The historic Campbell Bridge was completely destroyed. The Garden not only lost a beloved and historic structure linking the past to the present, they also lost a valuable circulation route connecting one side of the Garden to the other. In the past two and a half years, the plants have grown back and now it is time to rebuild the Campbell Bridge. Construction estimates put the cost of rebuilding the bridge at approximately $80,000. The Garden is halfway to that goal and needs the community’s help.

While about 12% of the monies necessary will come from insurance proceeds, this settlement alone did not fully cover restoration of the grounds. The Garden needs to raise the remaining funds to rebuild the Campbell Bridge and all that it represents. Gifts of any size are appreciated by March 17th so the bridge can be in place by December 31st, 2012.

Looking Back

The Campbell Bridge was made possible through a generous gift from Ina Therese Campbell in 1941. Ms. Campbell wanted everyone to explore the Garden, even those who were unable to make the creek crossing over boulders. Through the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have crossed the bridge to experience and enjoy the serenity of the riparian corridor along Mission Creek. Originally designed by Lockwood de Forest, Jr., the Campbell Bridge represents the rustic character that has made the Garden famous, leading the County of Santa Barbara to designate the bridge and several other features at the Garden as a historic landmark.

Looking Forward

The architectural plans for the new Campbell Bridge are in hand and pay homage to the original naturalistic architectural design elements of de Forest. Already approved by the County’s Historic Landmarks Advisory Committee, the Garden is poised to begin construction. A vital piece of the Garden’s facilities, the Campbell Bridge connects the two sides of Mission Creek to one another. Without access, not only is maintenance of living displays difficult, but the elderly, the disabled, and families with strollers struggle to make the lower creek crossing over boulders. Many have to turn back and retrace their steps to complete their tour of the Garden.

The Deeper Meaning

While this structure is needed for the day-to-day operation of the Garden, and for the safety and convenience of our visitors, this effort is about more than building a physical bridge. The metaphorical bridges – the connections between the Garden and the many individuals and groups that love the Garden – are also in need of repair. “The new Campbell Bridge will stand as a symbol to the larger Santa Barbara community about the future direction of the Garden,” explains Executive Director, Dr. Steve Windhager. “It is our hope the controversy that surrounded the Garden in recent years can now be ‘water under the bridge’, so to speak.”


To help support this effort and watch our progress towards our goal, go to or mail your tax-deductible donation to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Attention: Building Bridges, 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.

About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: The Garden is a 78-acre educational and scientific institution fostering the conservation of California’s native plants and serving as a role model for sustainable practice in Santa Barbara, California. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among of the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.