Amid the Saints of South San Roque

Four and a half years into Siteline, I’ve explored a lot of this part of the world, and yet there are still pockets where I’ve never set foot (or even wheel). Take the area west of Gelson’s, which I understand is considered south San Roque. (UPDATE 4/22: A longtime realtor says that it’s called San Roque Gardens.)

I parked in the Gelson’s lot and headed west on State Street. I wish some nomadic photographer would capture post offices across the land and compile the photos in a book. The San Roque Station isn’t architecturally remarkable, but the typography is fantastic.

And I paused to pay my disrespects to the spelling error at Broadmoor Plaza. Good enough for government work?

Did I ever mention that I’m an award-winning filmmaker? In college, I made a documentary short called The Sexual Karma of Laundromats. Having never spent time in laundromats, I found them fascinating. The film is pretty silly, the title is downright stupid (I liked how “karma” sounded and was too lazy to look up the definition), and the conversion to digital is awful, but I won third prize and $100 in the film department’s year-end contest!

Broadmoor Plaza and Richland Drive form a trident-shaped microneighborhood composed entirely of two-story rental apartment buildings. They feel similar to each other, but with differences here and there: some have names, some have pools, the stairs get treated in different ways, and so on. I didn’t see anyone during my time there, but a friend who works in commercial real estate later told me that overcrowding is a big issue, with multiple families living in one- and two-bedroom apartments.

I was amused and confused by McColm Manor, having come across an even less manorial building by that name while walking upper Oak Park.

These buildings on Broadmoor Plaza gave me a flashback to my grandparents’ apartment, which had a carport in the rear, along with a little storage closet that had a lot of soda pop in it. I can still hear my dad explaining that my grandparents grew up in the Depression. Funny what you remember, isn’t it?

For a part of town that doesn’t feel particularly old—I’d guess the buildings mostly date from the 1960s—it has terrific trees. And unlike much of Santa Barbara, there’s a mix; the Broadmoor Plaza cul-de-sac, for instance, has four different species in a row.


I’ve never been able to look at a bird of paradise the same way.

I have no idea what MOMISS means—a young woman from Missouri?—but it justifies a digression about the musician who goes by Momus. He’s weirdly unknown, given the quality of music he put out in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but his style of synth pop had gone out of fashion by then. There’s a jukebox musical to be made with his music, particularly the songs about love—which are not the same thing as love songs. If you like “A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24),” I’ll gladly recommend a dozen more.

Back on upper State Street, I took a photo of a magnificent stone pine, felt a brief calling to work at Motel 6, and wondered what some sidewalk graffiti might signify.

This is a rant I’ve been wanting to unload for a long time. What good is 15-minute parking? Granted, it’s rarely enforced, but still, what can you reliably get done in that time? Why not just make it an hour? I think the city is ripe for a major audit of the street parking limits, especially downtown, where there are 24-hour commercial loading zones nowhere near businesses that need them

The residential neighborhood off S. Ontare Road is a world of difference from the apartment zone to the east. As I turned onto San Pedro Lane, I passed a man smoking a cigarette, something you don’t see/smell much anymore. “Are you a realtor?” he asked. It’s true that I spend a fair amount of time with real estate agents. Could it be rubbing off?

There are no sidewalks, and nearly all the houses are single-story. And a lot of them are cute.

You wouldn’t want to block the boat.

San Pedro Lane turns into San Pablo Lane, but the feel is the same. (In the case of the second photo below, I think it’s the same.) The saintly street names made me realize that I have no idea who San Roque was named after. According to Wikipedia, Saint Roch was “a Majorcan Catholic confessor whose death is commemorated on 16 August and 9 September in Italy; he was especially invoked against the plague. […] He is a patron saint of dogs, invalids, falsely accused people, bachelors, and several other things.”

Here’s hoping the owner has a killer mustache.

This plant was putting on quite a display.

There are more cute houses at the intersection of S. Ontare and the eastern spur of San Pablo. The mix of architectural styles feels very San Roque.

Next up was Santa Maria Lane, which struck me as a little nicer, although anything would, compared to the truck parked on the lawn. Zillow’s valuations, for what they’re worth, bear that out.

April showers bring May flowers (or whatever).

I didn’t help myself to an orange…

…or a can of cat food, but I was tempted to take a rock.

I’m not sure who the sign is for, exactly, but I think that’s a possum, raccoon, and skunk.

Good luck with that tree swing….

All that rain we got earlier in the year wreaked some havoc on S. Ontare Road, but up the hill, on San Gabriel Lane, you get a nice mountain view. And once again, the houses mostly seem a notch nicer than on the streets lower down.

This one has a statement brooch.

Several are nearly overwhelmed by trees that must impact the light inside.

I love coming across topiary. Well done!

And here’s one of the female reproductive system!

San Gabriel Lane and San Jose Lane are at the top of the hill, so you also have views to the west. Highlights include a whole flock of birds of paradise and a community of birdhouses.

And this is a roofline style you don’t see very often. It’s called the Jughead.

S. Ontare Road turns into McCaw Avenue at the entrance to the Santa Barbara Golf Club. Golf isn’t my thing, at all, ever, but I did like this license plate, and I was surprised to see a foursome of bros listening to music while they played, which can’t possibly be comme il faut.

The problem with writing your initials on the ball is that everyone knows that you shanked it.

The views to the left are excellent, including from the Woodridge condo complex.

Next door to Woodridge is a vacant lot with what would seem to be old gateposts. Googling “barbcharloben” got me nowhere, while “M.C. Young” got me a lot of Young MC. Anyone know anything about what was once there?

I was afraid I’d have to walk on Las Positas Road, but then I noticed the path leading down to the Loreto Plaza parking lot, where there’s even a picnic table, presumably for breaks. It beats smoking out by the back door.


Walk With Me…

Downtown Santa Barbara
• The Gritty Glamour of the Funk Zone
• The Upper Upper East Is Busting Out All Over
• The Presidio: In the Footsteps of Old Santa Barbara
• Brinkerhoff, Bradley, and Beyond
• Mixing Business and Pleasure in East Beach
• It’s Only Milpas Street (But I Like It)
• The Haley Corridor Is Keeping It Real
• The Small Pleasures of Bungalow Haven
• Is There a Better Neighborhood for a Stroll Than West Beach?
• E. Canon Perdido, One of Downtown’s Best Strolling Streets

• Where the Eastside Meets the Lower Riviera

Oak Park / Samarkand
• The Side Streets and Alleyways of Upper Oak Park
• The Small-Town Charms of Samarkand

The Riviera
• Scaling the Heights of Las Alturas
• High on the Lower Riviera

Eucalyptus Hill
• On the Golden Slope of Eucalyptus Hill
• Climbing the Back of Eucalyptus Hill

San Roque
• Voyage to the Heart of the San Roque Spider Web

TV Hill / The Mesa
The Highs and Lows of Harbor Hills
↓↓↓ Walking in Circles in Alta Mesa
• West Mesa Is Still Funky After All These Years
• A Close-Up Look at TV Hill

Hidden Valley / Yankee Farm / Campanil
• Campanil is a Neighborhood in Flux
• An Aimless Wander Through Hidden Valley
• The Unvarnished Appeal of Yankee Farm

Hope Ranch / Hope Ranch Annex / Etc.
• A Country Stroll on El Sueno Road

• Out and Back on Ortega Ridge
• The Heart of Montecito Is in Coast Village
• Quintessential Montecito at Butterfly Beach
• Once Upon a Time in the Hedgerow
• Where Montecito Gets Down to Business
• In the Heart of the Golden Quadrangle
• Up, Down, and All Around Montecito’s Pepper Hill
• Montecito’s Prestigious Picacho Lane
• School House Road and Camphor Place

Summerland / Carpinteria
• A Stroll in the Summerland Countryside
• Admiring the Backsides of Beachfront Houses on Padaro Lane
• Whitney Avenue in Summerland

Goleta / Isla Vista
• A Tough Nut to Crack in Goleta
• Where the Streets Have Full Names
• The Past Is Still Present in Old Town Goleta
• Social Distancing Made Easy at UCSB


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Loved this particular meandering muse especially the Momus Complete History of Sexual Jealousy soundtrack. And the house with a “ Statement Broach”’made me spray my coffee. So good.

Erik Torkells

I was hoping you’d ask! Here’s a Spotify playlist and the list of tracks, if you prefer to listen some other way….

1. The Hairstyle of the Devil
2. A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)
3. How Do You Find My Sister?
4. The Gatecrasher
5. London 1888
6. Lucky Like St. Sebastian
7. The Homosexual
8. Bluestocking
9. Love on Ice
10. Enlightenment
11. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
12. Righthand Heart
13. Voyager
14. Shaftesbury Avenue
15. The Sadness of Things
16. Bishonen
17. The Hairstyle of the Devil (original version)


Hey that’s my neighborhood! Though I coined it San Broque, because we can’t afford to live between State and Foothill. Alas, it is not “entirely of two-story rental apartment buildings”. You likely saw but didn’t snap a picture of the front of San Felipe Plaza, yes, built in the early 60’s, not sure exactly which year they were converted to condos, but it happened. I know because I was desperate and dumb enough to buy an overpriced one in the fall of 2021, a few months after I was kicked out of my illegal rental unit of 8 years on the upper Riviera because yes, the owners were selling. The pipes are old, and the neighborhood is lively, rarely does a day go by without a plumber here or some sort of work going on. If not that, the cops are also called to the area quite frequently. Never a dull moment! One of the things I appreciate about it most is that it’s actually ethnically diverse!! I’m proud to say residents here contribute to the daily functioning of our community- of a few I know, we have a high school teacher, Santa Barbara Beautiful board member, UCSB coach, local stand up comedy promoter, restaurant servers, and lots of hourly skilled workers. Plus we can walk to SO MANY restaurants. The street parking is indeed, horrific. A night doesn’t go by when at least 6 cars are parked in the red throughout the trident. That reminds me I need to reach out to Mr. Friedman on city council about possibly repainting. Momiss is my neighbor, but I’ve yet to ask her the reason behind the plate.
I do that walk in reverse a few times a week. It’s lovely during the golden hour and sunset; also sunrise. There is a fantastic friendly orange cat who lives near the pink house with the red SUV. Come back again soon!


Very fun walk! I’ve lived here more than 4 decades and I look forward to your posts … uncovering unique neighborhoods unknown to me.

Steve York

As an early riser, I walk this area occasionally before dawn. Your great commentary and pictures brought to life many things I’ve seen ( and missed) in the dark. Keep up the great posts!