Popularly known as “the Little Church of the Fathers,” this 160-year-old parish is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Montecito, CA (sorry Oprah).

While not part of the chain of Mission's

I’m not sure where my love of churches came from. Raised Baptist, a religion that isn’t exactly known for its extraordinary religious architecture, I think I probably started to fully appreciate just how beautiful a church could be after visiting one of the many Missions that can be found throughout my state of California.

While not officially apart of the California Mission system,

While not officially a part of the California Mission system, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montecito, CA does have a connection to it.

The humble beginnings of this church can be traced to the earliest rural settlers in Montecito, the soldiers of the Santa Barbara Presido and their descendants.

The humble beginnings of the church can be traced to the earliest rural settlers in Montecito, the soldiers of the Santa Barbara Presidio and their descendants. In lieu of a salary or pension payments, Presidio guards who watched over the Mission in Santa Barbara were given small tracts of land in Montecito and other nearby areas.

These landholders formed a new community. In 1856, the residents built a small adobe church under the auspices of the Santa Barbara Mission. The simple adobe church was large enough for perhaps 60 people.

Having grown tired of traveling to Sunday church services in Santa Barbara, these landholders eventually decided they wanted a church of their own. On July 16th, 1856, a priest traveled from the Mission to Montecito to celebrate Mass in a meadow and to announce that a chapel would be erected around the location of that first Mass.

On Sunday, February 28th, 1857, more than 200 people witnessed the placement of the cornerstone of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church

On Sunday, February 28th, 1857, more than 200 people witnessed the placement of the cornerstone of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

The simple rectangular adobe church with a wooden porch was completed in 1859, the same year that the land on which it stood was officially deeded to the Church by Victor Juarez and his wife, Maria Domingues. This land was north of East Valley Road between Hot Springs Road and Picacho Lane. The Little Church of the Fathers, as it came to be called, was a simple rectangular adobe with a wooden porch. The church had no permanent pastor; instead, the fathers from the Mission came to perform the religious services.

The simple rectangular adobe church with a wooden porch was completed in 1859, the same year that the land on which it stood was officially deeded to the Church.

The church had no permanent pastor; instead, the fathers from the Mission came to perform the religious services.

The church had no permanent pastor; instead, the fathers from the Santa Barbara Mission came to perform the religious services.

In the late 1800’s, irrigation allowed agriculture to flourish and the population grew with many families from the Mid-west moving to California. As the community continued to grow a new larger church was soon needed.As the community continued to grow a new larger church was soon needed.

In the late 1800’s, irrigation allowed agriculture to flourish and the population grew with many families from the Mid-west moving to California. As the community continued to grow a new larger church was soon needed.

Although the residents were extremely poor, the community pooled its resources and over the span of a decade raised $800 to build a little wooden church in 1898.

Although the residents were extremely poor, the community pooled its resources and raised $800 to build a new church.

A white wooden church was built at the current location of the church at the corner of Hot Springs and East Valley Roads.

A white wooden church was built at the current location of the church at the corner of Hot Springs and East Valley Roads in 1898. The original old adobe chapel became a lemon-packing house until the priests objected to its non-religious function and made it a dwelling for the poor. It later became a private home but unfortunately burned to the ground a few years later.

When the population of Montecito mushroomed in the early 20th century, the new church became too small for its members, but the parish could not afford to build a new one. Then, in 1936, three sisters, Clara and Mary Cudahy and Elizabeth Cudahy Nelson donated money for construction, and plans went forward to build the present structure.

As the population of the area continued to grow in the early 20th century, the new little wooden church once again became too small for its members.

e parish could not afford to build a new one. Then, in 1936, three sisters, Clara and Mary Cudahy and Elizabeth Cudahy Nelson donated money for construction, and plans went forward to build the present structure. T

Since the parish was unable to come up with the funds to build a new church, three sisters who moved to Montecito from the Mid-west, funded the construction of what is the current Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

The unique architectural style was patterned after the Pueblo Indian missions built in New Mexico and Arizona as early as the 17th century.

The parish pastor hired Los Angeles architect Ross Montgomery, as he was well-known for his extensive knowledge of pueblo style architecture.

The unique architectural style was patterned after the Pueblo Indian missions built in New Mexico and Arizona as early as the 17th century

The unique architectural style, known as “Pueblo Revival,” was patterned after the Pueblo Indian missions built in New Mexico and Arizona as early as the 17th century. It is a unique blend of missionary design and building techniques reminiscent of the Pueblo Indians.

The style, known as "Pueblo Revival," is a unique blend of missionary design and building techniques reminiscent of the Pueblo Indians.

Father Cox, who led the construction of the new church, passed away in 1939, leaving a legacy of generosity to those in need during the Great Depression. It is said that no one was turned away from his door.

I'll never tell.

I’ll never tell.

Over the years, ew school building, dedicated on March 28th 1954, and the completion of a chapel in 1963, expanding the capacity of the church from 300 to 600 parishioners.

Over the years, a parish school was added along with a new chapel that expanded the capacity of the church from 300 to 600 parishioners.

e establishment of an art center for students as well as the addition of beautiful new furniture for the Altar.

The church also established an art center for students…

as well as the addition of beautiful new furniture for the Altar.

…and added some beautiful new additions to the Altar.

Parish leaders are presently focused on the preservation of our Church and the parish buildings by completing major projects including the installation of a new Church roof, the repair of the Church bells along with the installation of a steel structure to support the bells on the Church, and the installation of a new sewer line. These projects and attention to regular maintenance of the property assures future generations will worship and learn at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Parish leaders are presently focused on preserving the Church and other parish buildings by completing major projects. These include the installation of a new roof, the repair of the bells, and the installation of a new sewer line. These projects will help assure future generations will be able to continue to worship and visit this beautiful church in the heart of Montecito.

Our Lady Of Mt Carmel 1300 E Valley Rd Santa Barbara, California 93108 Phone: (805) 969-6868 Website: http://www.Olmc-Montecito.Com Mass Times Sunday: 10:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM Monday: 7:45 AM Tuesday: 7:45 AM Wednesday: 7:45 AM Thursday: 7:45 AM Friday: 7:45 AM Saturday: 7:45 AM, 4:30 PM Holy Day: 10:00 AM, 7:45 AM Holy Day Vigil: 5:30 PM

Our Lady Of Mt Carmel
1300 E Valley Rd
Santa Barbara, California 93108
Phone: (805) 969-6868
Website: http://www.Olmc-Montecito.Com