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FALL 2013


ranchReview news For Members & Supporters of the Goleta Valley Historical Society, Stewards of Rancho La Patera & Stow House

A Modern Woman

Anne Stow Fithian Equally as influential as the Stow sons in the field of horticulture was eldest daughter, Anne Stow Fithian. A modern woman for her times, Anne divorced her husband, Joel Fithian, of 17 years (of Carpinteria) in 1912 and became independent of her family. Following the garden interests of her mother, Ida Hollister Stow, and her grandfather, W. W. Stow – a California State legislator who was instrumental in the design and building of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park – Anne became a landscape architect.

succulent gardens and lived until her death.

Direct From The Director [T]here is a harmony In autumn, and a luster in its sky... ~Percy Bysshe Shelley I must admit I love this time of year! And a busy year it has been! We are thrilled to be returning Rancho La Patera to its historic grandeur of the early 20th century with our Arboretum Restoration Project. There is still much work to do to complete this project that has been 6 years in the making. Stay tuned for opportunities to support this important undertaking. I am pleased to welcome and Maureen Belle, Education Coordinator and Tom Melody, Caretaker, to our GVHS family.

Anne was instrumental in the design of the world-famous Oakleigh Thorne home and gardens, Las Tejas, in Montecito. She was given an acre on the Oakleigh Thorne estate, where she helped to design and build a cottage. This small estate, still called Anne’s Acre, is where she planted extensive

Anne was a prolific author on gardens, focusing on native plants and succulent gardens in the mid 1920s. Publications included House and Garden and many horticultural pamphlets for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Additionally, Anne managed the legendary El Encanto Hotel in the 1920s, playground of the rich and famous in Hollywood’s Golden Age. ~ Maureen Belle, Education Coordinator Images: Anne Stow Fithian (1919), GVHS Collection Las Tejas, Courtesey Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Source: A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era, Robin Karson

We look forward to seeing you at our annual Holiday at the Ranch celebration with Santa and his reingoats. Bring the family, enjoy holiday goodies, and join in the festive atmosphere that welcomes in the most wonderful time of the year! On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, thank you for all you do to support us as we continue our stewardship of this beloved historic gem in the heart of the Goleta Valley. Cheers, Amanda De Lucia, Director

collections News

Hill Furniture Restored

Above: Furniture prior to restoration Below: On display in the Stow House

Thank you to the Hill-Cederlof family for their contribution towards the restoration of the furniture collection.

The Goleta Valley Historical Sociey is pleased to announce a new addition to its collection. A late 19th century walnut bedroom set with ornate hand-carved designs is now at home in the ‘Girls Room’ at Stow House. The walnut groves abounded in the early ranching days of Goleta Valley so it is not surprising that the bed, dressing table and end table are made of rich walnut wood. The set, donated by Mark Cabot, step-cousin to GVHS board member Robin Hill Cederlof, has made quite a journey since it resided in her grandparents’ home on their Goleta ranch, Rancho Palmas Quenta (Twin Palm Ranch). On July 4, 1874, George Washington and Rhoda Hill and their six children arrived in Goleta Bay. They, like many other settlers, were drawn to California by the tales of bounty and opportunity in the west. Having sold their farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, George quickly set out to buy land and purchased 60 acres of Rancho La Goleta (today bound by Fairview Avenue and Encina Road). Hill built a large farmhouse for his family and planted many acres of walnut trees and other crops.

Rancho La Patera is open every Saturday and Sunday, with docent-led tours of the Stow family home at 2pm and 3pm. General admission is $8, age 12 and under are free. Complimentary admission for GVHS members. Admission includes entry into the Stow House, Ranchyard and History Education Center.

Welcome New Members! Mrs. Stephen Boyle Leslie Hogan & John Rickey Gerd & Peter Jordano Suzanne McBride Kimberly Schizas Barbara & William Wood


estate. Cabot, who lives in Sweden, did not want to keep the set, and thinking that it had belonged to the Daniel Hill family, he wanted to donate it to GVHS. While in Goleta to settle his father’s estate Cabot and his sister Lynne met with Robin, GVHS Director Amanda De Lucia, and Joan Rakowski. As the Cabot siblings shared their childhood memories of visiting the Hill ranch, Robin realized they were not describing the Daniel Hill family ranch but Robin’s own family’s ranch. It removed any doubt when they mentioned riding horses name “Poco” and “Trudy.” The bedroom set she viewed was painted antique white and the bed’s ornate topper had been removed; it was not as she remembered.

Through a generous donation by the Hill family, professional restoration by Randy Viscarra, owner of Viscarra’s Furniture Refinishing in Goleta, revealed the rich colored walnut bed of Robin’s childhood memory. GVHS staff and volunteers readied the Stow House Girls’ Room for the bedroom set’s arrival. The Hill furniture now resides in the Stow House down the hall from the Sexton Room which also Growing up, Robin lived on the Hill has a walnut bedroom set with orranch with her famnate hand-carved ily and has fond memodesigns. There are ries her grandparents’ strong design simibeautiful bedroom set. “It may be impossible to larities between After her grandfather’s say for sure who created the Sexton and Hill death in 1954, followed bedroom sets and the beautiful furniture it makes one wonby her step-grandmother but it does spark one’s der if both could Ruth’s death in 1966, their furniture was passed on imagination.” have been handto Ruth’s daughter Evelyn made by a Sexton Wongerman Cabot, who family member was married to Santa Barknown for their furbara accountant Jack Cabot. The two niture making skills. Since there are no families became estranged and Robin identifying signatures on the furniture didn’t see the set again until recently. it may be impossible to say for sure, but it does spark one’s imagination. Fast forward to 2012, when an unexpected call from Mark Cabot - Karen Ramsdell, President revealed that he had been left an antique bedroom set in his father’s

We Love The Goodland

“As a photographer, the Stow House & Lake Los Carneros Preserve never disappoint my artistic pursuits and imaginings. I have been taking my children here for years to explore the gardens, ride on the train, look for bobcats, and imagine what it would have been like to live in the Stow House. How lucky we are to have such gems in our city!”

Right: Children Enjoying The Ellwood Bluffs by Hillary Long

People news

Welcome! New Education Coordinator Maureen Belle, MA has had a lifelong passion for history, architecture and education. Maureen earned an undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture/ Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Master’s Degree in Education. She has served on committees and non-profit boards for many years and has had the opportunity to work with many wonderful volunteers. During her career, Maureen has had oversight of construction, remodels and maintenance of historic buildings and grounds, specializing in green and sustainable design. Maureen has been an educator for over two decades and has developed training activities and curriculum, specializing in online education. She is busy welcoming new 3rd grade students to the Society’s education program, Pioneer Days. Welcome Maureen!

volunteer opportunities

Love History?

GVHS is seeking new volunteers for a variety of program opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, see “behind the scenes” at Rancho La Patera, give back to your community and have fun. Ranch Hands help organize, preserve, and protect the collections. Ranch Docents bring history alive to guests as they experience the ambiance of the early 1900s. Seasonal Ranch Hands help with our events. A fun-loving, great attitude is the only requirement! Wranglers guide and assist children in the Pioneer Days Program, our unique experience for 3rd graders.

Spring Appeal Catherine Cavaletto Robin & Reid Cederlof Janice Cloud Anne & James Elwell Theodore Erler Sandy Filippello Brenda & Michael Gartzke Barbara Giorgi & Family Rose Ann Hill Denise E. Lockhart Phebe Mansur Arlene & William Radasky Shirley Roby Robert Sorich John Shute JoAnne Treloar Cecilia Villines Elizabeth Brooks & Rick Wolf

Thank you!

Above: Imagination by Margie Ryckman

Hundreds of local residents of all ages submitted photos for our latest exhibit, Capturing The Goodland: Picturing The Beauty & History of the Goleta Valley. Thanks to all who shared their talents and thought-provoking sentiments of life, love and history this year. Be inspired when you visit the collection of images at the Ranch (or our second installation at the City of Goleta Council Chambers) before the end of the year.

Donation list reflects contributions received April through October 2013

Gift in Memory of Mario Borgatello Robin Cederlof Gift in Memory of Melinda Cavalletto Barbara Giorgi Gift in Memory of Sam Fong Anne & Guido Stempel Gift in Memory of Ralph Goode JoAnne Treloar Gift in Memory of Marie Govean Robin Cederlof Gifts in Memory of Betty Stronach Kelley Rose Ann Hill Robin Cederlof

Contact Maureen at 681-7216 x3

Gifts in Memory of Joseph A. Kunze Robin Cederlof JoAnne Treloar

Spring Appeal Donations .Catherine Cavaletto Robin & Reid Cederlof Janice Cloud Theodore Erler Sandy Filippello Brenda & Michael Gartzke Barbara Giorgi & Family Rose Ann Hill Denise E. Lockhart Phebe Mansur Arlene & William Radasky Shirley Roby Robert Sorich John Shute JoAnne TreloarSpring Appeal Donations

Gift in Memory of Frank Mori Robin Cederlof Gifts in Memory of Laura Rutten Robin Cederlof Barbara Cornish Gift in Memory of Barbara Sexton JoAnne Treloar Gift in Memory of Lynn Foster Sexton JoAnne Treloar Foundation Support Hutton Parker Foundation The Towbes Foundation Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation Wood-Claeyssens Foundation


Thank you to the City of Goleta for their support.

More Great News!

A New Exhibit at the Sexton House

Joan Rakowski To Be Honored

In June, a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Arboretum Restoration Project. Several years of meticulous inventory, documentation, and landscape design took place before the construction groundbreaking earlier this year. If you have not been to the ranch lately, we encourage you to wander through the new pathways and experience the restored gardens.

Joan Rakowski, GVHS’ Volunteer Extraordinaire, will be honored as Volunteer of the Year by the Goleta Valley Chamber at Goleta’s Finest on November 21 at Bacara Resort & Spa. Joan was nominated for her 25 years as a GVHS volunteer, along with her years as a teacher and her work on behalf of Saint Mark’s Parish, which are just a few of the wonderful things she does for the Goleta Valley. For ticket info, contact

Great Holiday Gift Ideas

A New Roof for Stow House! Thank you City of Goleta, our partners in preservation, for the beautiful new roof and to architect Dwight Gregory, and historian Ron Nye, for lending their expertise to this important project.

Save The Dates Holiday at the Ranch
 December 14 & 15 11:00 am - 4:00 pm $5 Adults/ $2 Kids Join us for our annual open house and explore the beautifully decorated Stow House. Volunteers are needed for this festive weekend at the Ranch. Annual Meeting of the Membership
 January 26 4:30 pm Mosher Alumni House, UCSB Get up to date on the latest Society news and and help us honor this year’s award nominees. For more information contact

©Goleta Valley Historical Society - All rights reserved

From The Museum Store

GVHS is pleased to announce the installation of the Joseph Sexton Family exhibit at the historic Sexton House located at 5490 Hollister Avenue. The display of photographs and artifacts honors the Joseph Sexton family who settled in Goleta in 1872. Sexton went on to establish one of California’s widely known plant nurseries. He introduced numerous plant species and provided many trees and ornamentals for Santa Barbara gardens. The Sextons commissioned prominent Santa Barbara architect Peter Barber to design their Italientestyle house. In 1990 the house and the specimen gardens were restored as part of the Pacifica Suites Hotel grounds. Special recognition to GVHS volunteer Joan Rakowski for the exhibit design and installation and to Pacifica Suites for hosting the exhibit. To view this exhibit, please call (805) 683-6722. Visit the hotel front desk for access into the Sexton House.

Arboretum Phase I Complete

The Year-At-A-Glance calendar features local citrus label art. Printed on museum grade paper with archival inks, the calendar comes pre-matted and ready to insert into a standard 18”x24” frame, $20

Board of Directors Karen Ramsdell, President Robin Cederlof, 1st Vice President Tom Blabey, 2nd Vice President Peter Goodell, Treasurer

 Connie Burns, Secretary Catherine Cavaletto, Historian

 Kathleen Boomer, Ed.D. Dwight Gregory, A.I.A. Vicki Kornahrens Dan Marchiando Kim Schizas Rick Wolf

Advisory Board Mike Edwards, Esq. Gil Garcia, A.I.A. Kim Kimbell, Esq. Larry Miller, Jr. Fermina Murray Ron Nye, Ph.D. Ida Rickborn Jennifer Tice, Esq. David Van Horne, Esq. Katie Van Horne

Staff Amanda De Lucia, Director Maureen Belle, Education Coordinator

 Dacia Harwood, Events Coordinator Tom Melody, Caretaker Roberto Renteria, Gardener

Goleta Valley Historical Society

304 North Los Carneros Road - Goleta - California - 93117 805.681.7216 Education ~ Preservation ~ Community

GVHS Newsletter Fall 2013  
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