The Pearl Chase Society has provided leadership in Santa Barbara’s historic preservation community for decades. Our inspiration comes from our namesake, Pearl Chase, who stated, “You have to read, listen, think and decide about many important matters. Be careful about what you say. Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
The Pearl Chase Society has a long history of educating the public and working with officials to protect historic resources in Santa Barbara and beyond. Through clearly and carefully articulated advocacy based on research, experience, and a profound respect for the historic tradition of civic participation, the Pearl Chase Society stands tall in the Santa Barbara community.
Dating back to our founding in 1995, our collaborative work with other organizations and support of their projects, as well as the initiation of our own, has successfully helped maintain the unique character of Santa Barbara through the decades. Below is a summary of our projects over time
- Successfully campaigned for the incorporation of historic storefronts into Santa Barbara Museum of Art renovation.
- Organized City Street Photography Project.
- Led first Santa Barbara celebrations of National Preservation Weeks.
- Led initial “Save Franceschi House” Campaign.
- Campaigned for State remediation of toxic soil under the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
- Successfully opposed the installation of the proposed Mission traffic roundabout at Alameda Padre Serra and East Los Olivos streets.
- Collaborated with City of Santa Barbara in Waterfront Historic Resources Survey.
- Named a permanent member of the City’s Franceschi Park Master Plan Advisory Committee.
- Co-sponsored “Chamber Music in Historic Sites.”
- Hosted California Preservation Conference, “A Blueprint for Preservation.”
- Led Santa Barbara Preservation Days.
- Supported Lompoc Victorian Homes Tour.
- Planned and hosted the community dinner and birthday celebration of Pearl Chase’s 125th birthday, including a one-performance-only one-act play starring many members of the historic community as well as the then-Mayor Helene Schneider.
- Provided partial funding for the restoration of the historic Pico Adobe, a City Landmark that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Funded complete restoration of the fountain at La Casa de Maria.
- Supported proper rehabilitation of the historic Juarez-Hosmer Adobe, a County Historic Landmark in Montecito.
- Partially funded the future restoration of Casa De Maria’s stained-glass windows in the chapel, which were damaged in the Debris Flow of January 2018.
During the shutdown due to the global pandemic, the activities of the Pearl Chase Society were greatly curtailed. Nevertheless, the Board continued to meet regularly via the internet, and once again began in-person meetings in late 2022. Although our inability to meet face-to-face—or host the annual Historic Homes Tour, (refer to HHT page) which is our primary source of fundraising—we have continued our commitment to creating and supporting projects of note. A snapshot includes the following:
Installation of a commemorative plaque interpreting the portrait of Pearl Chase that is on display at the Recreation Center on Carrillo Street. The Pearl Chase Society previously funded the restoration and reframing of the portrait presented to Pearl Chase on her 90th birthday.
Received items that belonged to Pearl Chase, including her custom cowboy boots, leather-bound guestbook, and numerous historic photos from her collection.
- Monitoring the City’s plans for re-imagining the historic De la Guerra Plaza and State Street, as well as continuing the tradition of submitting letters and testifying at appropriate times and places.
- Created an online archive of The Capital, dating back to the beginning of the Pearl Chase Society, as contained in this website, here
- We are currently working with the Earthquake Centennial committee and preparing for the Pearl Chase Society’s contribution to this community-wide effort to commemorate the 1925 Earthquake in June of 2025.