by Mike Imwalle
The Buenaventura Pico adobe is a hidden gem within El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The Mexican-period adobe is unique in that it was designed with a relatively steep-pitched shingle roof rather than the typical low-pitched tile roof popular in the Spanish period adobes that preceded it. Despite the fact that for years you could see the sun shine through the plank sheathing from the inside, it had never leaked. Nevertheless, the 30-year old cedar shingle roof had to be replaced, and in September 2010 SBTHP‘s Restoration Committee made a priority of seeking funds to make it happen. The adobe is a City of Santa Barbara Landmark and is frequently used for SBTHP Board meetings, staff meetings, receptions, and occasionally by other community organizations. In July of this year one of those organizations, the Pearl Chase Society, generously got the fundraising ball rolling with a gift of $5,000 towards the new roof.
Additional donations from David and Louise Borgatello, Mary Louise Days, Michael and Nancy Gifford,and Montecito Bank & Trust completed the fundraising effort and I began seeking bids from roofing contractors. Casa Roofing was selected as the successful bidder and after completing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review through State Parks, the project of replacing the cedar shingles was scheduled to begin in November of this year.
On November 15th the crew from Casa Roofing began carefully stripping the weathered shingles. The underlying paper was nearly disintegrated but the sheathing was in remarkably good condition. After doing some minor dry rot repair on a porch roof rafter and some fascia boards, the adobe was ready for the new roof. After a short weather delay and minor permitting issue was resolved, they quickly nailed on a layer of 1/2-inch plywood and covered it with a fiberglass cap. New pressure-treated cedar shingles were finally delivered on December 14th and the crew began installing them the next day. A large debt of gratitude is owed to the donors that made this possible, to SBTHP Director Don Sharpe for his assistance with the permitting process, and to Richard, Lorraine, and the crew from Casa Roofing for making this possible. Hopefully this roof will provide shelter for the adobe for another thirty years and it will continue to serve the community as a meeting place for generations to come!
Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.