Carlo came from near Milan, Lonate Pozzolo, in 1882. He became a rancher and grew lima beans, hay, walnuts, later lemons and avocados. They also had a small vineyard & winery in the area between Fairview and Los Carneros
Source: Goleta Historical Notes, Fall 1993, Vol 8, published by the Goleta Valley Historical Society.
The following is an oral history of Carlo Bottiani (grandson of the 1882 Carlo) by Jeannette Shaar Deconde
Carlo Spezzibottiani left Italy in 1882 in a ship bound for Panama, looking for work in the US. He crossed the isthmus on foot, contracted malaria, and found his way to San Francisco, where he performed a variety of work. He ended up on Santa Cruz Island, tending sheep (and always hated mutton after that!) Finally he found work at the Goleta ranch of Sherman P. Stow, and saved every penny he made.
His wife, the former Maria Miratti, followed him, and in Goleta they had 4 children, Elisa, Nina, Angelo (father of this narrator), and Luigi. They were able to buy 38 acres of land from Stow in 1892 for $1400. The ranch had very little water (no water rights) so they had to conserve, use a well that only sometimes had water, and use water “graciously provided by Stow.” Their small house was still standing near La Patera Ranch in 1966, at the site of Hughes Kennels. More property was later bought nearby, near Knapp Nursery.
The children attended La Patera Grammar School and worked on the farm/ranch as a hand or bookkeeping, or at a local grocery store. Nina served on the Goleta School Board in 1927, responsible for building the Goleta Union School, now the Goleta Community Center. Angelo married a neighbor’s daughter, Mary Ceriale. They lived in a small house near the current Wells Fargo Bank on Fairview Avenue.
Angelo and Mary’s son, Carlo, remembers working at the ranch, attending Goleta Grammar School, La Cumbre Jr. High, and S.B. High. It was all farmland near his home in Goleta, with 2 grocery stores, 1 butcher shop, gas stations, and the Alberta Café. Carlo’s first job, on the ranch, at age 7, was catching gophers, and Grandpa paid him 5 cents for each tail, a good price during the Depression years! Gophers could easily and quickly destroy crops and orchards, so this work was vital.
Summers were spent at Goleta beach, dammed up creeks for swimming, hiked up the mountains, and played pinball machines at the Alberta Café. Kids walked, rode bikes, or took the bus everywhere.
Carlo was in high school, when WWII started. In February 1942, while listening to one of Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, the family heard some explosions. They looked toward the ocean and saw a flash of lights from the guns of a Japanese submarine firing at an oil tank near the area where the Sandpiper Golf Course is now located. The family could not see the submarine itself, but because they were on double-daylight savings time, but many other people did. Neighbors formed the Home Guard the next day to be ready!
The Airport was taken over by the Marine Corp, and USO dances were held at the Goleta Union School, now the Community Center.
During the war, workers from the German POW Camp at El Capitan were recruited and trucked in to help on the local farms. Carlo remembers that these men seemed “just like us guys” and were happy to be fed and occasionally rewarded with a cigarette ration. Young Carlo, after serving in the Merchant Marines, later the army, and as an M.P. for some major Japanese war criminals during their trial in Tokyo, returned to Santa Barbara to attend the State College on the Riviera and a short time at the University of Colorado studying accounting.
In 1952, he joined his family in the farming business. His grandfather, Carlo, had died in the early 40’s, but his 2 sisters live on the land. The family owned 5 parcels of land, raising walnuts, lima beans, avocados, or lemons. The properties were near these current locations: Mentor Corporation, More Mesa, and Knapp Nursery, Carlo married Nancy Atkins in 1954 and they had 3 children.
Farming was changing, land was becoming more valuable, especially after Cachuma and available water. Modern farming techniques changed the way farming was done and it was hard to compete. The Bottiani’s decided to diversify and manage their own property. In 1960 they joined forces the Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett ( of Sambo’s) and built the Blue Ox Restaurant, (later Sizzler), and then several commercial areas, which Carlo and his children managed as Bottiani Properties.
If you would like to read more of Carlo Bottiani as he recounts his memories about growing up the Goleta area, see Goleta Historical Notes, by the Goleta Valley Historical Society, Volume 8 Falll 1993, in the Santa Barbara Genealogical Society’s Sahyun Library,
Insert scan of Carlo Bottiani, p 198, “Goleta the Good Land.” By Walker A. Thompkins, 1966
Insert scans of pictures from Goleta Histrical Notes, Goleta Valley Historical Society, Volume 8, 1993.
- Carlo and Maria Bottiani, p 20, 1944
- Angelo and Mary Bottiani, p. 25, 1926
- Carlo E. and Nancy Bottiani in 1990, p27