Fabled Gables: 28 West Arrellaga Street

This early vintage treasure had an initial investment of $2,000.G. Vince Giovannoni

Original Owner: Frances C. “Franny” Sawyer

Year Built: 1887

Architect: Unknown

This week’s architectural review focuses on an early vintage treasure with an initial investment in a $2,000 property lot.

The history of 28 West Arrellaga Street began in 1881 when the state of California deeded Block 47 of the City of Santa Barbara to Caroline Price, who later married Thomas Sprague. Five years later, the couple sold their land to Edwin Goodall and Samuel Woolsey-Backus of San Francisco. Goodall was employed as secretary of the Goodall, Nelson & Perkins Steamship Company, which operated the well-celebrated ocean liner of the day, Orizaba, and often docked in Santa Barbara and other notable ports of call along the California coastline. In addition to their steamship enterprise, the Goodall brothers had additional real estate ventures in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and the Santa Ynez Valley during the 1870s and 1880s. After one year of ownership, Goodall and Woolsey-Backus sold two sections of Block 47, one of which was acquired for $2,000 by widow Frances C. “Franny” Sawyer, whose late husband was Milo Sawyer, a prominent real estate investor and president of the First National Gold Bank. Franny was a founding member of Cottage Hospital and commissioned the residence to be built on her vacant lot. Upon her death in 1910, the property was bequeathed to her sister, Ellen Fisher, of Washington, D.C. After a year of ownership, the property was sold to Miss Rose A. Everett, a teacher at Garfield Grammar School (now the site of SBCC’s Schott Campus for adult education).

By 1914, Everett sold the property to Charles E. Kenyon, secretary for the Reynolds Electric Company and the Masonic Temple Association. When Kenyon passed away six years later, his widow, Anna Peltier Kenyon, remained in home for the next 23 years. During her ownership in the 1930s, the property was converted from a single-family residence into a four-unit studio apartment house. In 1943, the home was purchased by bookkeeper Oliver L. Moulds and his wife, Ruby, and subsequently passed the home to their son Richard and later to his daughter, Alyce Moulds Pierce. In 1991, the current owners acquired the property, where it remains zoned for an office and multi-story-use building.

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