Through the generosity of more than 400 individual donors, the rebuilding of this vital structure was truly a community effort. The general public is invited to attend an official Ribbon Cutting and “Community Crossing” followed by refreshments on the Garden’s Courtyard on Thursday, February 14th at 10:30am. This is the Garden’s “valentine” to the community to show our heartfelt appreciation for their ongoing support.
On May 6th, 2009, flames from the Jesusita Fire swept through Mission Canyon and burned 70% of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s 78 acres. Because of the heroic efforts of emergency personnel, much of the Garden’s core was spared – but not all of it. The historic Campbell Bridge was completely destroyed.
Thanks to the generous support of more than 400 individual donations totaling $81,353, the Campbell Bridge, is being rebuilt BY the community, FOR the community. To show their heartfelt appreciation, the Garden would like to invite community members to celebrate the bridge’s reconstruction with a ribbon-cutting and “Community Crossing” on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14. The festivities for this “valentine” to our community begin at 10:30am. Refreshments will be served in the Garden Courtyard immediately following.
“We are so pleased to welcome the public to this celebration,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, SBBG’s Executive Director. “Rebuilding the bridge has truly been a community effort, and we are very grateful for their support. Not only does the rebuilding of this structure provide an easier way for our visitors to explore the west side of our grounds across Mission Creek, it provides our staff with vital access to our living displays to the gardens in that area.”
A Brief History of the Campbell Bridge
The original Campbell Bridge was made possible through a generous gift from Ina Therese Campbell in 1941. An integral piece of the Garden’s trail system, the bridge connects the two sides of Mission Creek.
corridor along Mission Creek. Originally designed by Lockwood de Forest, Jr., the Campbell Bridge represents the rustic character which has made the Garden famous, leading the County of Santa Barbara to designate the bridge and several other features at the Garden as historic landmarks. The architectural design of the new Campbell Bridge pays homage to the original naturalistic elements while using today’s safety standards and materials.
It’s All in the Family: Contractor’s Connection to the Garden Dates Back to the 1950’s
Peter Lapidus grew up on an avocado ranch in Carpinteria, where he learned an appreciation and respect for the outdoors from his grandfather, Campbell Grant (no relation to Ina Therese Campbell), an avid outdoorsman, teacher, and artist. Campbell Grant spent many years in the local backcountry, recognized the important work of the Garden, and even created early maps for the organization. Campbell Grant was a Trustee for the Garden for more than thirty years from 1951 until 1986 and was Board President from 1966 to 1975. In 1958, the Garden published Wildflowers of Santa Barbara, with text by then-Director, Katherine Muller, Ph.D., with photographs by Campbell Grant. According to Mr. Lapidus, “One of my grandfather’s favorite quotes was borrowed from a Native American chief:‘The earth does not belong to Man. Man belongs to the Earth.’ He fully embraced this ideology and I believe the Garden is a good reflection of that philosophy.” In addition to his grandfather, Mr. Lapidus has several other familial links to the Garden. Encouraged by his friend Mr. Grant, fellow botanical enthusiast “Bud” Harrison J. Allen, grandfather of Hilary Lapidus (Peter’s wife), joined the Garden’s Board where he served from 1969 until 1987. Mr. Allen was an avid plant propagator and always arrived with a gift plant for the host of any function he attended. Yet another of Mr. Lapidus’ Garden connections was through his grandmother (Campbell’s wife), Clara Lou Grant who joined the Garden Guild upon her retirement in 1984. Over the next 20 years, she spent many happy hours as a volunteer with fellow Guild members creating fanciful objects from seed pods and other botanical elements which continue to be sold in the Garden’s Gift Shop to this day.
“It was such an honor for our company to have been selected as the contractor for this particular project, not only for the opportunity to build a structure of historic significance like the Campbell Bridge at a community treasure like the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, but also because of the personal connection and long history I have to this special place through my family,” said Peter Lapidus, President, Peter Lapidus Construction. “During construction, the employees really enjoyed being able to work in such a stunning and unique environment. Often we work on projects that are not open to the public. It is a great feeling when you can return to the site of something meaningful you constructed and know it will improve the Garden visitors’ experience for many more generations to come.”
For further information, to arrange an interview with SBBG’s Executive Director, Steve Windhager, Ph.D., or general contractor, Peter Lapidus, or to request high-resolution images (including historical photos of the Campbell Bridge), please contact Joni Kelly, Communications Manager, at 805-682-4726 ext. 132 or via cell at 805-886-1869.
About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (www.sbbg.org): 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.
About Peter Lapidus Construction (www.lapiduscontruction.com): Peter Lapidus Construction (PLC), Inc. is a general engineering contractor based in Carpinteria, CA serving Santa Barbara and Ventura counties specializing in habitat restoration projects. PLC provides a wide range of services and has a passion for construction projects that help to enhance the environment and repair damage done to ecologically-sensitive sites. Founded in 2000, the company maintains a respect and appreciation for the natural world and uses a blend of biodiesel in their fuel and new technologies allowing them to lessen the environmental impact to the natural surroundings. PLC is a leader of steelhead restoration on the South Coast whose work generally involves moving roads out of streambeds onto bridges & rebuilding riparian corridors for wildlife migration. These projects involve working in sensitive habitat while turning back the clock to allow native species to coexist with modern infrastructure.