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The mystery of Victoriana Armijo

A rather sociable ghost has also been reported throughout various locations in the La Placita Restaurant. Many believe that it is Ambrosia’s daughter Victoriana. Victoriana was born in 1849 and died the 6th of October 1867 at the tender age of 18. She was married to Jose Ynez Perea and it is speculated that she died during complications with childbirth. Since Teresa didn’t marry young, it’s safe to say that they wouldn’t have rushed another daughter to the altar, especially considering their wealth.  They didn’t need to marry anyone off for familial survival. Her full name is Maria Victoriana Armijo Perea. Ambrosia gave the first name of Maria to all of his daughters.

Here is one of the popular ghost stories about her.

She seems to favor the main hallway that contains the antique stairs that were imported from Spain. Her apparition was reported by one of the security guards that patrols Old Town at night. South Plaza Street lines up directly with a large window in the building, giving a view of one of the major hallways of the building. This hall contains the entrances to the restrooms, the artist’s gallery as well as providing a good view of the antique staircase.

One night, the security guard was out doing his rounds when he turned onto South Plaza Street. As his headlights illuminated the hallway through the window, he saw something unusual and pulled over to investigate. Unable to determine exactly what he saw, he decided to come in the next morning to talk to the manager about it.

The next day he asked the manger if he was renting out any part of the building. The manger’s reply was, “No, it’s a restaurant. We are not renting any part of it out to tenants. Why do you ask?” The security guard then told him of his patrol the previous night. “As I was approaching your building last night around 2:30 a.m., I noticed a woman holding a baby in your hallway. She looked directly at me, and then moved off to another portion of the building. I got out of the car to look for her, but I was unable to see her again through any of the window. None of the alarms had gone off, so I figured that she belonged inside. I just wanted to check with you to make sure.”

The manager once again informed him that no areas of the building were being rented out to anyone and that no one would have been inside that early in the morning.

When asked what the woman looked like, the security guard moved inside the artist’s gallery and pointed to a mural on the north wall. “She looked almost exactly like the third figure (from the left) in this mural.”

The first ghost story about her can also be found in this post. However in that newspaper article, it is suggested that she died of the plague.

Because the “ghost” was holding a baby, many people believe that she Ambrosia’s daughter Victoriana. Since it is speculation that she died during child birth, I decided to search the newspaper archives and the records kept at the Center for Southwest Research to see if I could confirm that part of the tale. Was it the plague or some sort of complications during childbirth as the story suggests?

However, I could not locate anything about how she died. Even her burial records are unknown. I found this to be odd as most of her family is buried in the Santa Barbara section of Mount Calvary Cemetery. The only things I located was an article written two years before her death that described what she was wearing to a “grand balle” and a mention of her playing piano in a performance with her sister Teresa. So, for now, the cause of her death and burial location is going to remain a mystery.

 

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