Skip to main content

W is for Wedding and Watching the Clock (Tower): A Free to See #AtoZ Challenge Post


The white Spanish-style Santa Barbara courthouse, with clock tower
I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twenty-third post in the series.

Although a county courthouse doesn't seem like a likely tourist destination, in Santa Barbara, California, it is one of the most popular places to visit. The nearly 100-year-old building boasts beautiful Spanish architecture, colorful tile accents, and detailed murals. Visitors to the open rooms are welcome--even during weddings. 

An interior room in the courthouse features tiles on the stairwell and walls, a round window with floral decor around it, and a large painting

A wedding takes place inside the courtroom
A highlight of the courthouse is the clock tower. Visitors can go up to the top of the tower for panoramic views. They also can enter (on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 10:45-12:05) the room that houses the workings of the clock. Even if the room isn't open on the day you visit, you can still view the clock from large windows in the stairwell. Being able to observe the clock workings in motion is a real treat. The clock chimes every 15 minutes, with the longest song playing on the hour.

The clock workings, complete with gears and rods
On the day that I visited, Dr. David Bismo, who is responsible in part for the clock gallery being open to the public, just happened to be in the room at the same time I was. He explained the history of the room, from the murals on the wall which explain how time has been understood throughout the ages, to the ceiling that shows how the constellations appeared at the time of the discovery of Santa Barbara by the Europeans, to the clock itself. He even pointed out that the seemingly heavy bells that appear to be struck every fifteen minutes are actually made of Styrofoam, and the hammers trigger an electrical rendition of Westminster chimes. 

If you go to Santa Barbara, don't miss the county courthouse. It's definitely worth a stop! There is limited free street parking, or you can park in a public pay lot across the street. Admission to the courthouse and clock tower is free. 


Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Autumn Edition

It's autumn time, one of my favorite times of year.  I just couldn't leave this weekend as a one-post weekend.  

Ten Things of Thankful: Last Two Weeks

  Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, as viewed from an overlook I apologize for not commenting on your blog posts this past week; John and I took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park, leaving behind our computers and, to a large extent, cell phone service. We escaped the outside world and just spent time in nature. Though we have friends near Yellowstone (who we love to visit) we made this trip just about us, so please forgive us if we were nearby and didn't stop by. The crowds were minimal (though we did mask up whenever we passed someone on the trails) and we spent our days hiking, taking photos, and watching geysers erupt. Today, we are back home and back to work, and, in the case of my computer, back to old shenanigans like not letting me import my photos. (I was able to add the above photo by using blogger on my phone, but that isn't my preferred method.) I want to write about Yellowstone and have photos I want to share, but will leave that for another

Monday Mentions: Equate Crutches

Have you ever needed crutches? I hadn't, until a week ago.  I'm pretty sure I strained a muscle while running a half-marathon.  (That sounds kind of cool, doesn't it? I'm not actually that cool; the last time I strained a muscle it was from carrying too many shopping bags at once.) In any case, I found myself in need of some crutches. I sent my husband to the store to get some. Photo: A pair of crutches leans against a wall  Not that crutches are all that complex, but because I hadn't used any before, I wondered if I could figure out how to adjust them to fit me properly. I shouldn't have worried. John came home from Walmart with their generic store brand of crutches, complete with instructions. First, I needed to take out a long bolt that went through the hand grip. Then I needed to find my height range, push down two metal pieces, and slide the crutches until the little metal pieces came up in the hole near my height range. (Having two people for this