It was likely for an occasion that has fixed in your memory. One spent celebrating one of life’s important rituals, perhaps a beautiful wedding ceremony with your loved ones, or to participate in the joyful sounds of a concert. Dating back to the late-18th century, the Presidio Chapel served as a central meeting place and place of worship for the first European settlers of Santa Barbara.
The doors are an iconic feature of El Presidio SHP, but after 34 years of use the doors are in need of major repairs due to the deterioration of the wood. More recently, one door has had to be propped up with modern hardware just to keep it up in place – illustrating the need for a permanent solution.
With your help, we can fund fabrication of two new custom-milled doors, hand-forged nails and door hardware, and the re-installation of the existing hand-forged lock. The total cost to replace the doors and hardware is $15,000 and we hope to complete the project this year.
Please consider a donation to restore the entrance doors to the Presidio Chapel so that Santa Barbarans, Californians, and visitors from all over the world can continue to enjoy this special place.
On June 8, 2019 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) hosted a Japanese film crew from NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. The crew is making a documentary film about Jukichi Oguri, a Japanese boatman who was lost at sea for 484 days before being picked up by the British ship Forester and brought to Rancho Refugio to convalesce. Oguri’s drift, according to the filmmakers, remains the longest in history to be survived. You can read more about this incredible story here.
The filmmakers brought in Japanese actor Hiroyuki Ikeuchi to narrate the film and help the audience imagine Oguri’s experiences. We met the crew in the Presidio Research Center for an interview with Executive Director Anne Petersen about life in the Santa Barbara area around 1815. The team asked questions about the Spanish colonization of California, restrictions on trade and foreign vessels, and Rancho Refugio.
historical interview, the crew met with SBTHP Board President Debby Aceves, a
descendant of José Francisco Ortega, first comandante of El Presidio
de Santa Barbara and the founding owner of Rancho Refugio. During Oguri’s visit,
Francisco’s son José María Ortega was likely in residence and in control, as José
Francisco died in 1798. Aceves and Ikeuchi had an informative conversation
during which Aceves showed the actor her genealogy chart, and her descent from
Ortega. She described the ranching economy that supported the Ortega family and
others during the mid-nineteenth century. At the end of their conversation,
Ikeuchi noted that it is interesting that Jukicki found Ortega 200 years ago,
and now here he was talking with a descendant today, also in Santa Barbara. Aceves
remarked that even though he and his crew today live an ocean away, maybe we
aren’t really all that far apart because they were able to find connection
today through this amazing story.
At SBTHP we believe that the knowledge and practice of history is vital to sustaining healthy individuals, communities and the nation. Our experience with this film crew and exploration of the incredible story of Jukichi Oguri demonstrate that connecting with each other and exploring our own past can produce a sense of common ground across geographic and language barriers, and across time itself. After their visit in Santa Barbara, the crew planned to travel to Sitka Alaska, to film at locations where Jikichi was taken on an otter trading vessel, before being brought back home to Japan. Adrift Across the Pacific will air in September 2019 on NHK Broadcasting.
Anne Petersen is the executive director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
On Thursday, May 2, 2019 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation partnered with Downtown Santa Barbara to welcome the Dos Pueblos High School (DPHS) Concert Band for a special 1st Thursday evening of live music under the stars in the Casa de la Guerra courtyard. The DPHS Concert Band includes high school students from various musical backgrounds, who learn a broad range of musical styles to enrich their musical repertoire. The DPHS Concert Band is under the direction of Mr. Dan Garske.
The band played three dynamic sets and attracted 1st
Thursday goers as well as many walking and driving by between 5-8pm. The broad-ranging
set list included a mix of theme songs from Star Wars. This special, free 1st
Thursday event began the band’s fundraising campaign to cover costs to send the
students to perform at Carnegie Hall in spring 2020.
Admission to the Casa de la Guerra museum was free during the program and the evening provided another opportunity for a special after hours showing of our temporary exhibit; The Anna S. C. Blake Manual Training School: The Remarkable Antecedent of UC Santa Barbara. The Blake exhibit was on loan from the UC Santa Barbara Library and displayed at Casa de la Guerra through May 31, 2019.
One of SBTHP’s core values is to provide a welcoming and accessible gathering place for Santa Barbarans and all who visit our community. Through our collaboration with Downtown Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos High School we were able to welcome many new faces to the Presidio Neighborhood. We look forward to partnering with the DPHS music programs again in the future.
Kevin McGarry is the Associate Director for Public Engagement at SBTHP.
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