iSociety: Rochelle Rose

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation celebrated 51 years as a nonprofit organization at its Annual Meeting and Community Awards Presentation held Jan. 18, in the Presidio Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, 123 E. Canon Perdido.

There was abundant blue sky and warm temperatures for the afternoon meeting, which featured a review of the 2013 Annual Report and election of new trustees. 2013 was a significant year as SBTHP observed its 50th anniversary with several special events, celebrations, lectures and other activities in observance of its founding in 1963 by Pearl Chase.

The vision of the organization’s founders was to restore Santa Barbara’s Spanish Presidio, reclaim Santa Barbara’s birthplace, and preserve Santa Barbara County history for future generations. SBTHP now works to preserve, restore, reconstruct and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County with continuing education, activities and exhibits and to foster an appreciation for the community’s distinct history.

After the formal President’s Report by John Poucher and the Treasurer’s Report by Terease Chin, Aaron Robertson, chief deputy director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, spoke to the assemblage.

“We have 150 years of history at California’s state parks,” Robertson said. “The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is a model partner with us. It can’t be underestimated the treasure that you have here.”

Longtime Executive Director Jarell Jackman, Ph.D., outlined the 2013 achievements with a numerical theme.

“In the past 50 years, we have spent $20 million on capital projects,” Jackman said. “We have realized $10 million in net assets. We have made 100,000 adobe bricks; we have tabulated 75,000 volunteer hours. We have planted 2,000 olive trees at the Santa Ynes Mission Hills property, which will produce 1,200 bottles of olive oil — and I don’t know what we will do with 1,200 bottles of olive oil! And we harvested 600 pounds of grapes right here at the Presidio property in Santa Barbara.”

In addition, the outer perimeter wall of the Presidio’s northwest corner was completed in November. The wall contains 1,600 adobe bricks all made on site.

The silver anniversary celebration included the Reception for Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.

This year, SBTHP presented the prestigious Pearl Chase Historic Preservation and Conservation Award to Timothy Aguilar for his expertise and commitment to building adobe bricks for the reconstruction of the Presidio Northwest Corner. The annual lifetime achievement award is bestowed on a deserving community member or organization dedicated to the values that Chase stood for in the fields of historic preservation and conservation.

The 2013 George and Vivian Obern Preservation Stewardship Award was presented to the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation. This award was named in honor of George and Vivian Obern in 2006 for their lifelong preservation work, including their successful efforts to save the Thomas Hope House (built 1875, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978), condemned by Santa Barbara County, but saved by the Oberns. The award was accepted by Bill Mahan and Tim O’Keefe.

SBTHP recognized Jeanne Davis with the Sue Higman Volunteer of the Year Award. Davis created a plaque commemorating the Nov. 15 visit by Spain’s Prince Felipe of Asturias to Santa Barbara. The plaque will be placed on the future Presidio Donor Wall. This award is given to an individual or individuals who have made outstanding contributions of their time to SBTHP over the course of a year. Established in 2010, the award is named in honor of longtime SBTHP supporter and friend, Sue Higman.

Certificates of appreciation were awarded to the colorfully uniformed “soldados,” who represent Presidio soldiers at many SBTHP functions. David Martinez accepted the award and said, “I accept this award on behalf of soldados, some who are no longer with us, from all the Spanish Colonial presidios in the Southwest.”

The Jim and Sue Higman Internship Award went to Mika Thornburg, who graduated from UC Santa Barbara last June. Thornburg was a dedicated volunteer for many months while a student. She will continue very important archeological, archiving and display work as a paid intern.

Sponsored in part by Montecito Bank & Trust, the afternoon concluded with an outdoor reception in the Presidio Northwest Corner, where guests could take a peek at the new reconstruction project in progress and learn about the Buy-A-Brick Campaign.

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation works to protect, preserve, restore, reconstruct and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County. SBTHP operates El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park — Santa Barbara’s 18th-century birthplace — under a unique agreement with California State Parks.

SBTHP recently purchased the neighboring building that housed Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, providing an opportunity to interpret the history of Santa Barbara’s Asian American community in the Presidio Neighborhood. SBTHP also owns and operates Casa de la Guerra, the 1820s home of Presidio Comandante José de la Guerra and his family. The restored home is now a museum featuring original furnishings and rotating exhibits.

The SBTHP recently signed an agreement with State Parks to manage and develop the Santa Inés Mission Mills, located near the town of Solvang, as a future California State Park. Click here for more information, or contact Christa Clark Jones at 805.966.1279 or

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation trustees, members and guests assemble for the organization's annual team photo. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation trustees, members and guests assemble for the organization’s annual team photo. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)