Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Upcoming Event: Historic Walking Tour of the Santa Barbara Cemetery

Resignation by Ettore Cadorin (Petry)
I received the following announcement yesterday from David Petry.

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Historic Walking Tour of the Santa Barbara Cemetery with Historian, David Petry, author of The Best Last Place: a History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Sunday, May 30, 2010, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Rain or Shine!)
Meet at the Cemetery Chapel, 901 Channel Drive.
$25 per person. Pay at the door.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Mr. Petry's excellent history of the cemetery, The Best Last Place: A History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery, the book is discounted to $15 (retail $30). Payment in cash or personal check is accepted.

Issac Sparks marker, 1867. His initial
burial in a broken-down Westside
cemetery is the reason the Santa Barbara
Cemetery exists today. (Petry)
The Santa Barbara Cemetery is unique among cemeteries. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the cemetery is home to actors, industrialists, authors, musicians, sports stars, and many of the town’s founders and leaders. It was, for the duration of the Reagan presidency, the chosen site for the Reagan’s burial plot. The Cemetery Chapel is the only sacred structure designed by famed architect George Washington Smith; inside are the only completed murals of Mexican muralist Alfredo Ramos Martinez. Where most cemeteries are corporate-, church-, or government-owned, the Santa Barbara Cemetery is owned and operated by a nonprofit board whose by-laws were originally drafted in 1867.

But more importantly, the Santa Barbara Cemetery has transcended five separate incarnations: as a dusty and geometric town cemetery, as a rudely conceived rural cemetery, as a fitful lawn park cemetery, as an over-achieving memorial park, and as a local columbarium. The Santa Barbara Cemetery has embraced each of these phases and has built upon them, becoming in the end, a modern cemetery that is better than any of the models it followed.

The tour provides a brief history of the cemetery and a 1-mile walking tour to the most interesting gravesites and sections of the cemetery. See the burial sites of town leaders Charles Fernald and Thomas More Storke, actors Ronald Colman, Laurence Harvey, and his daughter Domino, murderer Cyrus Barnard, gold magnate Augustus Sahlberg, business founders Jheri Redding, Sam Battistone, David Nancarrow, and George Oscar Mayer. Among many others.

Get a $10 discount on the tour if you sign up for The Best Last Place group on Facebook!

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Mr. Petry's book or business in any way. I do have the book, and I think it is excellent.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a book I'd love to own and a cemetery I'd love to visit!