From Decline to Preservation and Restoration The Dana Adobe Episode 4 (of 4)
Rancho Nipomo 1999
In the 1970’s, The San Luis Obispo Historical Society, fearing total collapse of the building, took the drastic step of plastering all of the walls, inside and outside, with Portland cement. This created structural stability that would buy time to decide what further steps to take. Losing momentum, the building basically sat this way for the next twenty years. What was needed was a spark that would ignite the flame of preservation and restoration.
Her name was, Lisa Van Der Stad, a resident of Nipomo Her energy and resourcefulness was boundless as she took the adobe under her wing. She was not daunted by the prospect of preserving and restoring the Dana Adobe. She was great at organizing and gathering together interested parties. She was also the first Executive Director of the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos (DANA). This non profit organization’s goal was to restore and preserve the structure and surrounding property. In addition to many other accomplishments, she led the way in getting the adobe declared State Historic Site#1033. Now there was new momentum.
It was decided that c1851 would be the restoration period of significance. That was about the time the building was completed as we see it today. During the restoration process, any post 1851 changes would be converted to that period. Lisa and her staff were successful at obtaining a state grant that enabled them to kick start extensive restoration projects. These successes continued until Lisa moved from the area in 2004.That same year, DANA took over ownership of the property from the Historical Society.
After Lisa left, Kathy Kubiak, also a Nipomo resident, took the reins as Executive Director. Kathy’s expertise and dedication was responsible for keeping the restoration process moving. During that period, budgets were small but Kathy was very skilled at organizing volunteers. Under her direction, restoration of several interior rooms was completed in
In 2008, under the leadership of Executive Director, Marina Washburn, a California Cultural Historical Endowment state grant became available (CCHE3). This grant funded extensive restoration projects and helped purchase the 29 acre parcel surrounding the adobe. The Land Conservancy funded the balance of the purchase price of the property. This was followed in 2009 by awarding of CCHE4 grant. This grant enabled us to complete the restoration of the Dana Adobe and anticipate completion prior to December 2013. Additional funding has been provided by the Hind Foundation, the Maxine Blankenburg Foundation, Peg Miller, the Woods Family Foundation, and Bill Deneen. Plans for outbuildings including barns, blacksmith shop, furniture shop and the original Tallow Works are being made.
In 2009, DANA collaborated with San Luis Obispo County about the purchase of a 100 acre parcel between the adobe and Thompson Avenue using Quimby (mitigation) funds. DANA signed a 99 year lease with the County to manage and maintain the property as open public space. It will be used for hiking, equestrian, recreational and nature education purposes. The combination of the two properties will give the adobe much of its original view shed. This feature alone makes the Dana Adobe unique among state historic sites. Another major project under way is a nature and education center that is being funded by the Nature Education Facility state grant supported by Proposition 84. DANA’s project, Stories of the Rancho: Culture, Ecology, Stewardship, was one of only 44 awardees out of 300 applicants. This award was the only one in San Luis Obispo County and one of four in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties and the only non-profit. When completed, the facilities will include a Visitor’s Center for nature education, events, curation and display of artifacts, a Chumash Village and trails. This will be a first rate facility that will be widely used by the community and will be a keystone feature of a planned, destination California Rancho Period Historic Park
Visitors are welcome to stop by on Saturday and Sundays from 1 to 4 for docent led tours or by appointment. This is a great opportunity to see restoration in progress. We look forward to seeing you.