New Book about Californios in the Civil War

by Melissa Chatfield

California Vaqueros (1024x689)On March 24, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation lecture series fans were treated to a rare lecture and book signing on the American Civil War period as it relates to Santa Barbara. Tom Prezelski, a former Arizona State Representative and independent historian, gave a presentation in support of his recently published book Californio Lancers The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863-1866.

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Author Tom Prezelski speaking about his new book, Californio Lancers. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.

Descendants and history enthusiasts gathered to hear how members of the de la Guerra family and other Central Coast families enlisted to serve the Union Army, lending their legendary horsemanship to the effort. Prezelski shared his research on the problems and accomplishments of these Californios with an audience of their descendants, eager with questions to explore at the end of the lecture. The author was pleased to sign books at the reception, before returning to Arizona.

For those who missed this event, Californio Lancers can be purchased in the gift shop at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park  and through our online shop here.

Presidio Pastimes by Candlelight 2016

Las Fiesteras dancers in the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Myriah Nina Photography.
Baile de California dancers in the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Myriah Nina Photography.

On February 4, 2016 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation hosted a popular annual program, Presidio Pastimes by Candlelight at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.  On that unseasonably mild evening the Presidio came to life with the smells of chiles in the kitchen, and the sound of guitars drifting from the Chapel.  The commandant hosted visitors in his sala, and a Presidio resident introduced guests to her chickens and described some of her regular tasks, including laundry and mending.

David Martinez in the comandancia. Photo by Myriah Nina Photography.
David Martinez in the comandancia. Photo by Myriah Nina Photography.
Suzi Calderon Bellman. Photo by Rocky Bellman.
Suzi Calderon Bellman. Photo by Rocky Bellman.

SBTHP is proud to participate in Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday program for this event.  For more photographs from the evening by Myriah Nina Photography and  Suzi Calderon Bellman please visit our Flickr album here.

2016 Docent Training Produces a Great Team!

SBTHP Receptionist Brittany Sundberg coaches new docents on giving a 10 minute introduction to the Presidio. Photo by Anne Petersen.
SBTHP Receptionist Brittany Sundberg coaches new docents on giving a 10 minute introduction to the Presidio. Photo by Anne Petersen.

In mid-February, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s Director of Education, Melissa Chatfield began a six-week training course for new docents.  This year’s docent training focused specifically on developing focused, ten-minute demonstrations about various aspects of life in Early California for a third grade audience.    The training built up to one of our largest school programs at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, called Early California Days.

Principal Colleen Million from the SB Unified School District discusses the developmental ability of eight-year-olds, the target audience for Early California Days. photo by Anne Petersen.
Principal Colleen Million from the SB Unified School District discusses the developmental ability of eight-year-olds, the target audience for Early California Days. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Docent Suzi Calderon Bellman demonstrates laundry and mending practices from Early California in one of the Presidio family gardens at Early California Day.  Photo by Anne Petersen.
Docent Suzi Calderon Bellman demonstrates laundry and mending practices from Early California in one of the Presidio family gardens at Early California Day. Photo by Anne Petersen.

SBTHP’s first Early California Days program of the year on Thursday April 7, and our new docents turned out en force!  We are proud and appreciative of all of our volunteers, who ensured that several hundred Santa Barbara County school children had an excellent experience at the park.

New SBTHP docent Teresa  Eggemeyer getting a great response from students in the Cocina during Early California Days.  Photo by Anne Petersen.
New SBTHP docent Teresa Eggemeyer getting a great response from students in the Cocina during Early California Day. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Would you like to learn more about becoming a docent with the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation?  You can email Melissa Chatfield at chatfield@sbthp.org or call her at (805) 965-2004.

 

Cate School Volunteer Day at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park February 29, 2016

by Michael H. Imwalle

Students applying mud plaster to adobe garden walls at the Northwest Corner complex. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Students applying mud plaster to adobe garden walls at the Northwest Corner complex. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

On Monday February 29th, 2016 Cate School teachers Annalee Salcedo, Wendi Butler, and Taylor Wyatt arrived at the Presidio with eighteen students to volunteer for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Associate Director of Historic Resources Anne Petersen welcomed the group and  and Archaeologist Michael Imwalle provided a brief introduction to the history of the Presidio and adobe construction. After we a brief safety meeting with master adobero Tim Aguilar, SBTHP Maintenance Supervisor Eduardo Garcia gave them an introduction to “Whitewashing 101.”

Cate volunteers whitewashing the buildings and defense wall of the Northeast Corner complex. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Cate volunteers whitewashing the buildings and defense wall of the Northeast Corner complex. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Students divided into four teams and leapt into action (I couldn’t resist) assisting Tim and Isidro Ruiz with plastering the garden walls on the Northwest Corner. Another group worked at sifting decomposed granite for repairing paths and walkways at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara SHP and the Casa de la Guerra. Under Eduardo’s direction two groups worked on preparing and whitewashing buildings and walls around the Northeast Corner complex. Thanks to students Tessa Denison, Charles Shi, Stefan Suh, Isabela Montes de Oza, Maddie Goodman, Julie Phan, William Barron, Eunbie Coe, Jennifer Soh, Kate Tunnel, Malachi Schrager, Morgan Pierce, Henry Dawson, Elizabeth Douglas, Anna Hasson, Diarra Pouye, Elliott Rosenthal, and Zac Towbes for all your hard work!

2016 Cate School student and faculty volunteers. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
2016 Cate School student and faculty volunteers. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Without hard working volunteers like those from Cate School, 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!

Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

The Curious Medical History of the Cota-Knox House

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Syringe in the collections of El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, held by Archaeologist Michael Imwalle. Photo by Anne Petersen,

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.

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The 1871 Cota-Knox House at 914-916 Anacapa Street at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

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!

SBTHP Honors Veterans with a Ceremony on November 11, 2015

The Soldados de Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara assisted the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in commemorating Veterans Day at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park on November 11, 2015.  Executive Director Jarell Jackman served as master of ceremonies. The program included a flag-raising and Presidio cannon firing. SBTHP is proud to honor all of the Veterans who have served our country.  For more photos from the event, visit our Flickr album here.

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SBTHP’s Veterans Day Ceremony , November 15, 2015. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

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