March E-Newsletter
Women Who Shaped Santa Monica
Women have played many vital roles in the history of Santa Monica. Yet, their power and impact has been dramatically underrepresented, especially in public space and the built environment. Today, that tide is turning, thanks to the efforts of community members, artists, scholars and organizations working to bring awareness and recognition to women’s history in our city and nationwide. 

Here are three women you should know (if you don’t already) and the local places where their legacies are represented today. 
Arcadia Bandini (de Sterns Baker) (1827-1912) was one of the richest people in the United States when she passed away in her house on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Born into a powerful Mexican family in San Diego, Bandini lived to see Ranchero-era Alta California transition to American statehood and begin its transformation into the nation’s most populous state. Through family, marriage and business acumen, Bandini ammassed vast land holdings and interests, including the Rancho San Vicente, which contained all of present-day Santa Monica. She also ruled Los Angeles society, regularly welcoming members of the region’s elite to her famous parties. Bandini moved from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica with her second husband in the 1880s and began to participate in the development of the new city. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bandini’s influence can be seen in Santa Monica’s original city plan, or platt map, which she designed with her business partners in 1875. She also donated land for schools, churches, women’s clubs and parks, including Palisades Park. 
This April Bandini will be the subject of the Conservancy’s first Santa Monica Mosaic livestream of 2023, produced in partnership with the Santa Monica History Museum. Stay tuned for details! 
Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was California’s first licensed female architect. For most of her 46-year career she worked out of an office in the Merchant’s Exchange Building in San Francisco. Despite the fact that her career was a string of firsts (first woman to graduate from the École des Beaux-Arts in France to name another), and despite the fact that she designed and built over 700 beautiful and functional buildings for clients as famous as the YWCA, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and William Randolpf Hearst, she was largely forgotten after her death. It was not until architectural historian Sara Boutelle published Julia Morgan, Architect in 1988 that Morgan’s work and story really entered public memory. Since then, much has been done to cement her iconic status. Photo: Creative Commons
Here in Santa Monica, Morgan was commissioned by the younger Hearst to design a sprawling oceanfront estate with actress Marion Davies. Today, the original guest house and pool form the historic core of the City’s Annenberg Community Beach House. Conservancy docents lead tours of the guest house on a regular basis and earlier this month, the community celebrated Julia Morgan Legacy Day at the Annenberg with Morgan scholar Dr. Karen McNeill. Photo: Aerial view of the Marion Davies estate.
Thelma Terry (1907-1979) was one of Santa Monica’s most trusted and impactful community leaders. Terry is best known for creating safe community spaces for local African American youth to play sports, games and other recreational activities in the Pico neighborhood starting in the 1940s. At the time, there were few places where Black youth could engage in these activites, especially after school and in the summer. Terry hosted youth in her own living room, then later through programs at the Recreation Center at Memorial Park and at Garfield Elementary School. Her care for children and young adults was essential, not only to the wellbeing of the youth she served but to local families and the functioning of the entire community.
Photo: Terry receives a community award from Mr. Reid (left) accompanied by her husband Thomas Terry (right); Credit: Quinn Research Center.
Today, her legacy is officially recognized at the Thelma Terry Building at Virginia Avenue Park, the only local building to be named for a Black woman. The people whose lives she touched can still feel her presence throughout the Pico Neighborhood. Soon, Terry will have her own Wikipedia page, thanks to the work of Carolyne Edwards, co-founder of the Quinn Research Center and Conservancy Board member; Carla Fantozzi, Principal Supervisor of Virginia Avenue Park; and Sabrina Fields, Pico neighborhood resident and community organizer.
There are so many more women to name! Please reach out to [email protected] to let us know who else needs to be recognized for their impact on Santa Monica!
Housing Element Update
The Conservancy would like to thank the 700 citizens who wrote to our City Council to successfully urge them to write a letter to the State Housing and Community Development Department asking that the Neighborhood Commercial zones not be upzoned as required by the City’s new housing element.

That upzoning would allow Montana, Ocean Park, Pico and Main Street to have buildings, by right, from 55’ to 88’ tall. The current Neighborhood Commercial zoning base height is 32’ but certain affordable housing projects are already allowed to go up to 65’. The additional height of the upzoning would incentivize massive construction and the attendant demolition of many small businesses and buildings of historical importance further reducing the authenticity of these important neighborhood serving and pedestrian friendly corridors.

The State may or may not approve this request but it is significant when this many citizens make their voices heard. Click here to read the Conservancy's own letter to City Council and stay tuned for more updates.
Reframe: City Hall Mural Project
Public Feedback Activity
Click here to participate
The City’s Reframe: City Hall Mural Project community engagement phase continues through the summer.

Indigenous based arts and culture collaborative Meztli Projects serves as the City’s consulting team.

In addition to the public event series, the project team invites community members to engage in a feedback activity in which you will be asked to reflect on the images of the mural and imagine potential responses to it. We encourage you to engage with the activity by clicking the link below. Responses are due April 1, 2023. (Photo: Kristina Sado)
The Santa Monica Conservancy has been advocating for a public process to recontextualize rather than censor of the murals since 2021. To learn more about the layers of cultural history embodied in the WPA era artwork, watch our January 2022 webinar or visit our website.
Long time Board Member, Advocacy Committee Co-Chair and former President Carol Lemlein has helped shape the Conservancy into the organization it is today. In 2022, she joined the Legacy Society to help ensure that her impact on the Conservancy would continue over time. “I’m proud of what we have accomplished in the eighteen years since I first joined the Conservancy as a Program Committee volunteer. Knowing I have the flexibility to adjust the amount of my planned gift - up or down - if my circumstances or those of my family change was important in my decision. As the last three years have shown, we never know what the future holds for us!”
Invest in Santa Monica's Historic Legacy!
Established in 2021, the Conservancy’s Legacy Society provides enduring support for historic preservation in Santa Monica. For the past twenty years the Conservancy has made enormous strides as the voice for preservation in our city. With a planned gift, you can help the Conservancy to remain viable for decades to come. 

Please consider joining the founding members of the Legacy Society by including the Conservancy in your estate plans. To make your commitment, please contact Conservancy President Tom Cleys at [email protected] or (310) 463-1748. Click here to learn more about the program.
Conservancy Tours & Events
The two-story American Colonial-style house at 401 Ocean Boulevard was the winner of a Rehabilitation Award last year. Photo credit: David Kaplan
2023 Preservation Awards
Nominations Due April 6
We are seeking nominations for our 2023 Preservation Awards! Each year we honor exemplary projects and contributors to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage. Award winners will be announced at our Annual Meeting in early summer. Click here for more information and to download the nomination form.
Friday-Monday, from 12-2 p.m.
March 17-20 and 24-27
March 31 & April 1-3; April 7-10; 14-17
415 Pacific Coast Highway
Enjoy a free tour led by Conservancy docents and learn about the rich history of the Marion Davies Guest House, which was built by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. The hottest spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast during the 1920s, guests included Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. The 20-minute tours are available on a walk-up basis. Learn more
1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.
April 1 and April 15
1436 2nd Street
Discover the architectural gems and rich history of Downtown Santa Monica on our highly rated guided tour. From Art Deco to Victorian and Romanesque Revival, you’ll explore the various styles that fill the streets of our city. Tours are approximately two hours and cover six blocks. Free for members and $10 for the general public. Register
PRC Stephen Schafer shotgun house
2520 2nd Street
Sat & Sun, March 25 & 26
Open from 12-2 p.m.
Live Virtual Tour
Sunday, March 19 at noon
Come and visit the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica! Discover the journey of this incredible little house, which was saved from demolition and moved–on wheels–three times before being adapted into our modern-day Center. Learn more
Community News & Events
Reframe: City Hall Murals
Community Listening Workshop
April 1, 2023 at 3 pm
Join this free, in-person workshop with facilitator Anu Yadav and learn strategies for equitable sharing of diverse views in small groups. Share your thoughts on the controversial mural in historic Santa Monica City Hall. Reserve your spot
California Heritage Museum
Portraits: Artwork by Members of
Women Painters West
Through May 7, 2023
2612 Main Street, Santa Monica
WOMEN PAINTERS WEST is the longest established women’s artistic organization in California, founded in Laguna Beach in 1921, with a highly respected, robust presence in our California art community today. Visit
Students at Garfield Elementary School in Santa Monica participate in a toy refurbishment project in 1935. Credit: Bill Beebe Collection, Santa Monica History Museum
*Exhibit extended through April 30!*
1350 7th Street, Santa Monica
In the mid-20th century, the Broadway neighborhood was a thriving, tight-knit community of color in Santa Monica that was largely destroyed to make room for the 10 freeway. Thanks to the work of the Quinn Research Center and Santa Monica History Museum, visitors to the exhibition can learn about the neighborhood and its residents through period photographs, advertisements, oral histories, and songs. Learn more
Santa Monica Conservancy