Building Community: Reginald D. Johnson, Architect opens at Casa de la Guerra

2016 Building Community Postcard front (575x800)by Anne Petersen

On March 10, 2016 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation opened its long-anticipated exhibit, Building Community, about architect Reginald Johnson’s contributions to Santa Barbara.

The exhibit traces the arc of Johnson’s career from his early work, to iconic projects including the Biltmore,  Cate School, Bellosguardo (The Clark Estate) and Cuesta Linda (Lotusland).  The exhibit also includes several acclaimed small house projects  which contributed to Johnson’s evolving sense of architecture’s role in designing a high quality of life for everyone.

Doug Campbell and Mary Louise Days with a historic service window from the Santa Barbara Downtown Post Office.
Doug Campbell and Mary Louise Days with a historic service window from the Santa Barbara Downtown Post Office.

We devote an entire gallery to what some believe to be the pinnacle of his career, the Santa Barbara Downtown Post Office, 1937. A Depression-era project for which Johnson took no commission, the Post Office is a triumph of federal institutional character with a mix of Santa Barbara style.    The gallery also includes a wall devoted to William Atkinson, who designed the bas reliefs on the interior, and a feedback activity designed to building awareness of the potential sale of the Post Office by the U.S. Postal Service.

Photo by Anne Petersen.
Photo by Anne Petersen.

The final portion of the exhibit explores Johnson’s late-career middle class and public housing projects through which his ideals about the architecture of community life crystallized.  An emphasis on the relationship with the outdoors, and spaces for the community to gather characterize these projects.

Elliot and Mary Brownlee stand with a painting of the barn at Cate School.  Photo by Anne Petersen.
Elliot and Mary Brownlee stand with a painting of the barn at Cate School. Photo by Anne Petersen.

We had a wonderful opening reception for the show on Thursday March 10.  If you missed it, we will be open during  First Thursday next Thursday May 5 from 5:00 pm  – 8:00 pm,  and during regular museum hours until September 18.

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Anne Petersen is the executive director of 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.

cota knox (800x600)
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.

SBTHP Veterans Day 2015 by Mike Imwalle (67)
SBTHP’s Veterans Day Ceremony , November 15, 2015. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

2015 Asian American Neighborhood Festival

On October 11, 2015 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation held its 6th annual Asian American Neighborhood Festival at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.

 

Asian American Neighborhood festival

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.

Recycling the Earth: Archaeology and Reconstruction at El Presidio de Santa Barbara SHP

by Michael H. Imwalle

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.

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.

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!

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

Anacapa Student Interns Plant the Future of Santa Barbara Presidio

Lauren, Wes, Pica, and Piero starting flats of beans from seeds grown in the Presidio Heritage Garden. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Lauren, Wes, Pica, and Piero starting flats of beans from seeds grown in the Presidio Heritage Garden. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

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.

Pica spreading Mulch during the United Way Day of Caring. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Pica spreading Mulch during the United Way Day of Caring. Photo by Anne Petersen.

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.

Mike and Ann holding Belle and Westina. Photo by Brittany Sundberg.
Mike and Ann holding Belle and Westina. Photo by Brittany Sundberg.

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.

Piero, Pica, Lauren, and Weston threshing White Sonora Wheat. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Piero, Pica, Lauren, and Weston threshing White Sonora Wheat. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

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! 

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