The 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake: The Californian Hotel

Opened just one week before the earthquake struck, the Californian Hotel, a four-story structure with long side walls of brick, was located half a block from the beach on a former marsh. The hotel was built with a shallow foundation, and the brick walls were not securely tied to the rest of the structure. Although this combination did not make for a sturdy structure, it did result in some great photographs after the earthquake.

No one was seriously injured in the Californian Hotel, but after the earthquake some of the occupants of the hotel found themselves, by virtue of doors stuck in twisted frames, unable to leave their rooms by the conventional route. Instead, they tied bed sheets together and lowered themselves to the street below. In doing so, there was no need to go through any windows (see the photographs).

The hotel was repaired with better construction techniques and is still in use today.


View #1 of the Californian Hotel (41 kb)
View #2 of the Californian Hotel (25 kb)

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