Charlene Duval: “The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park – Through Edna’s Eyes”

Please join SCAS at 7:30 pm at the Scotts Valley Library (). This year marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. The March SCAS lecture will be a kickoff event to launch the calendar of events honoring those who have been “Keeping the Stories Alive” over the past quarter century.

Archaeology has been a crucial source of information for the story of the Mission Adobe. Although there is no active excavation on the site at this time, archaeology continues to be one of the focal points of interpretation at the Mission.


This evening’s lecture will be an opportunity to travel back in time and remember the discoveries and revelations that came into focus through archaeology in the 1980s. We will remember Edna Kimbro, whose wisdom and commitment to preservation were instrumental in its transition to a public space. Charlene Duval will present some wonderful footage of Edna giving her last tour of the adobe. She is full of fabulous stories about the people who lived there, and she shares her knowledge of how the building was constructed and ultimately interpreted and furnished.

We will also find out about the role of archaeology in the park today. We’ll get an update on the Summer Archaeology Project (SAP) – a collaboration between Santa Clara University and the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park to train volunteers and bring archaeology into the view of the public. Through interpretation and special projects, such SAP, archaeology continues to play a role in telling the story of the Santa Cruz Mission.

Edna KimbroEdna Kimbro grew up in Monterey and it was there she fell in love with adobe buildings. She and her husband Joe moved to Santa Cruz when Edna was going to UCSC. Edna’s passion became the preservation of adobe buildings: The Kimbro’s first home was the Branciforte Adobe, which she researched and they had restored; then Mission Santa Cruz where initially she led the Adobe Coalition from 1980 to 1991 to have it restored, then as a consultant when she researched the building in depth and did the furnishing plan. In 1988, the Kimbros purchased the Rancho San Andres Castro Adobe, their dream adobe home, but a year later, it was severely damaged in the 1989 earthquake. Edna had studied to become an adobe conservator in Italy and worked on the Getty Seismic Adobe Project that resulted in three publications. In 1999, she became a State Parks Historian for the Monterey District where she researched adobes and did furniture plans for them in Monterey and San Juan Bautista. In 2002, the Kimbros negotiated the transfer of the Castro Adobe to State Parks, and completed the Castro Adobe Historic Structures Report just prior to her death, at 57, in June 2005. Her book, California Missions: History, Art and Preservation, was finished by Julia Costello in 2009.  The Castro Adobe is now undergoing restoration and Edna’s archive of work and her library are housed in Kimbro House, the house built by the Kimbros after the earthquake, which is now owned by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks who are also spearheading the Castro Adobe’s restoration.

Charlene DuvalCharlene Duval has over 39 years experience in California history and architectural history with a special emphasis on Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.  Specializing in property history and historic personages, Charlene, now retired, served as the principal historian for Archives & Architecture, managed and conducted intensive historical investigations as a part of her public history work.  She has worked with numerous cultural resource management firms providing in-depth intensive-level local historical background information for project-related studies. She is co-author of An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area, 2007, and Reflections of the Past, An Anthology of San Jose, 1995. She is a past president of the Santa Clara County Archaeological Society, has served on the Santa Cruz County Historical Resources Commission, was co-founder of the Scotts Valley Historical Society, and since 1999 has been the historian and Executive Secretary of the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History at San Jose State University.  She also volunteers for Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks at the Rancho San Andres Castro Adobe State Park and the adjoining Kimbro House, owned by Friends, which includes the Edna Kimbro Archive, which Charlene manages.

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