The Santa Maria Cemetery
The Santa Maria Cemetery was a joint effort of the two local Odd Fellows and Masonic Lodges. It can trace its beginnings back to July 9, 1883, a time when it was generally felt that the property was located far enough away from the downtown area to not be affected by any planned growth. Gertie Buel Hopper, who died during that same month, became the first person buried in the new cemetery. The Santa Maria Cemetery District was established on August 6, 1917 as a special district in and for the County of Santa Barbara. In 1926, when Mark Holgate Whitney became superintendent of the Santa Maria Cemetery, the burial grounds were nothing but dirt mounds with uneven markers. It was he who took the preliminary steps in transforming the grounds into the vision of beauty and peace that the Santa Maria Cemetery is today. Mr. Whitney passed away in March of 1949.