Tuesday, October 15, 2013

San Ramon Chapel

As we turned to go up the road to Rancho  Sisquoc Winery on Foxen Canyon Road, we passed this beautiful little church and noticed the sign:  Santa Barbary County's First Historic Landmark.  How could we not stop?  We walked through the tiny graveyard behind the church first and noticed all the Foxen gravestones.   Roads are always named after someone or something, but rarely do I think about it.  Foxen Canyon Road always meant "wine" in my vocabulary.  Turns out the Foxen family were early pioneers of the Santa Maria Valley.

Benjamin Foxen ended up settling in California after being a captain on a merchant ship.  He married Eduarda de Carmen Osuna in 1831 and their daughter Ramona married another Englishman, Frederick Wickendon.  Frederick and Ramona had this chapel built in 1875 for the families who were settling in the area to ranch and farm.  The nearest church was the mission in Santa Inez.  Not only was it a welcome addition to the community, but it was built with redwood, rather than adobe bricks.  This transition from Spanish adobe architecture to a simpler wooden structure, is the reason San Ramon Chapel is now a California Registered Historical Landmark.

The chapel was restored in 2012 and now holds services every Sunday.   If I had a religious bent, I would be tempted to make the drive, it is on such a beautiful site.  The fact that it's surrounded by vineyards makes it even more tempting.  Church, followed by wine tasting?

Hmm.  I'll think about it.

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