Fabled Gables: 1419 De la Vina Street

Original Owner: H.G. Crane

Estimated Year of Construction: 1875

Architect: Peter J. Barber (attributed)

In the 1860s, the section of land encompassing the 1400 block of De la Vina Street belonged to J.E. Goux, a prominent merchant who was involved with many real estate transactions.

Between 1869 and 1886, the land ownership was held by H.G. Crane, who was employed as a lawyer and a justice of the peace. During his tenure, it was believed that Crane retained the noted Santa Barbara architect Peter J. Barber to design and build a Victorian-Italianate-style home.

In the mid-1890s, the residence was purchased by the Hoover family, of which E.B. Hoover was principal of the Santa Barbara Business College, located at West Arrellaga and Anacapa streets.

In 1902, Mary Wright and her relatives acquired and converted the property into a boarding facility known as De la Vina House. As its popularity grew, the property became an informal gathering place for employees of the Flying A Studios, located a few blocks uptown on West Mission Street. Its most identifying feature is the “Flying A Boarding House” sign that hangs from the front porch.

The Wright family maintained the domicile until 1930, and various landlords have owned the De la Vina House since then, with each proprietor protecting the home’s original architectural character. A fire broke out in an apartment complex on the same lot in 2011 but did not affect the historic structure. Today, with 16 units inside, the De la Vina House continues to be one of the longest-operating apartment buildings in Santa Barbara.

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