Pacific Ave And Cooper St 001 blog

Thu, Apr 04, 2024

Jessie Durant

Jessie Durant - Archives & Library Coordinator

Historic Preservation in Santa Cruz

Beyond its famed boardwalk and pristine beaches, Santa Cruz boasts a rich tapestry of history. Amidst the bustling modernity, the city stands as a beacon of historic preservation, safeguarding its cultural legacy for generations to come.

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Santa Cruz's commitment to preserving its historical treasures is evident in its diverse array of architectural landmarks. From the Victorian elegance of the houses that line Walnut Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz to the Mission style charm of Westview Presbyterian Church in Watsonville, each edifice serves as a testament to the city's past. These architectural gems not only enrich the cityscape but also offer a glimpse into the lives and aspirations of those who came before us.

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This year there are a number of important anniversaries being celebrated and exciting events happening throughout April and May. Two events not to be missed at the MAH are Race Through Time and the Historic Landmark Award Ceremony - we are bringing back these popular events to celebrate history and preservation. During Race Through Time (May 4th, 2024 12pm-4pm) groups participate in a fun and engaging scavenger hunt around town, while learning about significant and unique landmarks.

Beyond its architectural wonders, Santa Cruz is home to a vibrant community dedicated to preserving its intangible heritage. A number of community groups and government entities play a pivotal role in celebrating the cultural diversity and creativity that define Santa Cruz. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and community events, these institutions foster a deeper appreciation for the city's heritage and its significance in shaping the present.

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Additional happenings around town include:

  • The iconic Giant Dipper celebrates its 100th anniversary with much fanfare.

  • The exhibit “Little City Under Canvas” - The 150th Anniversary of Camp Capitola is on display at the Capitola Museum, and while you're down there you can honor the 100th anniversary of the Venetian Court and the 75th anniversary of the City of Capitola.

  • Tune in to the preservation episode of Exploring Santa Cruz on May 6th at 3:30pm on 90.7 KSQD where Historic Landmark Committee chair, Don Lauritson and committee member, Nathan Goodman talk to host Mathilde Rand about the history and importance of historic preservation in Santa Cruz.

  • The Annual Santa Cruz County History Fair happens on May 18th, 2024 12pm-4pm at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. Come engage with a number of the history organizations in town

  • Keep an eye out in the Sentinel for preservation themed articles from Ross Eric Gibson published on Mondays and Focal Point images on Sundays.

  • You can always pick up a copy of the latest edition of A Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, at the MAH online shop, in the Museum, or at Bookshop Santa Cruz, and go out on your own exploring the rich history all around us.

In the face of rapid urban development and evolving societal norms, the importance of historic preservation cannot be overstated. By honoring the past, we not only pay homage to those who came before us but also lay the foundation for a more connected and resilient future. In Santa Cruz County, this commitment to preservation serves as a reminder of the city's enduring spirit and the enduring value of our shared heritage. As we stroll through its storied streets and marvel at its architectural wonders, let us pause to appreciate the beauty of Santa Cruz's past and the promise it holds for tomorrow.