Women In History Program, March 2012

Women in Santa Monica's History

“A Tribute to Dynamic Women of the Past”. among them Arcadia Bandini de Baker,wife of the co-founder of Santa Monica, will be co-sponsored by the Santa Monica History Museum and the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, Sunday, March 18, 2012 from 2pm to 4pm at 1350 7th Street. The Status of Women Commission photo posters of the women being featured will be on display at the museum in celebration of women’s national history month during the month of March.Arcadia Bandini was the daughter of Juan Bandini, a wealthy and prominent Rancho owner in San Diego in the early 1800s. In 1841, with the family’s blessing, Arcadia, at the age of 14, married Abel Stearns, a man over 30 years her senior, not uncommon in those days. When Stearns died in 1871, Arcadia in her mid 40s was left one of the wealthiest women in California. With Stearn’s fortune and additional property which she acquired during her second marriage in 1875 to Colonel Robert S. Baker, who co-founded Santa Monica, Arcadia became one of Santa Monica’s most influential citizen.Encouraged by her husband, Arcadia took charge of their business holdings in 1879 including a quarter interest in Rancho San Vicente (Santa Monica) which he sold her for $50,000. She was strong when it came to business but, was compassionate and kind to those in need.In 1897, Arcadia and Santa Monica co-founder, Senator John P. Jones became the primary stockholders of a property holding corporation, the Santa Monica Land and Water company. These stockholders generously donated land for churches, public schools, Lincoln Park (Reed Park), the Woman’s Club building, forestry station, Palisades Park, the grassy strip on San Vicente boulevard. They also donated land where the Veterans’ Administration is located today. Arcadia is the first woman in Santa Monica’s history to be officially recognized with a monument in Palisades Park. It was sponsored by the Bandini families, the Santa Monica History Museum and City of Santa Monica.Seats are limited. For reservations ($5) email: info@santamonicahistory.org or call: 310-395-2290.