Tom Merkel has a smoke on a bench moments before his home is destroyed

Paul Wellman

Tom Merkel has a smoke on a bench moments before his home is destroyed

Tom Merkel’s Paradise Road Cabin Crushed

Photos from the October 21 Bulldozing Session of Longtime Resident’s Home

Friday, October 23, 2009
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On Wednesday, October 21, Tom Merkel’s “Frankenstein” of a cabin on Paradise Road finally met its fate: Bulldozers came to mow it down.

The last holdout of 27 homes along Paradise Road that are within the jurisdiction of the Los Padres National Forest, Merkel’s cabin - built as a hunting lodge for a prominent Santa Barbara family in 1918 - was under the terms of a “recreational lease,” and that lease came due earlier this year. Unrestricted by typical codes and standards because it was always considered a temporary structure, the building itself had become a curiosity. Explained Merkel in an Independent article earlier this year, “It’s a cultural Frankenstein. It’s not Martha Stewart. It’s a little bohemian.”

Here are photographs from Wednesday’s demolition.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Interesting to check out that related link, "the Last Man in Paradise". Sorry to see him have to go. Did not realize, or maybe I forgot, that he was the one who finally relocated the big Santa Claus. The comments to that April story were quite interesting.

bajamama (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2009 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Another cultural treasure lost to the faceless scowl of Progress.

Sorry to see it go. Just glad I got to experience Tom's magical tour while it all was still alive...

UncleBumpy (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2009 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I made a mistake. It was the Frosty the SnowMan that he relocated. You have to love a guy like that/

bajamama (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2009 at 7:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

this is so sad. another genuinely fun piece of history destroyed forever.

bugmenot (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2010 at 9:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I can remember when he lived near summerland, his house had some eccentric antiques and carvings inside, this is a guy who once owned a hundred or more old cars of all types mostly cadillacs from the late forties early fifties. he used to have an old blue tow truck. he traded me a 1969 cadillac for a first year Buick Riviera. I remember a local mechanic telling me in good humour that I had gone from the fat to the fire on that deal. the caddy turned out to need a freeze plug but after fixing that I put many a mile on it. Thank you Tom. I hope you find a new and better place soon.

GluteousMaximus (anonymous profile)
June 4, 2012 at 5:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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