Celebrate Local Historical Women on International Women's Day

Celebrate Local Historical Women on International Women's Day title=
Celebrate Local Historical Women on International Women's Day
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By edhat staff

Every March 8th is International Women's Day. In honor of this important celebration, we're recognizing a few fascinating women in Santa Barbara's history. 

Here's a little background on the day. It was first organized as "Women's Day" on February 28, 1909, in New York. The following year, the International Socialist Woman's Conference suggested a Women's Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

This year's theme is "Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change."

Santa Barbara County is filled with strong women from our past to our present. Let's get to know a few of them.

Harriet Moody

Born in 1891, Moody was a local architect who designed distinctive Storybook Cottages throughout the 1930s that were affordable during the Great Depression. She built six of these cottages on Periwinkle Lane in Montecito, which brought orders for six more on Rosemary Lane.

Moody was known for using reclaimed building and decorating supplies due to World War II rationing which gave the cottages a unique feel. She often incorporated high ceilings, various storage areas to fit the irregular spaces, small gabled entryways, board and batten siding, canted corners, diamond-shaped window panes, wall dormers, and multiple roof types.

About three dozen of Moody's designs have been identified and many have been placed on the rolls of the Historic Landmarks Commission, such as the one at 170 Middle Road in Montecito. The Historic Landmarks Commission has been working with the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and Santa Barbara Planning Board to protect the close to three dozen homes known to have been built by her.

Bernarda Ruiz de Rodriguez

Born in Santa Barbara in 1802, Ruiz was instrumental in the Mexican-American War. During the war, 400 men led by Lt. Col. John C. Frémont took over Santa Barbara and made their base in a hotel next to Ruiz's home where they planned an attack on Los Angeles.

Ruiz asked to speak with Frémont knowing the Americans would likely win and she had many of her sons fighting. She spent several hours laying out a peaceful plan that would release prisoners, grant equal rights for all Californians, respect property rights, grant Mexican citizens the right to return to Mexico, and pardon Mexican Governor Andrés Pico.

Frémont was persuaded and met with Pico to draft the Treaty of Cahuenga based on Ruiz's plan. This became the basis of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which formally ended the Mexican–American War and ceded the Southwest to America.


To learn more about influential women in our history, join local historian Neal Graffy for his lecture on Powerful Women in Santa Barbara History at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum on March 27.

Now, take a little time to honor our current female leaders in Santa Barbara County. From our mayor Cathy Murrillo to State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and local women business owners, like edhat! 

Happy International Women's Day!

(Sources: wikipedia)

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