“Santa Barbara is truly an all-year vacationland,” gushes this brief booklet from 1954. “Its temperature of 60 degrees (24-hour average throughout the year) is a delight to everyone.” Naturally, the best way to get there was on the Coast Daylight.
In 1954, Santa Barbara had not acquired the cachet that it has today. Median home prices were about 50 percent greater than the national average, whereas today–thanks to local land-use restrictions–they are more than four times the national average. This has given the city an appearance of exclusivity even though median incomes are only about 50 percent greater than the national average (the same as they were in the 1950s).