What does this nineteenth-century syringe excavated at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park have to do with an unassuming 1871 brick building at 914 -1916 Anacapa Street?
All will be revealed in the upcoming Winter 2016 issue of La Campana. Do you receive La Campana? This full-color publication is a benefit of membership in the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information on how you can keep up to date with wonderful articles on local history and the latest efforts at SBTHP, click here.
Meanwhile we’ll be putting the finishing touches on the story of a little known center of medical treatment in Santa Barbara, which will land in your mailbox soon!
These beautiful photos by Myriah J. Photography show just how the event brought the Presidio parade ground to life for the hundreds of visitors who turned out to watch the music and dance performances, participate in craft demonstrations, and grab a bite to eat. For more photos from the event, visit our Flickr album here. Special thanks to SBTHP’s Asian American History Committee and the many volunteers and staff who contributed to the success of this event.
In October 2015 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation received a grant from the California Missions Foundation to investigate the architectural remains of the second outer defense wall. A small excavation unit was opened beneath the floor of the 1887 Bonilla house. The primary purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the condition of the wall. The exposure successfully identified in-situ adobe melt on the interior and exterior of the wall, identified the historic grade outside the wall, and recorded an episode of roof collapse on the interior of the wall. Lucas Nichols carefully exposed the wall including in-situ lime plaster on the interior surface.
Lucas Nichols excavating an exposure of the second outer defense wall beneath the 1887 Bonilla House shed. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Intact section of second defense wall beneath the Bonilla House. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
All of the soil excavated consisted of adobe melt. Adobe melt is the soil that constituted the adobe blocks used to construct the wall. Over time, gravity and the weather cause the adobe to dissolve or melt and it is redistributed across the ground surface. Once the adobe melt has been archaeologically removed from the unit, artifacts, gravel, and other debris are removed from the soil with 1/8″ sieves. The sterile sandy loam that falls through the screen is recycled into new adobe bricks for reconstruction. Today the soil Lucas is screening is going right back into the walls as mortar. The walls are being rebuilt using soil recycled from the melted bricks originally laid on the second defense wall in the late 1790s.
Sifting excavated soil through 1/8″ screens. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Isidro Ruiz adding screened soil to the mixer to make mortar. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
This week we began the last phase of the Presidio Northwest Corner project. Trust Board member Tim Aguilar and Restoration Specialist Isidro Ruiz are laying adobe blocks to complete the three corral or yard walls behind the recently constructed adobes at the Northwest Corner. These backyard areas will provide outdoor exhibit space for the new Presidio Visitor Center. Watch the progress as the last walls of the Northwest Corner project are completed!
Tim Aguilar spreading mud mortar on the sandstone foundation. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Tim Aguilar laying first course of adobe blocks on sandstone foundation. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
Hello, we are Piero Trujillo, Weston Izuno, Lauren Sloan and Pica Riddle, the new Presidio Heritage Garden Interns from the Anacapa School . We started our adventure on September 15th, with a tour of the gardens. Mike Imwalle, archaeologist, showed us the ropes, where we learned how to plant and water fruits and vegetables, and feed and water the chickens.
The weekend after we started, the United Way Day of Caring volunteers cleared the gardens of old plants and weeds, so that we could plant new ones for the fall. Since we started, we have planted Fava beans, Christmas Lima beans, green beans, artichokes, carrots, radishes, broccoli, onions, wheat, celery, and herbs.
The Santa Barbara Presidio produces phenomenal produce. Every day we enjoy fresh juicy oranges. The six chickens, Belle, Stacy, Pica, Shakira, Josefina, and Westina, started laying wonderful tasty eggs. Even the under-ripe watermelon we tasted was better than the store bought ones. Sadly we did not get to enjoy the biggest, ripest watermelon because it was stolen. All that was left, were the gruesome remains of an eaten water melon on the steps of the Presidio. At least someone got to eat it.
The six lovely hens of the Presidio, are warmly rewarded for their egg laying efforts with yummy treats. The girls go crazy over dried worms and over-ripe fruit from the garden. We often feed them watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, figs, and pomegranates.
Mike, everyone’s favorite teddy bear, is very welcoming. He never gets frustrated with our sometimes slow work ethic and even lets us play with the sticky notes in his office. Mike truly cares about his job and the Presidio. We have so much fun as interns, that even when Pica falls in a cactus, she still wants to come back.
The Presidio Heritage Garden Interns will keep planting through the fall season. Stop by and see what’s blooming!
The almost 100 guests enjoyed catching up and meeting new relatives.
For more images from this wonderful afternoon, please visit our Flickr album here. Thanks to photographers Suzi Calderon Bellman, Margaret Mira and Jeannie Davis for capturing the day. We look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year!
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition on the Architect Reginald Johnson’s (1882 – 1952) Santa Barbara projects, which will open at Casa de la Guerra next year. Johnson is recognized locally for his work on several community institutions, including the U.S. Downtown Post Office, the Biltmore Hotel, the Music Academy of the West, and Lotus Land.
On October 16, Guest Curator Rose Thomas and I made a trip to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino to look at two scrapbooks of Johnson projects. Our anticipation was high, because Johnson famously destroyed his work. Researchers must rely on the material saved by his clients, much of which is in private collections, and the few archives that hold materials. The Johnson scrapbooks at the Huntington include wonderful photographs of Santa Barbara projects such as Lotus Land and the Harold Chase House, each mounted on a page and complete with beautifully hand-lettered titles.
One of the scrapbooks includes floor plans and hand-colored elevation drawings, along with photographs, of Village Green, a middle class housing project built in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles in 1941. The project was one of Johnson’s last, and reflects his late-career interest in public housing.
Reviewing that scrapbook was timely considering we had scheduled an afternoon appointment with two residents of Village Green, Gailyn Saroyan and Steve Keylon, who are dedicated to preserving their beautiful homes and passionate about Johnson’s ideals. Village Green is remarkable for its balance of apartments (now condominiums) and park-like natural space. Every aspect of the sixty-four acre property was designed to create beautiful comfortable and communal-based lifestyles for its residents. It is a remarkable oasis in the city, and one that is cherished by its current residents.
We look forward to sharing more about the exhibit with you as it developes. An opening is planned for February 2016, so stay tuned for more detailed announcements!
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
On October 19th more than 30 volunteers joined a crew of six professional olive pickers to pick the 2015 Santa Inés Mission Mills olive crop. Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation staff, Board, a team from the Anacapa School, and community volunteers gathered on a mild Sunday morning to pick the remaining Manzanillo and Mission variety olives from perimeter of the State Park property and the Mission grove. Santa Inés Mission Mill property steward Wayne Sherman noted that the team from Anacapa School was so efficient they went swarming from tree to tree like “olive pirhanas.”
At least twelve volunteers attacking one loaded Manzanillo tree! Photo by Mike Imwalle.
John Clark, Terri Imwalle, and Toni Clark getting in on the action. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Tim Aguilar and son Doug Summerville. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Combined with the Italian varietals picked from the Rasmussen and Mill groves we harvested almost three tons of olives. On Monday morning October 20th our olives were crushed into 101.6 gallons of Extra Virgin olive oil. That converts to almost 86 cases of 12 – 12.5 oz bottles.
The first twenty cases is being bottled as our 2015 “Olio Nuovo” or new oil. Olio Nuovo is the first press of the season. It is bottled unfiltered, immediately after crushing, and has an intense grassy, peppery fresh flavor. It is loaded with polyphenols, making Olio Nuovo the healthiest oil available from each harvest.
Produced from a blend of Arbeqina, Grappalo, Lucca, Manzanillo, and Mission olives, this special early release is available for a limited time. This year’s oil has been bottled and is being delivered today! Order yours online or pick some up in the museum shop at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. It sells for $15.00 retail ($12.00 for SBHTP members) and $108.00 per case of 12 wholesale.
Michael Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
The Haass Adobe Watercolor collection is made up of a series of historic adobes painted in the late 1940s and early 1950s by Fridloin Haass at the request of Pearl Chase. The extremely detailed paintings capture a moment in time at each site. Today some of the buildings captured for the series (including Casa de la Guerra), look radically different, and others have been lost altogether.
Van Stein worked with his class to pay close attention to Haass’s ability to use light and dark colors to make features either recede or come to the forefront. He also praised the artist’s ability to capture complex shadows and reflections, and to offer enough line detail to suggest intricate painterly features like a tile roof, without articulating each tile.
Students begin to paint Casa de la Guerra, using inspiration from the exhibit. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Thomas Van Stein begins his painting of the Casa. Photo by Anne Petersen.
After viewing the exhibit, the class set up their easels in the Casa Courtyard and began to paint, using the inspiration of the Haass watercolors to guide them. While assisting his students, Van Stein was also able to create his own work of art, capturing the East wing of the Casa, with a delicately painted tile roof.
We thoroughly enjoyed the class visit, which brings together several of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s areas of interest: our local architecture, historic preservation, and the appreciation of our community’s sense of place through the visual arts.
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
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