The original San Salvador sailed up the coast of California in 1542 to aid Spain’s search for trade routes, and made the first European contact with many Native Californians. Though period ships are not available to inform the reproduction, the San Salvador team conducted exhaustive and fruitful research and used period appropriate tools and materials wherever possible.
The San Salvador’s permanent home is at the San Diego Maritime Museum, where it was constructed. SBTHP staff visited the ship during one of three stops on its first excursion, which also included Monterey and Morrow Bay. We are assured that the ship will be traveling again in 2017, maybe to a port near you! If you are able to see it you will not be disappointed. It is an experience not to be missed.
This year the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) once again hosted an entry in the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade on August 5, 2016. This year’s group, like last year’s included a strong contingent of Presidio descendants representing Santa Barbara’s founding families. The descendants were coordinated by SBTHP Genealogy and Descendants Committee Member and Docent Suzi Calderon Bellman. Several docents from La Purisima Mission State Historic Park also participated, along with staff and docents of SBTHP. From all reports, ours was one of the largest walking entries in this year’s parade! For more images of the parade entry by Suzi Calderon Bellman, Rocky Bellman and Michael Imwalle visit our Flickr Album here.
During the I Madonnari festival, this year held from May 28 to May 30 2016, color and imagination bring the parking lot of Old Mission Santa Barbara to life. A kaleidoscope of 150 scenes created by local—and international—artists cover the pavement in a festival borrowed from Italy but perfectly suited to Santa Barbara’s love for art, music, food, and community fun.
This year I had the privilege to paint a square representing the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Hitsoric Park, and wondered how exactly to illustrate the site’s Spanish Colonial heritage for the average of 25,000 visitors who attend. The finished product brought together a number of inspirations I had picked up during my research and time as an education intern with the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, focusing on the people of Spanish and Mexican California and the art and music with which they beautified their world.
The soldado playing guitar was based on pictures of living history docents at the Santa Barbara Presidio, performing traditional Spanish songs for dancing. In the scene I painted, he is playing next to a woman who was based loosely on a portrait of Francisca de la Guerra. Though born in the mid-nineteenth century, and not the colonial Spanish period the soldado represents, as a member of the prominent de la Guerra family she kept Spanish heritage alive throughout her life, and was known to particularly love Spanish folk songs. I altered the portrait somewhat to have her sewing an altarpiece for the Presidio chapel, which was inspired by the painstaking crafts performed by soldier’s wives and other women of Spanish and Mexican California, and the beautiful floral designs festooning altar cloths, shawls, and paintings. An image of St. Barbara with her characteristic tower is also present on the altar cloth, and Presidio architecture is visible in the background.
I enjoyed this opportunity to try to bring some of Santa Barbara’s past occupants and their stories to life, and felt privileged to be part of an event where artists bring together stories as varied and vibrant as our community!
Dana Hughes is a UCSB graduate student in the History Department and a 2015 Higman Intern.
Now when 2016 came about I knew right away what I wanted to do. In August 2015 I had a Pico Family Reunion and I had turned the Pico Adobe into a museum. That’s where I got the idea to do the same for the Descendants of the Presidio. It is true when it was said “Third Time is the Charm.”
The Museum (a room in the Northwest Corner of the Presidio) was set up to included everyone’s ancestors. It was a room that shared just how everyone was connected to the founding of Santa Barbara.
Seventy-seven years ago the Native Daughters’ Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126 had Descendants honor their Pioneer Families. That was 31 July 1939 during the Pre-Fiesta Tea. On 23 April 2016, during the 234th commemoration of the birthday of Santa Barbara, It was the Descendants of 2016′ turn to honor the Descendants of 1939 who were honoring the Pioneer Families of Santa Barbara. This time we had Calderon, Carlon, Cota, Cordero, Garcia, German, Lopez, Pico, Romero, Valenzuela, Valdez and many more. That picture turned out wonderful!
As each descendant entered the “Video Room” I had them sign a book and then I took their picture while they were facing a mirror. I then asked them “Who is your favorite ancestor?” That’s where I captured some wonderful expressions!
Click through to our Flickr album here to see the photo’s of the Happy Descendants of the Presidio de Santa Barbara!
Suzi Calderon Bellman is a Presidio family descendant and a member of SBTHP’s Genealogy and Descendant’s Committee.
We began our work in the garden by clearing out the dead plants from last season. Since we started, we have planted Fava beans, Christmas Lima beans, Kentucky Wonder green beans, artichokes, carrots, radishes, broccoli, onions, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, and a variety of herbs.
The Santa Barbara Presidio Heritage Garden produces phenomenal produce. Every day we enjoy fresh juicy oranges. The broccoli was more delicious than anything you could find at the store. The loquats are also the intern’s favorite afternoon snack to enjoy in the sun.
The job has its hazards. Especially when the wind picks up and creates a dust storm in front of the Presidio. Lauren was almost hit with a sign. We all returned to school with dirt in their shirts, hair, and teeth. We have so much fun as interns, that even when Ray falls in a cactus, he still wants to come back.
Several years ago, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation received a donation of papers from longtime member and volunteer Elizabeth Hvolboll featuring the musical program reenacted every December at the Presidio and Casa de la Guerra called “Las Posadas.” The collection of sheet music and lyrics makes up the entire repertoire of El Coro del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara, the local group that celebrates and performs music of the Californios, founded by Elizabeth Hvolboll and Luis Moreno. Besides many individual songs for “Las Posadas” and Christmas, there are another 50 folders of folk and mission music that the group has performed over the years.
This collection complements other materials in the Presidio Research Center, such as the Early California Music audio collection. Some of the artists represented are The John Biggs Consort of California Mission Music, Musica Antigua de Alta California, and Elizabeth Hvolboll performing in the Chapel. The Research Center also has a number of songs, songbooks, and articles about California and Spanish music in the vertical files.
The guide to the El Coro del Real Presidio de Santa Barbara collection can be viewed in the Online Archive of California, along with other Research Center collections. To make an appointment to use the Research Center, please contact Laurie Hannah at 805-965-2004.
Laurie Hannah is the librarian at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
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.
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.