Archives of Past Events

History Fair — 2019


Santa Cruz County History Fair, 2019. The Friends participated in this fun event, which brought together historical societies and museums from throughout Santa Cruz County. We had two tables, filled with historic photographs and interesting artifacts. The event was sponsored by the Capitola Historical Museum and held at the Capitola Community Center in Jade Street Park.


Restoration of Hay Barn — Winter of 2012-13

Hay Barn

In the winter of 2012-13 the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is partnering with UCSC to present an exhibition on the restoration of the Cowell Lime Works Hay Barn. The barn dates from the 1860s or ‘70s, and its frame was made using mortise and tenon joints held together by wooden pegs. The feasibility of restoring this magnificent structure is now under study. According to the Museum, “This exhibition will introduce visitors to the history of the UCSC south campus, the techniques of timber framing, and the possibilities for the future. Students, families, and adults will be able to work together to raise a model of the Hay Barn and to learn more about a vision for the Cowell Lime Works Historic District.” The inspiration for the exhibit originated with the lecture and demonstration on timber frame construction organized last April by the Friends and cosponsored by the Museum. The exhibit will be part of a Museum-wide exhibition titled “Work In Progress.” The Museum is at 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz, and the exhibit will run from December 14, 2012, to March 17, 2013. Visit their website ( for details. 


Hands on History - April 12, 2013

Hands on History Celebration


 Adventures in Timber Frame Construction

Timber Framers

Explore this traditional method of construction that uses large, carefully-fitted and joined timbers held together with large wooden pegs. Many utilitarian buildings such as barns were constructed this way in the 1800s, including the historic Hay Barn and Cooperage at UCSC. Over the past few decades, the U.S. has experienced a revival of timber frame construction. Such buildings can be assembled quickly and are resistant to earthquakes and fire.


Joel McCarty, Executive Director, Timber Framers Guild, Alstead, New Hampshire ( Mr. McCarty will tell about timber frame structures, how they are built, and share with us his adventures with Guild projects around the country. MAH Auditorium.


William Hurley, Dos Osos Timber Works, Los Osos, California. Mr. Hurley will show and describe both traditional and modern tools used in timber frame construction. He will then make some demonstration cuts. MAH Atrium.


  • Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012
  • Time: 2-4 p.m.
  • Admission: $5.00. Free for members of the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works and The Museum of Art & History.
  • Location: The Museum of Art & History (MAH), 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz

For more information, phone the Museum at 429-1964, ext. 7010

Sponsored by the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District and The Museum of Art & History (MAH)

Photo courtesy of Dos Osos Timber Works


Botanical Tour of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District

Join plant experts Angel Guerzon and Suzanne Schettler, and historian Frank Perry as they explore the plants of UCSC’s Cowell Lime Works Historic District. Ever wonder why grass doesn’t grow under walnut trees? Why Coyote Brush spells doom for meadows? Or how big a Monterey Cypress can grow in 145 years? We’ll learn about all this and more during a leisurely 2-hour, one mile walking tour.

  • Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
  • Time: 10 a.m.
  • Admission: $3.00 donation requested for tour. Friends members are free.
  • Location: Meet at the Barn Theater parking lot at the campus main entrance, corner of High and Bay. Parking is free.

Angel Guerzon has spent many years working in the retail plant business and is a horticultural consultant and landscape designer. Suzanne Schettler is the proprietor of Greening Associates, a local company that specializes in restoring habitats with native plants. Frank Perry is president of the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District and co-author of the book, Lime Kiln Legacies.


 Our Cinema Centennial

Fall Lecture: "Our Cinema Centennial." It was 100 years ago this fall that the first dramatic motion picture was shot in Santa Cruz. Join historian Randall Brown for an afternoon lecture on the beginnings of movie-making in Santa Cruz, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2-5 p.m. at the Humanities Lecture Hall, UCSC. Download announcement. Download map showing location of lecture.

Cowell Birthday Party

Come celebrate Harry Cowell's 150th birthday on Saturday, February 19th. There will be birthday cake, exhibits, and a short lecture on the Cowell family in Santa Cruz. For more information, download the Cowell Birthday Party flyer (PDF).


September 18, 2010

Enter the Historic District Photo Contest!

The Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District is sponsoring a Historic District photo contest. The best photograph will be printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the winner will receive a copy of Lime Kiln Legacies, an illustrated history of the local lime industry, and a set of five posters depicting various scenes within the District. [Contest info | Photo release]


March 22, 2010

Digging into History

Student interns are conducting archaeological excavations at the site of the Cardiff Shed, located near the Cardiff House. These excavations, under the direction of archaeologist Sally Morgan, are revealing details of the floor joists and beams. After these studies are completed, the shed will be re-assembled at its original location. This historic building may date from the 1860s when the adjacent house was built.

More Hands-on History

Work continues on Cabin B, one of the Portuguese lime-worker cabins used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Student interns and community volunteers are helping with the project, gaining hands-on experience with restoration and woodworking. Jan Dekema, an expert on historical restoration, is directing the project. Despite dry rot and termite damage to some of the wood, the volunteers have found that much of the original old-growth redwood can be saved with minor repairs. This will preserve the cabin’s value as a historic artifact. The restored cabin will be 80 to 90 percent original material.


November 1, 2009

Official Dedication of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District

Unveiling the Historic District plaqueHistoric District PlaqueIn the fall of 2009 a brass plaque was installed commemorating the listing of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The plaque was placed on a limestone boulder adjacent to the historic Cook House building (now the Admissions Office) near the campus main entrance. The plaque was unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works, with Chancellor George Blumenthal officiating. Speakers included, former State Representative and alumnus John Laird, the Mayor of Santa Cruz, and representatives from State Assemblyman Bill Monning and U.S. Congressman San Farr's offices. Farr's office presented a commemorative statement from the Congressional Record.


October 30, 2009

Come Celebrate!

Please join UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal; local, state, and national officials; and the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District for a very special celebration on Friday, October 30, 2009, to commemorate placement of the Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and to unveil a permanent bronze plaque that will identify the site. UC Santa Cruz is the only UC campus with a historic site on the National Register.

The ceremony will take place at 4:00 p.m. at the Cook House (one of 21 structures comprising the Historic District), located just inside UCSC’s main entrance at the corner of Bay and High Streets. A reception will follow. Please park in the adjacent Barn Theater lot.

RSVP by October 16, online at, or by phone at 831-459-1254.


August 8 & 9, 2009

Inaugural Conference on Lime and Lime Kilns in California History

Friends of the Cowell Limeworks Historic District is proud to host the first-ever conference on the history of lime and lime making in California. Profits from the conference will benefit restoration projects in the Historic District, at one time the site of California’s largest lime works. The conference is open to anyone interested in California history.


July 2009

While excavating around the foundation of one of the historic workers' cabins at the base of campus, UCSC archaeologists and volunteers recently found a mother-of-pearl hair ornament and other artifacts. More »


May 2009

Located near the campus entrance, the 'iconic' cooperage, one of the historic structures in the Cowell Lime Works Historic District, is undergoing temporary reinforcement to keep it standing until hoped-for restoration is possible. Read the story


November 2008

Article: Newest Friends group wants you to be able to see, touch, smell history Read the story


July 2008

Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District formally recognized by University of California.


January 2008

New national historic area helps reveal clues about a bygone era. Read the story


Fall 2007

Campus entrance on National Register of Historic Places. Read the story (PDF)


November 21, 2007

Cowell Lime Works Historic District listed on National Register of Historic Places by the Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. See the listing


May 2007

Campus site to be on National Register of Historic Places. Read the story


August 2006

Construction projects uncovering pieces of the past. Read the story