Archive » March 1, 2007
Eye on Montecito
By John Watson
Charles Caldwell Park was born just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1860. Raised in an affluent family with six siblings, Charles attended Cornell University before receiving medical training at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, and later at universities in Vienna, Austria and Heidelberg, Germany. During the time of his medical training, he met and married his wife, Helen. After practicing medicine in New York for five years, the Parks moved to Santa Barbara and in 1896 they bought 27 acres immediately east of San Ysidro Creek. As a part of the purchase of their land, the Parks obtained an easement across their neighbor’s property to the south to give them access to East Valley Road. This easement eventually became the Park Lane we know and love today.
Dr. Park continued the tradition of his family and sired nine of his own children. Of the nine, two of the children, Roy Harrison Park and Charles C. Park Jr., died in infancy. Looking for a way to celebrate their short lives, Charles asked Francis Wilson, the architect for their house on Park Lane, to design a modest memorial, shown here. Constructed in 1910, the memorial stands at what is now the corner of Cabrillo Boulevard and Channel Drive. This simple, elegant fountain is well preserved considering that it is almost 100 years old. In its modesty and quality of design, it exemplifies Montecito as much as any grand building, cherished road or hidden trail. It is both ironic and thought-provoking to realize that while Charles Jr. and Roy’s brothers and sisters have retired to the anonymity that history provides, these two infant souls’ memories grace our lives even today.
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