I met a Welsh pony named Te Quiero this week. He was all white, including his mane. As I approached his corral, he walked toward me and then stretched his head forward, sweet as could be, encouraging me to pat his nose and looking like he had something to tell me. If this sounds like a crazy Earth Day dream, believe me, it felt like one, too. But it was only one of many dreamlike details that I experienced during my recent visit to the magical estate at 130 Canyon Acres Drive in Santa Barbara last Sunday afternoon.
Just off Foothill near North Ontare, Canyon Acres Drive winds above Stevens Park in San Roque. The home at 130 Canyon Acres sits at the very top of the street, at the end of a cul-de-sac. It overlooks San Roque Canyon, over the treetops in every direction, with a view all the way to the ocean: both to the harbor and Hendry’s Beach from the backyard and to UCSB and Goleta from the front of the house.
The home was built in 1915 by renowned architect Russel Ray for Julia Watson Horne, who had moved to Santa Barbara from Pittsburgh and set out to establish a prominent residence overlooking her new community. The original estate included a tea house in the canyon so that Horne and her guests could be served tea beside the creek. The tea house reportedly survived at least until the 1960s.
The home’s storied past harks back even earlier. One large boulder on the property is historically protected because it was used as a grinding stone by the Chumash. Arrowheads have also been found on the grounds. In the 1940s, the home was converted and used as the Santa Barbara Military Academy, and in the 1950s, five acres of the property were donated to Stevens Park. The house has even had three different addresses in its lifetime, as the land and streets around it have been developed and changed.
Eric Foote and David Palermo