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Naval Reserve Center Santa Barbara
In 1897, a small group of Santa Barbara, California citizens organized the Sixth Division of the California Naval militia to provide coastal defense for the central coast area. In those days, the Division conducted drills, knotting and splicing exercises, and trained on their gunnery skills aboard visiting US Navy ships. During this period the division continued to expand, and, when called to active duty in World War I, it consisted of 123 seamen and four officers.
In November, 1941, the Sixth Division was called again to active duty during World War II. Reporting aboard the USS Mount Vernon, a troop transport, they completed more than a dozen trips around the world, from the United States to New Zealand, Singapore, and other ports until the War's end.
Located in the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center at 113 Harbor Way, the '''Naval Reserve Center Santa Barbara's''' structure was formerly known as the Naval Reserve Armory, which was built by the Federal Government's Works Project Administration (WPA) program during the late 1930s through early 1940s. The City sold the Armory to Navy for one dollar, and the Members of the Sixth Division moved from the basement of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to the Naval Armory around 1943. They were again called for duty during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and later for Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
After lengthy negotiations (and 2.4 million dollars), the Navy sold the Reserve Center back to the City of Santa Barbara. A huge celebration was held on December 2, 1994, in which the city commemorated the closing of the center by staging the party with a WWII theme. The famous actress Jane Russell was among the 500 guests. In January 1995 the Navy turned over the historic Reserve Center on the breakwater (it is now the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and also houses two restaurants), and opened a new Reserve Center on the Seabee base at Port Hueneme (now known as Naval Base Ventura County).
* Naval Base Ventura County: History
- Navy Pages with more pictures
- NRC Port Hueneme History
- Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Site