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L O C A L   E V E N T

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Santa Barbara Cemetery Walking Tour
Saturday October 31, 2009
10:00 AM

Visit Santa Barbara's past with historian, David Petry, author of The Best Last Place: a History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Saturday , October 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Rain or Shine!)

Meet at the Cemetery Chapel, 901 Channel Drive. $15 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, the book is discounted to $15 (retail $50). Payment in cash or personal check is accepted.

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.

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