On Wednesday, July 19, a group of international students from Santa Barbara’s EF School visited El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park for a tour. There were fifteen young adult students from over ten different countries. They brought with them their experiences and perspectives from their native countries. It was a pleasure and a wonderful learning experience to provide a tour of the park for this special group!
Here are some of the reflections from their visit:
Laura (Spain)- “It was really cool to see and learn about the Spanish history in Santa Barbara. My favorite part of the tour was the church. I felt like I was home.”
Alice (Japan)- “I never knew there were so many Japanese in Santa Barbara before. I liked seeing the cups and boxes that we still use today back home.”
Vittoria (Italy)- “It’s nice to learn something about the city that is your home for a little while. So much history and culture in Santa Barbara.”
Sarah Hilliard (EF instructor) – “For my students this is not only a language exchange but a cultural exchange as well. I love showing them how so many different cultures have created the town that I call home. I believe it’s important for them to learn a little bit about where they are living because its helps them feel like a part of the community. The tour is a great hands-on historical experience.”
We had a a busy day, and several of our newly-trained docents made their debut at the program. We our proud to serve over 700 Santa Barbara County Students over this two-day program every spring. If you would like to be a part of it, we can use your help! The next Early California Days will be on Thursday May 11. For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Kevin McGarry, Director of Programs, at email@example.com or (805) 965-2004.
For more photos from Early California Day by Mike Imwalle and Anne Petersen, please visit our Flickr album, here.
Built in 1925, the Alhecama Theatre at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park was originally called the Little Theatre; it became the Pueblo Theatre in 1937. It consisted of a single-story multi-use auditorium with a raised stage. The building is among a cluster of eleven wooden buildings and one stucco building that date to the Community Arts Association’s Festival Arts School (later named the Santa Barbara School of the Arts) that thrived from 1920 to the mid-1930s. In 1928 painter Ross Dickinson painted a mural depicting a Mediterranean village scene on the wall opposite the stage.
In 1939 significant changes were made to the building including the addition of a foyer and ticket booth, a fly above the stage, and a small apartment. Modifications to the original building included the addition of a projection booth above the foyer for showing films. In order to project films, five rectangular openings were cut through the Dickinson mural.
The first phase of the project began with the meticulous cleaning of the mural’s surface with a very mild detergent mixed to match the pH in oil paints used by Dickinson. After more than a week, and thousands of filthy cotton balls later, the cleaning was completed. The next phase of the project was to patch small cracks and tears in the underlying Celotex paneling on which the mural was painted. The final stage of the repairs was to insert Celotex panels to fill in the holes cut for the projection booth in 1939. This was accomplished by finding an identical match to the surface texture of the original Celotex, then building a frame within the wall to which the new panels would be attached.
After the new panels were installed, it was time for the final stage of the restoration, the in-painting of the new panels and all the other repaired surfaces of the original mural. The in-painting was done by lightly tracing the design onto the new panels then painting the final image with reversible conservation paints to match the surrounding mural colors. After nearly a month, the restoration was complete! Thank you Patty, the Outhwaite Foundation, and SBTHP members who contributed to the restoration of this fabulous remnant of the Santa Barbara School of the Arts!
Michael Imwalle is the Associate Executive Director for Cultural Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
On Wednesday February 2, 2017, Cate School teachers Renee and Peter Mack arrived at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park with eleven students to volunteer for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. SBTHP Executive Director Anne Petersen welcomed the group and Associate Executive Director of Cultural Resources Michael Imwalle provided the group with a brief introduction into the history of the Presidio and adobe construction. After the introduction SBTHP Maintenance Supervisor Eduardo Garcia gave them an introduction to “Whitewashing 101.”
Students divided into four teams and efficiently tackled a variety of projects including tasks related to storm damage and storm preparedness. One group cleaned drains filled with sediment after the February 17th deluge, and another filled sand bags for protecting historic structures during future rains. Under Eduardo’s direction two groups worked on preparing and whitewashing the exterior of the Presidio Chapel, the first defense wall, and the comandancia. buildings and walls around the Northeast Corner complex. Thanks to students Brandon Man, Grace Blankenhorn, Brie Walker, Alice Zhang, Piper Brooks, Jackson Weinberger, Carlo Jacobson, Bryce Jackson, Abnishek Suresh, Nick Carlson, and Ryder Dinning for all your hard work!
Without hard working volunteers like the Cate School volunteers, it would be impossible to maintain all the adobe structures in the park. We appreciate your annual contribution and look forward to working with you again next year!
This atmospheric evening is a community favorite as visitors gather to experience an early California cooking demonstration, learn traditional California dances and discuss the latest news in Spanish Colonial California with the Comandante and his soldados.
For more photos from this beautiful night, visit our Flickr Album here.
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation‘s exhibit, Building Community: Reginald D. Johnson, Architect was recently installed in the MacBean Library at Cate School in Carpinteria. SBTHP was pleased to partner with Cate School during the preliminary preparation for the exhibit and also grateful to them for the opportunity to have the show displayed at this beautiful campus which was designed by Reginald Johnson in 1927. Curator Rose Thomas gave a brief presentation to board members and staff during a reception hosted by the school.