Chapel of San Ramon

This parcel of land was purchased by Frederick and Ramona Foxen Wickenden (of neighboring Rancho Tinaquaic) in 1872. The local area was in need of a church, and after the passing of her father, Benjamin Foxen, and his subsequent burial in a field which she resented, Ramona asked Frederick to build a church with a proper cemetery. Frederick drove 5,000 head of sheep to Redwood City, where he sold them for $1 each to raise funds for lumber; both for the chapel as well as additions to the home at Rancho Tinaquaic. Frederick and his brother-in-law Tom, with help of carpenter Chris Clausen of Los Alamos, completed the church in 1875 and the following year Mr. Foxen's body was moved, becoming the first in the churchyard cemetery. In 1879, the church was formally dedicated the Chapel of San Ramon.

Service was held once a month, with priests arriving from either Santa Ynez or Arroyo Grande, until 1908 when attendance dwindled. By 1910, only funeral services for local pioneers were held at the chapel. By 1958, the church had fallen into disrepair when Winston Wickenden (grandson of Frederick and Ramona) organized a committee to restore it. Restoration projects included the installation of a concrete foundation in 1959, lighting in 1972, a fence in 1974, and a new roof in 1978. In 2013, the building underwent a complete renovation to restore it to its former glory.

Today, weekly service is held at the chapel for residents of Tepusquet and Foxen Canyons, presided over by a Josephite priest from St. Louis de Montfort Church in Orcutt. The little building has been recognized multiple times as a landmark; in 1966 it became the first County of Santa Barbara Historic Landmark and in 1975 it was registered as California Historical Landmark #877.

I Visited the San Ramon Chapel
10.7.2019

See Also
Rancho Tinaquaic

Bibliography