In the early days of 2004, Judge Frank Ochoa, Robert Ooley and Naomi Schwartz had an idea to help with the conservation and preservation of the beloved and much visited Santa Barbara Courthouse. They gather the sharp minds of the non-profit community for lunch in the Mural Room and asked their advice about the formation of a non-profit to raise funds to conserve, preserve and restore the ailing Santa Barbara Courthouse. From those humble beginnings in the summer of 2004—the organization that has become known as the Courthouse Legacy Foundation has accomplished great things from the founders original goals—conserve, preserve and restore. The Courthouse Legacy Foundation is truly Building upon a Legacy. “We look back together with satisfaction at how far we’ve come from the inception of the foundation” said Naomi Schwartz.
As the Courthouse Legacy Foundation looks forward to a great new chapter with strong committed leadership—they also look back at some remarkable achievements, which include: the restoration of the Courthouse Flagpole (2004); guidance in the restoration of the Hall of Records (2005); obtaining National Historic Landmark status for the Courthouse (2005); the restoration of the Main Arch Ceiling (with the help of the Pearl Chase Society); guidance in the preservation of the “original Board Committee” room ceiling which is part of the Superior Court Clerk’s Office; guidance in the cleaning of the Groesbeck Murals in the Mural Room that were damaged after an electrical fire in 2010; recreation of the Spirit of the Ocean Fountain and the restoration of the Seth Thomas Tower Clock (scheduled to be open in January 2012.)
The Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions may be sent to the foundation at Post Office Box 91456 Santa Barbara, CA. 93190-1456.