Casa de la Guerra Historic House Museum

5 East De la Guerra St.,
Santa Barbara, CA

The Casa de la Guerra Museum is located at 15 E. De la Guerra Street. Casa de la Guerra is open to the public Thursday - Sunday, Noon to 4:00 p.m. Museum phone: (805) 966-6961. Guided tours of the site can be arranged by contacting the Trust at (805) 965-0093.

Casa de la Guerra is one of the most important remnants of Santa Barbara's Spanish-Mexican heritage, along with the Presidio and the Mission. It has been at the heart of Santa Barbara's history since its construction (1819-1827) by the fifth Presidio comandante, Jose de la Guerra. Among Santa Barbara's wealthiest and most influential citizens, the Spanish-born Don Jose stood out as the patriarchal figure to whom the entire community looked for protection and assistance. That legacy survived in the political activity of his son Pablo during the early years of California's statehood. Don Pablo served as a state senator and as lieutenant governor of the state. Prior to statehood he was a local judge. Descendants of the family remain prominent in Santa Barbara County and in other areas of California.

Built during a time when the average residence was a one or two-room adobe with perhaps a small attached wooden lean-to, the Casa de la Guerra was an example of an unusual, affluent home type. It was remodeled from time to time to fit changing family needs and the prevailing style of the period. The house played an important role in the civic and social life of Santa Barbara well into the twentieth century. Gala celebrations were held for family weddings and government emissaries visits. In 1874 the first City Hall was constructed opposite the Casa in Plaza de la Guerra. In 1922-23 the El Paseo complex was designed and built around the Casa after its purchase by Bernhard Hoffmann. When the first modern Old Spanish Fiesta was held in 1924, parties and teas in honor of members of the early families were held at Casa de la Guerra. Following the devastating June 29, 1925, earthquake in Santa Barbara, the Casa and El Paseo served as models for rebuilding parts of the downtown.

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