History of Saint Barbara

Because St. Barbara is identified by her famous stone tower with the three windows constructed at her request, she is regarded as the patron saint of architects, builders, and stone masons. For a resort such as Santa Barbara, renowned for its architecture past and present, and graced by miles of magnificent hand cut stone walls, the symbol of St. Barbara is wonderfully fitting.

Because St. Barbara's tower overlooked the ocean where she could watch the changing tides and observe the movements of the moon and stars, Saint Barbara has also been the patron saint of sailors. making her an appropriate patron for a seaside city with more than a century of commercial fishing and recreational boating.

St. Barbara Protectress

St. Barbara has been regarded as the protectress against "sudden death" — which has traditionally been held as death by lightning, fire, flood, and earthquake. Although Santa Barbara has been frequented by these natural disasters, remarkably few deaths have been ascribed to our major fires, floods, and earthquakes.

When gunpowder was invented, Saint Barbara was called upon as intercessor to protect artillery men from sudden death. For this reason, the section of battleships which hold the weapons are referred to as the "santa barbara" or the "saint barbara" in the western world. Intriguingly, no major military encounters were ever fought in Santa Barbara, although it was one of the four military fortresses of alta California. Fremont and the Americans took over the city without firing a shot!

Santa Barbara is unique among California cities in that its patron saint is regularly portrayed in community pageants for over one hundred years. Annually a representative from the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Reina Del Mar Parlor 126, an organization dedicated to the preservation of California history, selects a member to portray the Saint Barbara at various Old Spanish Days Fiesta activities. Saint Barbara makes appearances at La Fiesta Pequeña and Las Noches de Ronda as well as riding in El Desfile Histórico on a float that has been sponsored by the Native Daughters chapter since 1926.

Saint Barbara over the years


1926 Kate Ord Nelson
1927 Kate Ord Nelson
1928 Mae Lillibridge Spreitz (Marton)
1929 Angelina Aliverti (Riva)
1930 Elizabeth Hollow (Coen)
1931 Teresa de Piazzi Janssens (Lane)
1931 Catherine Lataillade
portrayed St. Barbara in Los Angeles at Admission Day
1932 Ida Dardi (Ireland)
1933 Marian Arroqui (Roeser)
1934 Ida Vizzolini
1935 Charlotte Dinsmore Hall (Briggs)
1936 Elizabeth Brock (Dismuke)
1937 Florence Longawa (Giorgi)
1938 Dorathy Poole (Russell)
1939 Mary Ronk
1940 Lucy Pensa (Raffetto)
1941 June Vance (King)
1942–1945 no Fiesta due to war
1946 Margaret Jeanne Harp (Romero)
1947 Josephine Pagliotti
1948 Barbara Melendez (Bugby)
1949 Phyllis Moore (Mautino)
1950 Lorraine Shaw Hillebrand
1951 Sally Davies (Leer)
1952 Mary Ann George (Burright)
1953 Barbara Hall (Stillman)
1954 Helen Latham (Cornell)
1955 Dolores Sacconaghi Kammeyer (Hartnett)
1956 Gloria de Bernardi (Guthrie)
1957 Ellen Hayward (Merrow)
1958 Doris Hartfeld (Ray)
1959 Angie Cavaletto (Scholtz)
1960 Sue Reed (Peterson)
1961 Lorraine Aceves
1962 Mariana Schmitter
1963 Priscilla Sesma
1964 Bernice Hogg (Rau)
1965 Mary Louise Days
1966 Sue Harrison (Lightner Ziliotto)
1967 Karen Stupak
1968 Diana Russell (Vandervoort)
1969 Patricia Joyal (Cole)
1970 Pamela Thayer (Blechsmith)
1971 Nancy Wells
1972 Janelle Bell
1973 Barbara Diaz
1974 Imelda Ramirez
1975 Mary Harris (Hall)
1976 Veronica Ramirez (Gonzales)
1977 Gaylee Stavros (Nuttman)
1978 Kim Cornell (Baumbaugh)
1979 Patricia Rutledge
1980 Liselotte “Lise” MacFarlane
1981 Lynda Bell
1982 Jeannine Robles (Wright)
1983 Cynthia Garcia (Mata)
1984 Karen Miller
1985 Gale Powers
1986 Sally Stallings (Bass)
1987 C. Linda Romero
1988 Robin Richardson (Machado)
1989 Carmen Esparza
1990 Frances Martinez
1991 Lori Romero Kim
1992 Gloria Uribe Easter
1993 Stephanie Gorsuch Coghlan
1994 Dora Garcia
1995 Ysaura Ramirez
1996 Lorraine Villegas
1997 Rosie Davis (Phillips)
1998 Carmen Garcia
1999 Anita Arellanes Leski
2000 Gloria Dominguez
2001 Sue Parent
2002 Betty Dominguez
2003 Diane Soto Ruiz
2004 Marisol Cabrera
2005 Laura Foss
2006 Phebe Mansur
2007 Thea Vandervoort (Palencia)
2008 Rebecca Dominguez (Broadfoot)
2009 Diana Replogle-Purinton
2010 Tarah Rozenburg
2011 Terri Tico Imwalle
2012 Elizabeth Cook
2013 Leeanne Keeler Figueroa
2014 Renee Jackman Longo
2015 Erika Ronchietto
2016 Christine Herrera
2017 Robin Hill Cederlof
2018 Anne Petersen
2019 Debra Fadaleo
2020 Teresa Kuskey Nowak