Fabled Gables: 1515 De la Vina Street

Original Owner: Elizabeth Noble

Estimated Year of Construction: 1887

This one-story wood-frame cottage is enhanced with several architectural details that are evident in both decorative sidings and porch elements. In most circumstances, Victorian homes built in the 1880s were often decorated with fish-scale siding, in which wooden shingles are trimmed with a curvature detail on the bottom half and applied as a decorative veneer on the exterior sides of the home.

For this residence, the pattern deviates from the standardized fish-scale design and gravitates toward a hexagon pattern, as observed in and around the attic window. Another unique feature to the property is decorative dual arches along the front porch, which are supported by turned posts with knobs. An additional feature is the railing or balustrade posts that are constructed in a flat, sawn baluster style versus circular, spindle-laden design.

Of all the Victorian-era properties which survived the 1925 earthquake, this property could possibly have the longest chain of ownership stemming back to the 1850s. Here’s the timeline:

1859: The section of land known as “Block 63,” which encompassed the 1500 block of De la Vina Street and belonged to the City of Santa Barbara, was sold to George Maxwell.

1861: The block was acquired by real estate investor Charles Pierce.

1863: The block was purchased by J.E. Goux, a prominent merchant and landowner.

1869: Goux sold the block to H.G. Crane, a lawyer and justice of the peace.

1873: Crane sold the block to John E. Spencer of Morristown, New Jersey, who died the following year, and bequeathed the property to his sister, also a resident of Morristown. She maintained the property for another 13 years. It is believed that she wintered in Santa Barbara and invested in many acres of wooded acreage in Montecito from 1870 to 1880.

1887: Elizabeth Noble purchased the land, where she designed and built a home on the site.

1897: Peter Rodriguez acquired the residence and lived on the property for the next 43 years. He was the gardener for E.P. Ripley, president of the Santa Fe Railroad.

1940: Manuel Sampson, a nephew of Peter Rodriguez, inherited the residence, where he and his wife lived for approximately the next five decades. Early in his career, Sampson worked as a cowboy actor doing one-reelers for the Flying A Studios on West Mission Street.

1989: After Mrs. Sampson died, her caregiver, June Walsh, inherited the home and maintained the residence for nearly a decade.

1997: The current owners acquired the property in the spring of 1997, and it has undergone improvements with refined attention to detail during the renovation process.

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