A Bit of History about the Property
Jack’s property is an interesting mix of buildings. I had always wondered about the property and how it was zoned. It is located in the City of Buellton which is fairly small city situated at Highway 101, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. Buellton is probably most famous for “Pea Soup Andersens” restaurant and most recently was featured in the movie “Sideways” as was our entire area.
The population of the entire Santa Ynez Valley which consists of the cities of Buellton, and Solvang and the towns of Los Olivos, Ballard and Santa Ynez is only around 14,000. For California, especially along the coast, that is a relatively small area.
Jack’s place is only about a block off the Highway and if it weren’t for the ten foot high wall around the property you could probably see it. The only thing that you can see when you are near the property is the large pole signs. The property has commercial on one side and residential on the other, and is actually zoned commercial.
In the early days of Buellton, one of the buildings was built as a church and Boy Scout meeting hall and another was a garage. When Jack bought the property he operated it as a tow yard, which is what allows for the tall wall. Although the property is zoned commercial, Jack lives in a “residence” in the two story building with all of the signs on. While we were touring Jack spotted us from the upstairs window and waved. He’s getting pretty feeble these days and can’t do the tours himself, though I’m sure that he would like to.
As Jack’s tow business grew, so did the buildings. Buildings were also built to house the ever growing collection. Now the tall building is in the center and is surrounded by a series of garages. It’s kind of like a “self storage” complex. The building behind the lollipop signs with the roll up doors was built to look like gas station service bays.
They have done an excellent job of displaying the collection in the various building. According to Will Scott, our tour guide, it’s still a work in progress. Jack’s son Mark is still adding to the collection.
That’s enough narrative for now, let’s see some more photos and then I will tell you more about “What Jack Collects (and Doesn’t collect).
I can't wait to go back at night and see all of the neon lit up. The Polly, the Richfield Eagle and the Foster Freeze sign are my favorites.