What Chard Wrought
By Hattie Beresford   |   August 23, 2022

In the 1920s, American Santa Barbarans, enthralled with the mystique of Santa Barbara’s romantic Spanish past, set about preserving the rapidly-disappearing adobes. Ester Hammond purchased and paid for the preservation of the Hill/Carrillo Adobe, architect Louise McVhay completely renovated the Gonzalez/Ramirez adobe to reflect her vision of a romantic ranch house, and Irene and Bernhard […]

Arroyo Hondo Preserve, a Historical Touchstone
By Hattie Beresford   |   November 23, 2021

Above the riparian corridor of Arroyo Hondo, a bleak Daliesque landscape reveals the aftermath of October’s Alisal Fire. Chaparral that hadn’t burned in too many years fed the wind-driven fire into the canyon from the east. Despite the grazing program of sheep and cattle on the hills flanking both sides of the lower canyon, the […]

 

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Riding the Rails in Idaho
By Hattie Beresford   |   November 16, 2021

In mid-September, my husband Michael and I hit the road and traveled to Kellogg, Idaho, to ride the rails. Our locomotion, however, was pedal-powered and the iron rails had long been torn out, leaving behind two rail corridors: one of the Union Pacific Railroad and the other of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific […]

Viva Community Chorus and La Primavera
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 22, 2021

In 1919, Santa Barbarans had learned to work together for the war effort, and the time was ripe for a new era to begin, one that would start with the formation of a community chorus and blossom into a cultural renaissance. The community chorus idea had been borne of the idealism of the Progressive Era […]

Tale of the Hobo Artist: John Dwight Bridge Enters Existential Crisis That Leads Him Around the World
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 20, 2021

In the early 1920s, the artist John Dwight Bridge was a popular and important force in the cultural renaissance fostered by the Community Arts Association. Having proven himself in earlier productions of the Community Arts Players, he may have reached his apex when he took on the role of Nicola, the Bulgarian manservant in George […]

A Successful Prelude: John Dwight Bridge and his Impact on Santa Barbara’s Cultural Renaissance
By Hattie Beresford   |   May 13, 2021

The moon was nearly full that blustery March night in 1933, when a lone figure paused on the platform of Salina, Kansas, the closest train depot to the geographic center of the nation. Withdrawing the last of his money from a pocket of his corduroy trousers, he carefully placed the quarter and nickel on the […]

Marguerite Ravenscroft
By Hattie Beresford   |   April 22, 2021

Her friends remembered her as eccentric, fun-loving, and generous and called her Peggy. In the late Elane Griscom’s 1990 Montecito Magazine article about Marguerite Ravenscroft, Kit McMahon, then archivist of the Montecito Association History Committee, remembered that Peggy once gave a $50,000 loan to a friend from cash tucked away in various spots in her […]

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Founding the Granada Theatre
By Hattie Beresford   |   March 4, 2021

When Edward Johnson, principal stockholder of the Portola Theater Company, purchased the California Theatre on W. Canon Perdido Street in 1920, he envisioned a bright entertainment future for the town. At that time, there were only four movie houses, and one, the Strand Theatre, was being replaced by a motorcycle shop. By 1922, Johnson had […]

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church – Part 1
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 23, 2020

St. Paul’s has been nominated to become a Santa Barbara City historic landmark and is working toward State and National recognition as well. Organized by architect Robert Ooley, F.A.I.A., a group of volunteers has been gathering historic information about the church to support the nominations; I was lucky enough to be among them. The African […]

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The Incredible Jerry Forney
By Hattie Beresford   |   July 9, 2020

I have to say, when I first heard his story, it read like tall tale or legend, much like the stories of Paul Bunyan and John Henry. Bigger than life heroes, for sure; so the skeptical side of me decided to do some fact checking. What I discovered, despite the erroneous claim that he was […]

Montecito’s Latter Day Adobes
By Hattie Beresford   |   June 25, 2020

Isolated from most of my historical resources, I am turning to the work of those who have come before me, most especially, my friend and mentor, the late Maria Herold, longtime volunteer curator of the Montecito Association History Committee. Maria’s passion for the history of Montecito led her to walk every street, knock on every […]

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic Strikes Santa Barbara
By Hattie Beresford   |   April 2, 2020

Note to Readers: In 2007, when I wrote about the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic in Santa Barbara, I never thought its story would ever be timely and relevant to today. I am sorry to have been wrong. I offer it again for your curiosity, instruction, and hope. They got through it then, and we’ll get […]

The Hill-Carrillo Adobe
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 20, 2020

Old Relics Vanishing. One by one the old adobe houses, the ancient landmarks of Santa Barbara, are gradually vanishing and modern buildings are taking their places. There are certain memories that cling to these old places, some of which date back one hundred years, which to some must seem like the severance of old friends […]

Hill-Carrillo Adobe
By Hattie Beresford   |   February 20, 2020

Thomas C. Parker, president and director of Hutton Parker Foundation, really knows how to celebrate history, and he is willing to share. The Foundation has recently completed a multimillion-dollar restoration of the historic Hill-Carrillo Adobe and is offering the beautifully appointed building to non-profit groups for meeting space – for free! In addition, one wing […]

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