Skip to main content

Mountain Drive Oral History Collection

Identifier: AR-2020-008
Mountain Drive Oral Histories
Mountain Drive Oral Histories

Scope and Contents

The Mountain Drive Oral History Collection contains thirty oral histories of people who experienced the early days of Mountain Drive, Santa Barbara's bohemian community. The collection originated as an advanced oral history course conducted during the summer of 1986. The success of the group project, and the feeing that it had only scratched the surface of a rich subject, caused the effort to be continued for six years. One of the envisioned outputs of the project was a publication on the history of Mountain Drive, but internal funding for the book was never realized. Twenty-two of the recorded oral histories were transcribed into electronic format using the first generation of personal computers. The collection also contains related materials such as photographs, news clippings, newsletters, an outline of the proposed publication, drafts of chapters, and project administration materials.

In 2021, an effort to improve access to the oral histories led to digitization of the audiocassettes, development of a website, and collecting of additional materials.


  • 1985 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head Archivist of the Gledhill Library.

Biographical / Historical

Bobby Hyde, born in 1900, a writer and son of a Santa Barbara artist, instigated the plan to create a community based on his desire to live an unconventional life. He purchased 50 acres of rugged land in the foothills above Santa Barbara and parceled out one acre lots to like-minded friends and relatives in the post-World War II 1940s and 1950s. The community was made up of writers, artists, teachers, musicians, naturalists, tradespersons, wine makers, free thinkers and their families.

Bobby Hyde's idealism fueled a communal spirit of neighbors helping each other build adobe homes, buy commodities in bulk, and grow their own food. With a sense of humor, Mountain Drive families developed annual traditions that inspired California folk customs such as the communal hot tub soak, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, early music revival, home wine making, and Santa Barbara's Summer Solstice parade.

The experiences and mythology of the Mountain Drive community have been documented in no less than six monographs, three dozen articles, two music albums, a major motion picture, a radio program, an oral history project, and a social media presence.


2 Linear Feet (2 record storage boxes)

48 Cassettes

51 Diskettes 5.25"

48 Gigabytes

47 Folder(s)

48 Photographic Prints

37 Negatives (Photographs)

1 Volumes (Lane, Mervin. 1985. Going to town. Santa Barbara, CA (P.O. Box 4513, Santa Barbara 93108): Sadhe Pub. [fiction])

Language of Materials



Mountain Drive, a residential enclave of free spirits located in the hills above Montecito, coalesced in the years following World War II. The driving force behind its formation was Robert McKee Hyde, known to all as Bobby. The spirit of the community was bohemian, a “live-and-let-live” feel that fostered a close-knit camaraderie. Community interaction often centered on a growing number of celebrations and festivals. Probably the best-known was the Wine Stomp, begun in 1952, in which the Wine Queen selected that year was joined in the large wine vat by neighbors to crush that season’s harvest. Two generations following development of the Mountain Drive community an advanced oral history class set out to record the personal memories of those who were part of Mountain Drive's early days as a Central Coast experiment in non-conformity.


The Mountain Drive Oral History Collection is arranged in four series:

1) Interviews, 1986-1992

2) Related Materials, undated

3) Manuscript, 1991

4) Administration, 1985-1991

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were transferred from the Santa Barbara Regional Oral History Clearinghouse.


Chiacos, Elias. 1994. Mountain Drive: Santa Barbara's pioneer Bohemian community. Santa Barbara, Calif: Shoreline Press.

Frankenheimer, John, Edward Lewis, Lewis John Carlino, Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph, and David Ely. 2014. Seconds. [DVD]

Hyde, Robert. 1960. Six more at sixty. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

Lane, Mervin. 1985. Going to town. Santa Barbara, CA (P.O. Box 4513, Santa Barbara 93108): Sadhe Pub.

Neely, William L., and Allan Shields. 1992. Wild Bill Neely and the Pagan Brothers' Golden Goat Winery: journal and drawings. Mariposa, CA: Jerseydale Ranch Press.

Santa Barbara Collegium Musicum. 1965. A concert of music of the Renaissance. [Place of publication not identified]: Lazell.

Young, Noel. 1973. Hot tubs; how to build, maintain & enjoy your own. Santa Barbara: Capra Press.

Processing Information

The Mountain Drive Oral History Collection was processed by Chris S. Ervin CA in December 2020.



Guide to the Mountain Drive Oral History Collection
Chris S. Ervin CA
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Gledhill Library Repository

136 E. De La Guerra
Santa Barbara California 93101 USA