and Santa Maria Times. Buellton has a public library located at 140 West Highway 246. The Santa Ynez Valley Senior Citizens Foundation operates the Buellton Senior Center at 164 West Highway 246 in Buellton. There are three churches within the City of Buellton, and many more scattered throughout the Valley. One of the most notable is the historic Old Mission Santa Ynez in Solvang.
|Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
||A Santa Barbara County Park
HC 59 - Highway 154
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Fax: (805) 686-5075
|Nojoqui Falls Park
||Nojoqui Falls is 1 & 1/2 miles east of Highway 101 near Gaviota Pass
From Highway 101, take the Old Coast Road to Alisal Road
From Solvang, follow Alisal Road south to the park
|Oak Park in Buellton
||401 Sycamore Drive
(northwest corner of Sycamore Drive and Second Street) Open
|PAWS Park in
|568 Dawn Drive
|River View Park in Buellton
||151 Sycamore Drive
(south end of Sycamore Drive, just south of Meadow View Drive) Now Open!
River View Park Reservation Map
River View Park Reservation Application
|Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden at River View Park in Buellton
||151 Sycamore Drive
Some History Behind the City of Buellton
1920 is the year that the last of the five towns of the Santa Ynez Valley was established, Buellton. However, looking back into the history of the area, the Buell Ranch was a complete town within itself as far back as 1875. By that date R.T. Buell had established a general store, a post office, bunkhouses, blacksmith shop and family homes.
R.T. Buell was born in Essex, Vermont on November 12, 1827 to Linus and Hannah Buell, his forbearers coming from England many years before. R.T. grew up on a farm, learning all the trades, as well as receiving a good education, as he attended Oberlin College in Ohio for three years.
In 1850 he traveled to Kentucky to teach at the Pine Grove Academy, near Columbia. Being in a southern community in the years before the Civil War, R.T. learned first hand about the conflict of ideology between states.
In 1853 the reports of the discovery of gold in California convinced R.T. to try his luck in the far west, so he returned to Essex to say goodbye to his family. He boarded the Yankee Blade in New York for the long trip around Cape Horn to San Francisco.
After 100 days of ocean travel the steamer arrived in San Francisco, and with 54 cents in his pocket, R.T. headed for the gold fields at Bidwell's Bar.
Mining was hard work, and not every one struck it rich, so by 1856 R.T. was farming the bottom lands of the Feather River in Sonoma County. Farming was his first love, and came natural to a son and grandson of farmers.
A year later, in 1857, R.T. started a successful dairy farm with 13 cows at Point Reyes, in Marin County. Eight years later he moved to Monterey County, near Salinas, and opened a dairy farm there with 800 cows. While there, R.T. also edited a newspaper.
During these years his brother, Alonzo Wilcox Buell, arrived in California, having traveled the overland route. The two brothers decided to buy land further south that they had seen advertised in a local paper. The land that was for sale was located in the Santa Ynez Valley, and was a Mexican land grant owned by Jose Maria Covarrubias and Joaquin Carrillo of Santa Barbara.
The winter of 1864 and 1865 had been very dry, forcing many farmers to sell off land to their creditors. It was this land that interested the Buell brothers, The Rancho San Carlos de Jonata, some 26,000 acres of land, and they purchased a quarter of the Rancho.
With interests in Salinas and Rancho San Carlos doing well, R.T. traveled back to Vermont where he married his cousin, Helen Goodchild, in 1867. Their son, Linus, was born in 1868, the first of five children born to the Buells, but the only to survive to majority.
By 1872 R.T had bought the entire Rancho, and dissolved the partnership with his brother Alonzo. Alonzo then purchased the Rancho El Capitan, from the heirs of Capt. Jose F. Ortega.
The Rancho San Carlos de Jonata covered more than 26,000 acres, from the west to mission Santa Ynez, from the middle of the Santa Ynez River on the south to Zaca Station (north on Hwy 101). The land grant had been issued to Jose Covarrubias and Joaquin Carrillo on September 18, 1845 by Governor Pio Pico, last Mexican Governor of California. Covarrubias and Carrillo used the land only for raising cattle, but R.T. had other plans for the extensive property. The Buell ranch became a model of a fine working ranch, as R.T. had the ability to operate a prosperous horse and cattle ranch and dairy farm. Buell Flat, to the East, grew wheat and other grains on 4,200 acres. To keep the horse and cattle under control, R.T. had constructed 40 miles of board fencing for the ranch, an unheard of thing for those days. Lumber was expensive and other costs were very high.
The San Carlos de Jonata prospered, times were good until the drought of 1876-77, when again the rainfall was so scarce that very little grass grew to feed the stock. Trees were felled so animals could eat the leaves, branches, and even the moss.
R.T went into debt to bankers in San Francisco, so to pay his bills he sold the choicest part of the ranch to his creditors, the Buell Flat/Llano Grade.
By 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Buell had separated, with Helen Buell going to live in San Martin, California. R.T. married Miss Emily Budd in 1892, traveling to Bradford, Pennsylvania where she lived. Of this marriage five children were born, Rufus Thompson Jr., Walter, Odin, Glenn, and Gertrude.
R.T. Buell died in 1905 at the family farm at age 78. He was buried in the family plot, now the parking lot of Pea Soup Andersen's Hotel. His body was later moved to Oak Hill Cemetery, in Ballard.
The oldest son, Linus, continued to manage the ranch until the younger children reached majority. Then they each received a portion of the land, the once great Mexican Land Grant, the San Carlos de Jonata.
Another important family in the Buellton area is the de la Cuesta family, of Rancho La Vega. In 1853, Dr. Roman de la Cuesta and his wife Michaela Cota, the daughter of Francisco Cota, of Rancho Santa Rosa, built an adobe home on the south bank of the Santa Ynez River (near Highway 101). This adobe still stands. The home was built under great difficulty as there were no roads and the lumber that was not hewn on the property had to be brought over Gaviota Pass on the heads of oxen, as even oxen carts could not get through. The adobe home was 13 rooms, and is much as it was when first built.
Dr. Roman de la Cuesta, born in Spain, came to California in 1849. He purchased the Rancho La Vega in 1851. La Vega consisted of 8,000 acres and had belonged to Raimundo Carrillo.
The de la Cuesta's had a large family. Don Eduardo and his wife Eleva Pollard, a granddaughter of William Dana, lived in the family home after his parents. Eduardo and Eleva's daughters were early school teachers in the Valley. Son Samuel married a teacher, Eileen McCarthy, and they lived many years in the adobe on Alamo Pintado. Their daughter Elenita Merrill still resides in the Valley with her husband, King, and four children. Don Eduardo de la Cuesta was instrumental in getting Highway 101 routed through Buellton in 1927.
The area of Buellton began to change rapidly after the turn of the century, with more settlers coming to farm and start businesses. By 1911 Danish settlers were spilling over into the Buellton area, and there was a great need for a post office. William Budd opened a post office and it became an official United States Post Office in 1920.
Stores were being built on the main street of the community, and it was Anton and Juliette Andersen who bought a store from William Budd and opened a restaurant in 1924 called the Electrical Cafe. Juliette brought with her from her native France a recipe for pea soup, and this was the beginning of the now famous Pea Soup Andersen's restaurants.
Buellton has always been strategically located as the Gateway to the Santa Ynez Valley, feeding traffic north and south, east and west. In the 1930's Highway 101 was improved as more traffic used the road. In the 1940's Avenue of the Flags was an eight lane road through town, four lanes for local traffic, and four for north and south travel on the highway. In the early 1960's Highway 101 was moved to its current location, and Avenue of the Flags remains as the main street of Buellton.
Buellton became an incorporated city on February 1, 1992. Buellton operates under a five member city council and its form of government. Buellton currently has around 3,900 people, and hopes for more growth for the city.
Rufus Thompson Buell and Roman de la Cuesta, the first men to envision the prospects of the west end of the Valley, probably would not recognize their home today. Yet both were forward thinking people, knew the possibilities of this area, and would probably applaud what Buellton has become.
Compiled by Phyllis Lotz of the Buellton Historical Society
History Of Buellton Article: “What Can You Tell Me About The Origin Of Buellton?”
Article reprinted by permission of The Santa Barbara Independent, (c) 2004
|Rolling Hills Garden
|420 East Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427
||925 West Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427
|La Purisima Mission State Historic Park
||2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
|Phone: (805) 733-3713
Fax: (805) 733-2497
|Old Mission Santa Ines (The Santa Ynez Valley)
||1760 Mission Drive
P.O. Box 408
Solvang, CA 93464
|Phone: (805) 688-4815
Fax: (805) 686-4468
||420 2nd Street
Solvang, CA 93464
|Phone: (805) 922-8313