A Piece of Family History Restored

Peter Detwiler's grandfather Jimmy Murray owned a Santa Barbara confectioner's, only "RRAY" is left of the sign, at the time of the 1925 earthquake.

I just read Tyler Hayden’s piece about the Edson Smith photo archive and, using it, found a 1925 photo of my grandfather’s store after the earthquake.

Thanks so much for researching and writing the article, which my sister Cathy (who still lives in Santa Barbara) sent to me this evening.

Our grandfather James V. (“Jimmy”) Murray owned a confectionary store in the 900 block of State Street. I think there’s an Indian restaurant there now. In the photo next to the damaged bank building you can see a vertical sign that reads: “_ _ URRAY’S” Plus there’s a temporary sign saying that he’s open for business. I wish I knew who those two guys were, standing out in front. And I wonder if that’s my grandfather’s big car?

I remember seeing this picture many years ago and have never been able to find it again. Thanks to your article (and the hard work by the S.B. Public Library), our family now has a piece of our history. My late mother was just 5 years old at the time of the earthquake, but she had a very vivid memory of the day. Her father put all the kids in his car (there were four kids at that point) and drove down from their house on Wyola Road to his State Street store. The electricity was off, and his freezers didn’t work. He loaded as much ice cream as he could into the car and drove back home. They invited all of the neighborhood kids over, and everyone ate the ice cream before it melted! Of course a 5-year-old girl would remember that day! Before she died, Mom recounted that story to the News-Press for one of its earthquake anniversary issues. It’s part of the family lore and now we have a photo to go with it.

Many thanks to you and the Santa Barbara Independent for good journalism!


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