Montecito Lifestyle Then & Now

Posted on Sep 1 by SEASONS Magazine

Vintage photo of Potter Hotel, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Vintage photo postcard of Potter Hotel, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

By Cheryl Crabtree

In the late 1800s, wealthy tourists from across the nation—many from the snowy Midwest and eastern states—began to vacation in Santa Barbara, lured by reports of fantastic weather and a gorgeous natural setting. At first, they stayed in posh hotels like The Arlington (Santa Barbara’s first resort hotel, built in 1875), The Upham (built in 1872) and The Potter Hotel (built in 1902). But many of the vacationers decided they wanted to stay here year-round, bought property and built lavish residences to accommodate their families and staff. Montecito was considered a prime location for such estates, as the idyllic climate and scenery provided the perfect setting for those seeking respite from cold winters and the hubbub of urban life.

Vintage postcard of Arlington Hotel, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Vintage postcard of Arlington Hotel, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

By the 1920s, grand mansions sprouted up throughout Montecito, from mountains to the sea. Many reflected the hybrid Mediterranean and Spanish-Colonial Revival architectural styles that were popular at the time.

Madame Ganna Walska In Front of House, courtesy Lotusland.

Madame Ganna Walska in front of house, courtesy Lotusland.

Montecito continues to lure residents who seek peaceful refuge in a magnificent natural environment with creeks, hiking trails, wildlife habitats and verdant gardens. The following pages include stories about both contemporary residences and several historic mansions built between 1920 and the early 1930s. All serve as excellent examples of the various ways Montecito residents created their own slices of paradise in this spectacular setting.

Portraits of the daughters flank a Steinway piano in the music room a Bellosguardo, the Clark summer home in Santa Barbara. One of their mother Anna Clark's French pedal harps is at left. No one from the immediate family has visited since the early 1950s. This photo is from about 1940. Photo: Karl Obert from EmptyMansionsBook.com.

Portraits of the daughters flank a Steinway piano in the music room a Bellosguardo, the Clark summer home in Santa Barbara. One of their mother Anna Clark’s French pedal harps is at left. No one from the immediate family has visited since the early 1950s. This photo is from about 1940. Photo: Karl Obert from EmptyMansionsBook.com.

Front Entrance of Casa del Herrero, courtesy Casa del Herrero.

Front Entrance of Casa del Herrero, courtesy Casa del Herrero.

 

Vintage postcard of Potter Hotel, circa 1903, Sohn Kunstverlag, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Vintage postcard of Potter Hotel, circa 1903, Sohn Kunstverlag, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Related Montecito Lifestyle Then & Now Stories:

Ranchito Bendito

Glorious Gardens

Modern Marvel

Historic Montecito Estates

Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

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