Saturday September 14th SBTHP staff hosted the United Way Day of Caring volunteers at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Maintenance Supervisor Eduardo Vallin, Executive Director Anne Petersen, Librarian Chris Ervin and I supervised approximately 32 volunteers doing numerous projects around the park. This year volunteers included several families, staff from Exxon/Mobil, and the Santa Barbara School of Squash. Eduardo supervised a group that whitewashed the Northwest Corner Defense Wall, tilled the soil beneath the Cañedo Orchard fruit trees, and cleaned and waxed the statue of King Carlos.
Anne directed a group of volunteers that took on the daunting task of cleaning and organizing of the Old Research Center library space. Chris oversaw the cleanup of the Presidio Research Center landscaping. Trees and shrubs were pruned all the way around the building to provide space for the HVAC equipment and to expose existing signage. I worked with a group of volunteers from Exxon/Mobil to complete the annual maintenance of our garden areas. Volunteers weeded, tilled, hauled mulch, pruned, and planted in the Presidio Heritage Gardens at the Northwest and Northeast Corners.
Thanks to the help of the generous United Way Day of Caring volunteers, SBTHP was able to accomplish critical maintenance projects to prepare the site for winter. We look forward to continuing this successful partnership between SBTHP and the United Way Santa Barbara volunteer community again next year.
In January of this year I reported that Channel Coast Corporation and David Tait Masonry completed laying the adobe bricks for a 60-foot section of the Northwest Corner defense wall. Once the bricks were laid to form the concrete bond beam at the top of the wall, it was Modern Concrete’s turn to climb the scaffolding to install reinforcing steel. On February 2nd the upper bond beam was poured and the gabled cap was formed.
On February 13th Cambron Roofing & Waterproofing arrived on site to begin installing a self-adhesive moisture barrier to the top of the concrete cap. Composition sheeting was rolled on the top of the wall before installing the tile cap. On February 17th Cambron laid the last of the tiles for the 60-foot section of wall and, for the first time since Northwest Corner construction began in 2005, visitors can appreciate the size and scale of the outer wall. This section of wall was completed thanks to generous contributions from the California Community Foundation, Williams-Corbett Foundation, Jackson Family Foundation, and the Ahmanson Foundation.
In the coming months, crews will plaster the wall and SBTHP volunteers will whitewash it. SBTHP is embarking on a major capital campaign to raise the funding necessary to complete the Northwest Corner Project. It is the primary goal of the SBTHP’s Restoration Committee to finish the Northwest Corner Project so that its completion can be celebrated in conjunction with SBTHP’s 50th anniversary in 2013.
In addition to the cost to pay for contractors to build the wall, the SBTHP must also raise money to make the adobe bricks necessary to finish the project. To date, more than 11,700 adobe bricks have been laid to build the Northwest Corner Visitor Center and the 60-foot section of defense wall. We still need 8,608 more adobe bricks to finish the job. If you would like to help support the making of 8,608 more adobe bricks to complete the project, please visit the buy-a-brick webpage here.
Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
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