I'm a planner and plan and write my blog post ahead of time. I was planning on sharing Kate & Dustin's wedding today because it is their anniversary. Congratulations, you two!
But I've had to rewrite this blogpost. You see, Kate & Dustin got married in a beautiful little community known as Last Chance. Their wedding reception was held in the beautiful community barn. Dustin got ready in the old schoolhouse. They had their first look under the mother redwood tree, and we took portraits in the community garden.
Like many of the last chance residents, Dustin and his brother Geoffrey helped save many people's homes during the CZU Lightning Complex fires. Unfortunately, most of the Last Chance homes were not spared, including Geoffrey's house and the beautiful Last Chance Ranch Barn, where Kate & Dustin's wedding reception was.
I didn't know much about this little community in Davenport before meeting Kate & Kevin. I'm so glad that I did! Last chance seemed like the last of its kind, a place where people truly cared about each other where the word community meant so much more than it does in our busy worlds today.
After driving 6 miles down Last Chance Road from Davenport, I came to the Last Chance Ranch Barn that stands in a big open field surrounded by Redwood trees all around. The barn was filled with pictures of Kate & Dustin and their beautiful family. There were vibrant flowers that livened up the historic barn. I wonder if this is what it was like in the '60s & 70's when the first "hippies" had their community pot lucks together in this barn.
Several of the original Last Chance settlers started The School of the Earth, an alternative school organized for their children in the late 1960s. The schoolhouse is a quaint little wooden building with beautiful big windows. This was where Dustin and his groomsmen got ready in.
From the outside, the house Kate was getting ready reminded me of Collage House, a Mumbai house designed by S+PS Architects. It's a mosaic of windows; only this house is located in the middle of the Redwood forest, not the busy Mumbai. Once I got inside, though, the home was filled to the brim with family and friends. You immediately feel that sense of community that makes Last Chance such a special place.
Kate & Dustin had their first look under the mother redwood tree, and I could not imagine a better place! I was relieved to hear from Kate that the mother tree is still standing.
Even though bittersweet looks at these pictures today, I know that the Last Chance community will rebuild. If you would like to support them in this endeavor, please consider donating to the The Last Chance Community Center Fund.
Here is a list of Go Fund me links if you would like to contribute to help the Last Chance Community.
Left: A picture of Dustin & Geoffrey after hours of risking their lives to save the homes of others.