In 1919, a group of eleven men, each representing a different alma mater, formed the University Club of Santa Barbara as a place to meet, enjoy a good meal, discuss the news of the day, shoot a game of billiards, or play a game of bridge. They originally rented a small house on Micheltorena Street in downtown Santa Barbara, but with a growing membership, quickly found the need for more space. In 1923, the founders got together and purchased for $30,000 what was then called “Calkin’s Castle”– a private estate originally built in 1880 for James W. Calkins.
Formal opening of the Club took place on March 10th, 1923. Bi-weekly member dinners were initiated with families and guests invited every other Thursday for $1.25 per person. Originally for men only, the Club offered “bachelor rooms” upstairs (now staff & member offices), which rented for $80 a month, including three meals a day. Hard-hit by WWII, the Club’s activities and membership slowed significantly but its doors never shut. All through the years, the same traditions have held: good food and great company for both business and social occasions.
The University Club has seen generations of families pass through its doors.
Many traditions and memories have been made here, and members take pride in the accomplishments of the Club’s “extended family.”