The Getty Awards Campus Heritage Grant to UC Santa Cruz

Long before the first student ever set foot on campus, the land now home to UC Santa Cruz was the hub of a booming limekiln business that filled ships bound for San Francisco and beyond. Before that, Native Americans known as Costanoans settled the area.

Capturing and preserving this colorful history is the goal of a $100,000 campus heritage grant for 2004 awarded by the Getty to UC Santa Cruz. The grant will allow the campus to inventory its historic resources and nominate the area around the campus entry to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Known as the Cowell Ranch historic district, the section includes the old ranch house, cook house, granary, and what remains of the cooperage and limekilns.

"We're enormously grateful to the Getty for giving us the opportunity to understand and document the rich cultural history of the lands that UC Santa Cruz has occupied for over 40 years, and we're especially honored to be among the distinguished campuses that the trust has assisted during the three years of its Campus Heritage Initiative," said campus architect Frank Zwart. Both the university and our surrounding Santa Cruz community will be much richer thanks to the Getty's generous investment."

The grant is one of 25 Campus Heritage awards nationwide, and caps a longtime campus effort to gain historical recognition. Getty's Campus Heritage Initiative, begun in 2002, have awarded more than $7 million to more than 50 colleges and universities in a nationwide effort to preserve historic buildings, sites, and landscapes. The Getty is one of the largest philanthropic supporters of visual arts in the country and a leader in conservation and research in its field.

"We're very excited," said John Barnes, director of campus planning at UC Santa Cruz. "The Getty's support is going to help us a lot in terms of understanding what resources we have on campus, and in gaining more visibility for some of the structures we have at the entrance to campus. We actually are sitting on a very culturally significant site here."

Barnes will direct the historical recognition effort, but faculty members and students-as interns and through independent-study classes-are also expected to play a major role in the research. Barnes plans to work with art history/visual culture professor Virginia Jansen, who teaches courses on the history of UC Santa Cruz campus planning and the history of American campus planning, as well as assistant professor Sheila Crane of History of Art and Visual Culture, who specializes in modern architectural history.

"The University of California at Santa Cruz is renowned for its beautiful campus," says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Grant Program. "The Getty is delighted to support the university's outstanding effort to study and preserve its important historic sites as it plans for the future development of the campus."

The grant will fund:

. Completion of an evaluation of cultural resources in and around the district

. Writing of a plan to manage the cultural resources in the district

. Nomination of the district to the state and federal historic registers

. Compilation of a campuswide inventory of cultural resources, including Native American sites.

The California State Office of Historic Preservation will serve as the reviewing agency for the Cowell Ranch Historic District Evaluation, the Cowell Ranch Historic District National Register Nomination, and the UCSC Cultural Resources Inventory report. Barnes estimated the work would take nine months to a year to complete.

"I'm hoping it will add another layer to the story of the campus as a whole, which I think has not been fully understood to date," said Barnes. "It's part of what makes the Santa Cruz region unique."

It was in the mid-1800s that lime production was a thriving industry in Santa Cruz County, and limestone-processing kilns-clearing the nearby forest for fuel-were constructed on what is now the campus. By the late 1800s, the Davis and Cowell Lime Company encompassed 12,000 acres and was the largest operation of its kind on the West Coast, making Henry Cowell the richest man in the county.

Cowell died in 1903, and a few years later the kiln was closed as demand for lime-used in building materials-decreased. The property was leased for grazing, and a "gentleman's ranch" on the property continued into the 1950s.

Negotiations began in 1961 with the S. H. Cowell Foundation to purchase more than 2,000 acres of the property for a new University of California campus; classes began in 1965.

Today, several buildings from the ranch's limekiln heyday have found new life in academia. The old ranch house-its formal entry gate on High Street restored in 2002-is now the Women's Center. The Granary is a childcare center, the Cook House is home to the Admissions Office, and thr University Relations Division has replaced the horses in the Carriage House.

While some of these sites are in good repair, others are deteriorating. "Unfortunately, the more difficult buildings to adaptively reuse, including the Cooperage, limekilns, Stone House, and Hay Barn, have become victims of time and neglect," Barnes wrote in the grant proposal. "Listing of the district and completion of the management plan would allow the campus to raise additional funds to preserve these important historic structures within the framework of an overall plan."

Researching the area's history will also be helpful as work proceeds on the 2005-2020 Long Range Development Plan for the campus, Barnes said, noting that the campus is required by state law to consider the impact on cultural resources before building. "There are important remnants of historical and prehistorical activity in many areas of the campus."

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Grant Program. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs are based at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

The Getty Grant Program is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts located at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The Getty Grant Program provides crucial support to institutions and individuals throughout the world in fields that are aligned most closely with the Getty's strategic priorities. It therefore funds a diverse range of projects that promote learning and scholarship about the history of the visual arts and the conservation of cultural heritage, and it consistently searches for collaborative efforts that set high standards and make significant contributions. Additional information is available on the Getty Web site at


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