(named for the French
word for beet roots
) was a community in northern Santa Barbara County, California
on Betteravia Road, six miles west of Santa Maria
. It is notable as a rare ghost town on the central coast of California.
Betteravia was founded around the turn of the 20th century and persisted for about ninety years. At one time this community supported a population of 350 residents, many of whom were employed by the Union Sugar Company, now a part of Sara Lee Corporation
. The community consisted of 65 cottages, a hotel, a church, a schoolhouse, a post office, an amusement hall, a general store, and a fire department.
The Pacific Coast Railway built an electrified line from Santa Maria to Betteravia in 1906.
In 1950, the Union Sugar Company decided it no longer wanted to remain in the renting business and gave notice to all residents to evacuate. The homes were sold for an average of $50 each. Most of the homes were bought by their renters and moved, and some were bought by other individuals.
On March 8 1988, the sugar plant, then owned by Imperial Holly (now known as Imperial Sugar), suffered a dust explosion and fire which resulted in the injury of eight employees, seven critically. Following the closure of Holly's Betteravia sugar plant in 1993, Betteravia became a ghost town with many vacant and demolished buildings.