Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

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By Greg

Passing by the park, I faintly remember it was long time ago the setting for a low slung hotel, the hotel owner was prevented from rebuilding it as he wished then there were various plans for it to be apartments, site for an art museum,  then low cost housing, then it was vacant - who has a clearer memory of what’s happened over the years with this fine property?

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sbparksandrec Apr 16, 2019 09:33 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

What we have in our parks history book (100 Years of Santa Barbara City Parks, 1902-2002) is:

Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, previously the site of El Mirasol Hotel and one of the original Plaza Alameda blocks, is given to the City for use as a horticultural garden by Alice Keck Park.

Flicka Apr 16, 2019 10:00 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

The last development plan I remember was in the 1960s when a developer, I think Jerry Beaver, wanted to build 10 story condos there. It was a battle royal in Santa Barbara. Pearl Chase was one of the ones "to the rescue" of keeping it out. Thanks to Mrs. Park for her generosity. She didn't want her involvement announced until after her death.

a-1555434579 Apr 16, 2019 10:09 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

I believe you can see what was proposed at the CPA booth at Earth Day. I know last year they had the conceptual drawing of an 8 story building next to a photo of what Alice Keck Park Gardens look like today. Thank you Pearl Chase and that generation of residents who had the vision to keep high rises out of SB.

a-1555445803 Apr 16, 2019 01:16 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Warren Pierce was our instructor for an organic gardening class (Adult Ed), 1970. Classes took place at the large organic garden located at the SE corner of Chapala & Figueroa Sts. When the City came in to pave the garden and turn it into the parking lot it is today, Warren somehow moved operations over to Alice Keck Park Park (before Alice K. P. donated the property). I remember walking through the area and Warren had a considerable organic garden going on there. In particular, I remember the Passion fruit vine. It was the first Passion fruit I had seen in Santa Barbara (and I grew up here). Year? Some time in the early 70s. I recall that Estelle Busch, whose home on E. Arrellaga was 1/2 block from A. K. P. P. was a force to be reckoned with when it came to saving the land from the proposed hotel project. Sue Higman was involved as well. (You can read her obit in The Santa Barbara Independent.)

a-1555454555 Apr 16, 2019 03:42 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, NOT Alice Keck Park Park. Saying otherwise is as bad as saying Henry's Beach and San Andreas Street.

a-1555455693 Apr 16, 2019 04:01 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Hate to break it to you, but a lot of us locals (read: born and bred here) like to call it "Alice Keck Park Park." And we still call it Henry's and some people will never stop saying "San Andreas," just as they won't stop saying "Del la Vina." You can keep on saying "Goo-tee-ehr-rez" and I will say "Guh-tehr-ez." Just don't say "JUNE-ip-ehr-o." I can't stand that.

a-1555456017 Apr 16, 2019 04:06 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Sorry 4:01 - born and raised a few blocks from the park and we ALWAYS called it "Alice Keck Park." We did as kids, our parents did, and we do now when taking our kids there. We never had a problem figuring out what we were referring to, and no one we knew ever did either. Call it what you want, heck call ALL those things what you want, but true locals don't nitpick over everything, like Hendry's vs Henry's, etc... we all know where we're going to go hang out.

a-1555474370 Apr 16, 2019 09:12 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Seeing as how her surname was "Park," it only makes sense to add that extra "Park." "Memorial Garden" it may be, but you won't catch me yakking that one up.

bjgreen Apr 16, 2019 02:18 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

A large home was built on the site in 1904 for Mary Miles Herter. In 1914, it was turned into El Mirasol Hotel. You can read more about it and see some "then and now" photos
in the August chapter of "Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1914."

JoeG Apr 16, 2019 06:44 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

If a “Jerry Beaver” came along today with a giant development project in that spot I’d bet you a dime to a donut that City Hall would approve it, only if it came with mixed-use and insufficient parking.

Hammonds Hound Apr 17, 2019 06:47 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Alice Keck Park Park confusing like
The Child’s Estate Zoo... isn’t that the reason it’s now called the Santa Barbara Zoo?

a-1555511078 Apr 17, 2019 07:24 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

Is there truth to the story that the man who owned El Mirasol was unpopular and not permitted what he envisioned, which was much lower scale than proposed tall building?
Weren't there sketches made for our Art Museum to be there? No one's mentioning that chapter. And didn't the inheritance have to wait as it was discovered Alice Keck Park had a common law husband, so that was settled and meanwhile her investments in oil had increased hugely in price, making the inheritance for the park even bigger? It's vague - someone must have a better grasp on the details.

Flicka Apr 17, 2019 09:42 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

You can say "Henry's beach" if it somehow makes you feel good but it is not respectful to the Hendry family who farmed close by and hence, the nick name for Arroyo Burro beach". I can imagine it when the family lived there and residents said, "Let's go to the Hendry's beach".

a-1555522241 Apr 17, 2019 10:30 AM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

We today, are the residents & caretakers of the town.
If we want to say; Henry, Park, Sal-soup-e-teez etc, that's what we're gonna say.
Eisenhower ain't president.

Je2ry6 Apr 17, 2019 03:54 PM
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden History

The Memorial Gardens are nice, but I really miss the old El Mirasol. It had a beautiful saloon. It was a large quite room. The perfect place to relax after work with a friend and a dry martini. There wasn't any hubbub, crowds or loud music. You could even talk to someone without yelling.

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