Las Posadas Program Takes an Early California Christmas Tradition to the Streets!

2014 las Posadas Suzi bellman-002The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation welcomed over 100 community members to the Presidio Chapel on Friday December 12 to begin the annual procession of Las Posadas (The Inns), a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem.   The dedicated choir, led by Luis Moreno, energized passerbys on State Street and proceeded to Casa de la Guerra, where the group was welcomed by Presidio family descendants Mike Perry and Christine Herrera playing Jose and Maria de la Guerra.  The evening finished with a tamale feast and pinata for the children.  For more photos from this beautiful night, visit our Flickr page here.

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year for this free public program, one of our most cherished traditions.

Dia de los Muertos at Casa de la Guerra

On October 26, 2014 Casa de la Guerra was bedecked with colorful papel picado for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual Dia de los Muertos program, a free public event.  Guests enjoyed several craft demonstrations, vendors, and a bite of pan de muerto.  Ofrendas on the Casa veranda honored people close to SBTHP including Walter C. Douglas, Jeremy Hass and Jean Liston.  This year the display also included ofrendas contributed by Santa Barbara Presidio descendants, created by Suzi Calderon Bellman and Diane Martinez, which paid tribute their families’ historical connections with the founding of Santa Barbara.

For more beautiful images of the event, visit our Flickr album here. If you missed the event, the The ofrendas will be on display inside Casa de la Guerra throughout the month of November.  For information about how you can support and volunteer at our many fun and free community programs, contact Melissa Chatfield, education director, at chatfield@sbthp.org.

2014 Santa Barbara Presidio Descendants Barbecue

Photo by Suzi Calderon Bellman
Photo by Suzi Calderon Bellman

October 19th was a beautiful Fall day at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. By noon, the beckoning scent of the grill drew a steady stream of descendants from Presidio families who helped found Santa Barbara  in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries.  The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation welcomed back many families we have come to know, and we met a few new ones too, who we hope to see again next year.

Photo by Suzi Calderon Bellman
Photo by Suzi Calderon Bellman

Many thanks go to the members of  SBTHP’s Genealogy and Descendants Committee and staff for planning and assisting with the barbecue, including Debby Aceves, Suzi Calderon Bellman, Jeannie Davis, Mary Louise Days, Mike Hardwick, Grill Master Mike Imwalle and Anne Petersen. Thanks also to Luis Moreno and Elizabeth Hvolboll for the wonderful music, Father Larry Gosselin, O.F.M. from Mission Santa Barbara, for the blessing, and SBTHP Executive Director Jarrell Jackman for his thoughtful remarks.

For more photos form the event visit our Flickr album here.  Feel free to share the images and tag yourself if you were present! We look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s barbecue, and hopefully earlier– we have some exciting programs planned!

 

Asian American Neighborhood Festival 2014. See the photos here!

The fifth annual Asian American Neighborhood festival on October 12, 2014  was, in keeping with tradition, a wonderful success. Amazing performances, enticing edibles and attractive vendor displays made for a fun afternoon for the hundreds of people in attendance at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.  This annual celebration commemorates the rich Asian American history of the Presidio Neighborhood, which served as home to both Chinese and then Japanese communities beginning in the mid-19th century.

We have added the event photos to our Flickr Page here. Please feel free to share these wonderful photos through the social media links on Flickr, and if you were in attendance, you can tag yourself!   Special thanks go to the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation‘s Asian American History Committee and Education Department staff for putting on this wonderful annual festival.  We can’t wait to see what they cook up for next year!

United Way Day of Caring Volunteers help out at El Presidio SHP!

On September 20, 2014 about thirty volunteers from all over Santa Barbara County donated half of their Saturday to the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation to help out with projects at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park.  The volunteers had previously registered for service through the United Way’s Day of Caring program, during which the organization coordinates hundreds of volunteers and sends them out to nonprofits throughout the County.

Making adobe bricks. Photo by Brittany Sundberg.
Making adobe bricks. Photo by Brittany Sundberg.

We divided our volunteers into three teams, with each team taking on an important piece of our reconstruction and maintenance work at El Presidio SHP.  Team Adobe Bricks worked with SBTHP board member Tim Aguilar and his crew to make adobe bricks which will be used in the reconstruction of the northern section of the Presidio’s outer defense wall.  The Volunteers poured wet adobe into the brick molds, punched out the air bubbles and then left them to dry in the sun on the Presidio parade ground, where they attracted attention from passers by.

Whitewashing the Presidio defense wall.  Photo by Brittany Sundberg.
Whitewashing the Presidio defense wall. Photo by Brittany Sundberg.

A second team whitewashed a newly-plastered section of the Presidio’s outer defense wall.  SBTHP staff was amazed by their progress throughout the morning– by chow call at noon they had covered every available square inch of wall!

Anne Petersen presents the plan for the garden cleanup to Day of Caring volunteers. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Anne Petersen presents the plan for the garden cleanup to Day of Caring volunteers. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

The garden team helped prepare the Presidio Heritage Garden for a fall planting.  This hardworking group uprooted spent summer plants, weeded four garden spaces, upturned the soil throughout and spread new compost over the planting beds.   The following week our new Garden Interns from Anacapa School planted fall and winter vegetables in those beds.

SBTHP looks forward to working with the United Way Day of Caring Volunteers each year.  The tremendous output of time and hard work greatly assists our efforts to to protect and maintain Santa Barbara’s founding place.

New Volunteers Plant our Fall Garden at El Presidio de Santa Barbara SHP

Sam, Elise and Lottie on the job at the Presidio. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Sam, Elise and Lottie on the job at the Presidio. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.

Hello, we are Sam, Lottie, and Elise, the new Presidio Heritage Garden Interns from the Anacapa School. We started our work here on September 22nd with a tour around the presidio grounds from Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Archaeologist Mike Imwalle to see what our semester at the gardens would hold, and were introduced to the dedicated employees working diligently here in the Presidio offices. We have been coming here to work every Monday and Wednesday afternoon since then. On our first official day of tending to the gardens we planted rows of wheat and corn. The wheat has since grown approximately four inches. A raccoon stole one of our corn plants but that is fine because we were able to replace the corn and the raccoon needed to find some way to support his family.

Tending the Presidio Northeast Corner heritage garden. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Tending the Presidio Northeast Corner heritage garden. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.

On our next visit we planted celery, cabbage, and onions. We also uprooted several basil plants and moved them to a new location. We ended the day by starting fava beans and shelling peas from seed. On each of our visits we also water the plants at the presidio. We use water keys to turn on the hoses. Some days we forget to return water keys and leave them in our jeans pockets, but we always return them to Mike eventually. On October 1st  we pruned the grape vines and Mike pruned the citrus trees. Sam was stabbed by the thorns on the citrus tree as he tried to place them into the dumpster, which we filled to the top.* Gardening is dangerous work! While Sam was suffering from the pain associated with physical labor, Elise was planting carrots and radishes.

New sprouts grown from seed, which will soon be transferred to the garden. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
New sprouts grown from seed, which will soon be transferred to the garden. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.

This last Monday we started new Christmas Lima beans and green beans. Mike then helped us get started on making a new trellis; we cut giant cane and cleaned it off and will soon tie it together into a trellis for beans.

So far we have had a great and fulfilling experience gardening at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. We look forward to more gardening in the weeks ahead.

*Note: our heritage citrus trees have long thorns, which were later bred out, and don’t appear on the citrus trees we are familiar with today. The thorns protrude from under the leaves and often catch unsuspecting volunteers by surprise!

Hotel Mariachi lecture and guest appearance by Mariachi Garibaldi!

by Anne Petersen

Catherine Kurland speaking about her book, Hotel Mariachi. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Catherine Kurland speaking about her book, Hotel Mariachi. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

On Thursday September 18th the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) hosted a spectacular concert and lecture program at the Presidio Chapel.  We invited co-authors Catherine Kurland and Evangeline Ordaz-Molina of Hotel Mariachi: Urban Space and Cultural Heritage in Los Angeles to speak about a remarkable preservation project in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles which both were involved with.  Kurland descends from the Lopez family, one of the original pobladores, or founding families  of Los Angeles. She spoke about her family’s multi-generation legacy in the Boyle Heights area, and her relatively recent discovery of her family’s historic ownership of the Cummings Hotel building and its modern-day use as a residence for mariachi musicians.

By the time Kurland discovered her connections to this historic resource, the building had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of demolition.  She soon met Evangeline Ordaz-Molina of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC). ELACC was in the beginning stages of a project to renovate the hotel and ensure its continued use as a residence for Los Angeles’s mariachis. Kurland and Ordaz’s publication about the project, Hotel Mariachi, includes beautiful images of the musicians and Mariachi Plaza by photographer Miguel Gandert and an essay about the mariachi tradition by Enrique R. Lamadrid.

Bea and Hector from Viva El Arte de Santa Barbara introduce Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Bea and Hector from Viva El Arte de Santa Barbara introduce Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Hotel Marichi  is a story of family, community, and our connections to special places and traditions.  Kurland shared her family story and Gandert’s photographs of Mariachi Plaza with the audience, and was followed by Ordaz’s engaging presentation of the challenges and benefits of taking on a low income housing project in such a formidable historic resource.

SBTHP is honored to have  had the opportunity to host these talented women. The themes of Hotel Mariachi resonate with our work as stewards of Santa Barbara’s founding place, and efforts to keep related cultural traditions vibrant and accessible to the community.

To hear an interview about Hotel Mariachi with Catherine Kurland on Elizabeth Stewart’s Arts and Antiques radio show click here.

Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar give a stellar performance. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performing in the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

SBTHP was also thrilled to find new friends at  ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara!, an organization dedicated to bringing the cultural arts of Mexico to our community.   Viva el Arte coordinated a special performance by Mariachi Garibaldi de Jame Cuellar, a twelve person mariachi ensemble from Los Angeles, to precede the lecture.   Mariachi Garibadli blew the roof off the Presidio Chapel, and those in attendance will not soon forget that incredible show.

Mary Louise Days, Sheila Lodge and Kathi Brewster at the reception. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Mary Louise Days, Sheila Lodge and Kathi Brewster at the reception. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Guests enjoyed a reception after the program, and welcomed the opportunity to speak with the authors and have their copies of Hotel Mariachi signed.  We look forward to continuing to bring stellar programs like Hotel Mariachi to our community– just wait until you see what we come up with next!

Anne Petersen is Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Pozole Feast to launch the 4x4x4 Campaign to complete the Presidio Northwest Corner

The pozole station. Photo by baron Erik Stafford.
The pozole station. Photo by baron Erik Stafford.

On August 31, 2014 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation held a block party in the parking lot adjacent to the Northwest Corner of El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. We designed this free community event to spread the word about our capital campaign to complete four essential projects at the Presidio. The event included tours of the project site and a related exhibit about the campaign, the unveiling of a new 3d flyover video of the project and plenty of time to make new friends and enjoy wonderful food.

For more information about the 4x4x4 campaign and to find out how you can get involved, click here.

Special thanks go to David Bolton for providing pozole for our guests and musicians Chucumite for the beautiful and lively music. To see more photos from the event from Baron Erik Stafford visit the album on our Flickr page here.

Up-to-date news, notes, and behind the scenes at SBTHP

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