Protecting Historical Landmarks
Easter Island Foundation
The first preservation effort we undertook was to join and donate to the Easter Island Foundation. The Easter Island Foundation was founded in 1989 and InsightSPI is a proud member.
The Easter Island Foundation was originally designed to create a research library on Rapa Nui to house the collections of anthropologist William Mulloy, and to encourage study and research about the island and promote awareness of the island’s fragile heritage. The Foundation provides a forum for a variety of programs and activities designed to further knowledge of the vast region of Oceania.
About the island and its artifacts: Rapa Nui’s ahu (shrines) vary in size and form. There are at least 360 on the island. “Image ahu” are those with statues (moai). Ahu have consistent features: a raised platform made of fitted stones and rubble, a ramp that is often paved with beach cobbles, called poro, and a leveled court in front. Image ahu had from one to 15 statues standing on each platform. Statues were placed to look over a ceremonial area and village, their backs to the sea. The runes at Easter Island have never been successfully translated and read so as to unlock the mysteries of these beautiful and powerful artifacts. Fantastic.
Okay, so this one is actually Doug’s property. He and his lovely wife, Artina, purchased a historical landmark in Santa Cruz in early 2016. While building a house to one side and soon one on the other side of this 30,000 foot lot they made plans with a historic architect and the Historical Preservation Commission in Santa Cruz to recover the beauty of these unique brick structures and preserve them for generations to come.
Built in the 1930s and 1940s, brick mason Kenneth Kitchen constructed the “temple” (really the first floor of his intended home) along with a fanciful front archway, power and flag poles and a 20 foot well with surrounding structure. He was inspired to build in the style of Hindu Temple Architecture by the Yogananda Paramahansa who taught him and many Americans how to meditate in the 1930’s and beyond at his church in the hills of Los Angeles. After they made the purchase, Doug found this out and was floored because his dear departed brother Bill spent the second half of his life as a monk in that same church the Yogananda founded.
Kenneth mysteriously sold the land and structures to Santa Cruz Land & Title and left town in the late 1940s, never to return. Though it then changed hands three times, the place sat empty and was not maintained for what would be 70 years. In the 1990s, the city red-tagged it due to the number of delinquents who were partying there - spray painting, breaking all the hand-painted windows and generally making neighbors miserable. It was made a historical landmark in the 1990s and boarded up.
At considerable expense, but with much love, Artina ran a team led by expert mason Mike Threet and commenced to work on the brick artifacts so that now they have been restored. The windows in the temple are replaced, the abalone and brick cleaned and the first open “house” will be on Halloween night 2019. The “temple” will thereafter be open 4 times a year plus during open studios for public viewing, and the rest of the street-facing artifacts will be viewable and touchable by the public daily as they will sit outside any fencing. Living the dream of protecting historical landmarks in Santa Cruz, California.