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Golden Anniversary of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Articles: Golden Anniversary of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

A former newspaperman and college administrator, the author, in retirement, is active on behalf of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
The story goes that one day in 1926 a small group of influential Santa Barbarans were enjoying an outing at their favorite Mission Canyon picnic spot when they saw signs indicating that the area was about to be “developed” by a subdivider. Within days, Mrs. Anna Dorinda Blaksley Bliss purchased thirteen acres near the Mission Dam in the canyon, endowed it with a memorial trust fund honoring her father Henry Blaksley, and the internationally known Santa Barbara Botanic Garden was “born.” Records indicate that Dr. Frederic E. Clements of the Carnegie Institution of Washington had first advanced the idea of a botanical garden in Mission Canyon. The first Director was Dr. Elmer J. Bissell, who supervised the original installation.

Mission Dam, built in 1806 by Chumash Indians across Mission Creek, is now part of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Photograph by David Muench.

Whether this account of its beginnings is apocryphal or not, the Garden is now celebrating its Golden...

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