About Santa Maria

Location

The Santa Maria Valley is conveniently located 75 miles north of Santa Barbara, 170 miles north of Los Angeles and 270 miles south of San Francisco at the intersection of California State Highway 101 and Highway 166. With an elevation of 206 feet, Santa Maria’s incorporated area encompasses roughly 21 square miles. An adopted sphere of influence extends its geographic reach by 24 square miles.

For an interactive area street map with several key points of interest indicated, click here.

Transportation

Rail: Amtrak offers daily service into Guadalupe from the Pacific Surfliner train with a direct route to Los Angeles daily. From San Luis Obispo: four daily schedules north to San Francisco and south to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles; early afternoon trains depart from San Luis Obispo. For more info call (800) 872-7245 or visit: www.amtrak.com

Highways: Santa Maria is bisected by California State Highway 101 and Highway 166. State Highway 154, located only 20 miles to the south, completes Santa Maria’s transportation grid.

Bus: 6 northbound, 5 southbound daily schedules are provided by Greyhound Bus, (805) 925-8841. Local bus service provided by Santa Maria Area Transit, (805) 928-5624. North intercity service by Central Coast Area Transit, (805) 541-2228.

Air: The Santa Maria Public Airport is an International Airport is served by SkyWest United Express, (800) 293-1437, which provides daily service to Los Angeles with connecting flights to all major cities worldwide and Allegiant Air (1-800-432-3810) with direct flights from Santa Maria to Las Vegas three times a week. The airport has two runways: 6,300 and newly expanded 13,270 feet, a terminal building, a 4,100 square foot baggage claim area, restaurant, hotel, museum, hangars, fuel, tie-downs, offices and landing aids. For more information visit their web-site at: santamariaairport.com

Climate

Just 12 miles from the Pacific coastline, Santa Maria enjoys a smog-free climate with mild temperatures throughout the year. Ocean breezes cool the valley in the summer and exert a warm influence in winter. Hazy morning fog is prominent in the summer months.

Average Temperatures
Rain
Humidity
Period Min. Mean. Max. Inches 4a.m. 10 a.m. 4p.m.
Jan. 37.9 50.3 62.6 2.18 81 63 59
April 44.8 55.0 66.1 1.23 88 63 63
July 52.4 62.1 71.8 .01 88 64 62
Oct. 47.6 60.5 73.4 .51 85 53 59
Year 45.4 56.8 68.2 11.37 86 62 62

Population

City of Santa Maria 102,216
Santa Maria Valley – 137,216, which includes the unincorporated area of Orcutt, Guadalupe, Sisquoc, Tepusquet, Gary and Casmalia.

All-American City

The City of Santa Maria is a regional trading, manufacturing and service center. The area’s stable economic base includes agriculture, transportation, oil, tourism, electronic manufacturing, and the government installation at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base. With more than 4,700 people in its work force, Vandenberg is one of the area’s largest employers.

In 1998, Santa Maria won the coveted All-America City Award from the National Civic League. The award honors community collaboration in solving problems and making the city a better place to live and work.

Real Estate & Housing

Santa Maria and its surrounding area is a rapidly growing community. The average sale price for homes starts at about $308,000. Those interested in renting can expect to pay $900 to $1,500 for one and two-bedroom unfurnished apartments or duplexes. Two and three-bedroom houses range between $1,300 and $2,000. The average cost of utilities for a typical house, depending on usage, would be approximately $300 per month. For more information:click here.

History

The beginnings of Santa Maria Valley’s development date back to the adventurous era of Spanish land grants and ranchos. After Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in the Valley in 1542, and the Portola exploration party passed through in 1769 during its search for the Monterey Bay, two sites were eventually chosen to the north and southwest for missions built by the Spanish church. Mission San Luis Obispo (1772) and La Purisima Concepcion (1787) were catalysts for early settlement, and flourished until 1821 when Spain granted Mexico independence and the missions were secularized. Lands were broken up and for the first time individuals were granted land ownership.

When Benjamin Foxen purchased Rancho Tinaquaic in 1837, he and his Spanish Bride, the former Eduarda Osuna, built a small adobe on the property. The Foxen family lived for many generations on the rancho where Benjamin was called “Don Julian” by Eduarda’s people. One of Foxen’s daughters, Ramona, married Englishman Frederick Wickenden. Their early adobe still stands. Ramona longed for a nearby church as the drive to the Santa Inez Mission proved to be quite a task with their many small children. Ultimately, the death of Benjamin Foxen inspired the construction of the San Ramon Chapel in 1875. Today, the chapel, which may still be seen along Foxen Canyon Road, has been dedicated as County Landmark No. 1 and as State Landmark No. 877.

Santa Maria Valley’s first town was La Graciosa, which included a store, post office and school located near present-day Orcutt. However, in 1877, H.M. Newhall was granted the land on which the town was built, and summarily ejected one and all.

While the nineteenth century saw California gain statehood, the Santa Maria Valley blossomed as one of the most productive agricultural regions in the state. The area’s multi-ethnic population also grew as Swiss-Italian dairymen, and Filipino, Portuguese and Japanese farmers joined the already established English, Irish, Scottish and Mexican settlers. Between 1869 and 1874, four of the Valley’s prominent settlers, Rudolph Cook, John Thornburg, Isaac Fesler and Isaac Miller, farmed the land at the corners of Broadway and Main Streets. In 1874, these individuals each donated a square-mile of land where their properties met to form a four-mile city center. The township was surveyed in the fall of 1874, and the surveyor’s maps were accepted and recorded at the county seat on April 12, 1875. First christened Grangerville, and later Central City, the name was ultimately changed to “Santa Maria” on February 18, 1885 because mail was often mistakenly sent to Central City, Colorado. The city remained limited to four square miles until 1954. Since then, annexations have increased its size to roughly 21 square miles.

Rich, gushing oil was discovered in the Santa Maria Valley in 1904 near what is now Orcutt. When exploratory crews struck a huge gusher, they lovingly nicknamed it “Old Maud,” and for the next 80 years, the oil industry flourished. Development intensified in the 1930s, and, by 1957, as many as 1,775 oil wells were producing $64 million worth of oil annually.

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