Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yesterday and Today: Military History at the Biltmore, Miramar and Mar Monte

A frequent reader passed on a brochure from which I offer these pictures of the Miramar, Biltmore and a room shot of "returnee" soldiers from the World War II era. It is a fascinating historical snapshot of Santa Barbara during a very different time of war. The Biltmore, Coral Casino, Miramar and Mar Monte were all military-related sites at the time and the Santa Barbara Cemetary was a military golf club.

These grand hotels cooperated with the Ninth Service Command which worked with soldiers returning from war in returning them to future service. There was medical and psychological testing and assistance available to soldiers but the main thrust of this effort was "rest and relaxation". Wives could even stay with these soldiers for the ten day stay at the Biltmore for $25.00 -- including meals and other expenses.

The brochure talks about a "Let's Be Normal" class that gives you, believe it or not, "the low down" on what normal reactions are when coming back home from war. It also goes into great detail of what is expected of a soldier when visiting Santa Barbara and interacting with civilians.

Clearly, soldiers were a welcome part of our community in that era. Something changed with the VietNam War where the policies of our country began to not be accepted by everyone and there began to be a disconnect which continues to this day of how those who choose military service are viewed in relation to our rather political feelings for or against whatever foreign policy requires the use of force.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating, Sara.

Good job!

Thanks for sharing.

Good timing for Military news of old.

12/02/2007 2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How refreshing. Thanks.

12/02/2007 5:16 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...


When I think of all the welcoming hospitality, the total cheerful community involvement--each and every citizen working so hard to give soldiers nothing but the best of Santa Barbara, and I compare that to what today's returning soldier receives from us as their "Welcome to Santa Barbara":"Arlington West" on our beaches on Sundays--a freebie from the Council, and this outrage moved around from campus to campus to stop ROTC, marches on State Street, "Don't let recruiters talk to my kid" parents, a city council that takes negative positions on the war, "baby killer" comments from over-revved protesters, and the pushy politics of getting homosexuels in the military and scouts out of public buildings, it must be sooooo depressing for our soldiers to see all this in a time of war and danger to the country. What a difference with WWII.

Each soldier that comes back now, must feel something quite different from our kids returning from WWII. Is it really because of a different war, or a different citizenry? Shame on Santa Barbara I'd say!

What positive thing has the Council or Mayor done to make our returning soldiers feel honored and welcomed?

Thank you for this post Sara. I know some soldiers here who will appreciate it.

12/02/2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for sharing this piece of Santa Barbara history. I didn't serve in the military, but have respect for those who set aside a regular life to work for our country and represent us well.

I've developed my thoughts about this through growing up in a navy town where the members of this military force were sent around the world for many military and non-military events no matter what administration is in the White House.

Go ahead and hate the war, but not the soldier.

12/02/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The council should be downright ashamed of themselves for charging a 10% "fee"( exceeding $100,000) for the boats who bring the Navy sailors ashore whenever a ship visits.

This is NOT supporting our troops. The council needs to stop this greedy and nasty practice right now!

Talk about unpatriotic! Talk about screwing the serviceman.

12/02/2007 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are cool old pictures. the world is nothing like that now. I'm glad to have a President that says to shop. The military is the biggest part of government if they don't care for their own they have churche. I don't know what the big deal is, there are only two million families in the military. They don't work for me, if they cool with their employer that's it. When you at school you don't like the recruiters either. When your brother come home and tells you they did kill babies you don't believe the lies anymore. Why wank on the memory of the dead guys. it about time to show the real body counts. Step out of your dream for a minut.

12/02/2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Nice find for these brochures.

$25 for 10 days nice lodging is fantastic Workforce housing!

As for another Anonymous above, I did not know that the Santa Barbara City budget needed to treat the United States Navy and U.S. Department of Defense as a charity that the Santa Barbara taxpayers and other waterfront fee-payers needed to subsidize.

12/02/2007 10:41 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

Do you really care about folks in the military this year? Put your pen to paper and send a few extra cards to a recovering soldier!

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Med Center
6900 Georgia ave NW
Washington DC

I have written 75 personal cards, with a message of thanks, appreciation and warm greetings. It is the least I could do, how about you?

12/03/2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Way to go Christine! Good for you.

How about inviting a local soldier to lunch?

12/03/2007 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christine -

Thanks for sharing the address to the recovering soldiers.

12/03/2007 8:33 PM  
Blogger O Pechanga said...

I spent my honeymoon at the Biltmore...27 years ago.. the balcony had a loquat tree...delicious fruit.

12/04/2007 2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christine, thank you for the address. I do what I can for current wounded. I'm dealing with problems of old over medicated Veterans everyday. It gets worse. Where are more charities for those guys? They are not all homeless, it's that they have unmet needs.

12/04/2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous I love Military & Vets...but here this: said...

Briefly, in context....

Remember when the VIETNAM WALL was here?

I enlisted the aid of "BARNEY B" who would NOT help until I convinced him I was a liberal and then he followed up my calls to CIty about charging $1,000 to local vets for permit to put the wall on the GRASS on Cabrillo.

You'll recall there were guards on the site 24/7 and were not allowed to ask for donations.

So, what did Barney do? OY!..

Gave the city a 'pass' when he replied to me his findings and then did a blurb in his column. He spouted city jargon....
$1,000 for the vets but NOT a dime for permit on the Arlington West use of beach every week.

So here we are with a 'nice' piece only for some to bring up the bad stuff. Well, this is fact, on record with Barney and I have his emails which still burn me up.

The City would NOT refund the money to the vets.

Meantime, THANKS again Sara for this particular Blog. A feel good story. Love it and I emailed to all military I know.

12/05/2007 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Let's call a spade a spade. Barney's in bed with the so-called "Veteran's for Peace." He has defended the outrage at every turn.

Barney doesn't have to play by objective "non-bias" rules. He's just a columnist.

He thinks he's Studs Terkel.

A don't agree with him on much--take Plaza de la Guerra for example. He doesn't even know its correct name. And spilt a lot of ink kicking King Carlos around.
Thank God his descendent told Chavez: "Shut Up."

12/06/2007 6:39 AM  
Anonymous December 7th Remembered said...

Not a mention re December 7th, a day that will live in infamy?

Where were all ye male patriots who spout about the past experiences but not a mention of Pearl Harbor Day?

I was raised to remember December
7th, 1941 and I was not even born yet. Well, from me, thank you to all those who fought and those who died to save this wonderful country. Wish today was like the
50's however. Oh, I'm female who had 8 male relativs who served in WWII. One at Pearl 12/7/41 who barely survived.

12/08/2007 1:13 AM  

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