Veterans Memorial Building Declared Historic Landmark

The Veterans Memorial Building on Cabrillo Boulevard was declared a historic landmark by the City Council for its architectural significance, and the grounds around and below it were declared historic as well in deference to Chumash villages that occupied the site for nearly 5,000 years. Many of the veterans who spoke in support of this designation also expressed opposition to plans to locate a new military museum somewhere on the site. Those plans — propelled by John and Hazel Blankenship of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Museum & Library Foundation — have been the subject of ongoing controversy among the many veterans groups who make use of the hall. The landmark designation doesn’t kill the museum plans for the site so much as add another nail to its coffin. The discovery of human remains — most certainly Chumash or pre-Chumash in origin — underneath the site last summer effectively did in the museum proposed for the site. While many councilmembers expressed support for the museum in concept, it was clear by their vote that the Blankenships would have to find another location.

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