Fabled Gables: 1404 De la Vina Street

1404 De la Vina Street

Peter J. Barber was a prominent Santa Barbara architect whose residential commissions focused on Italianate Victorian-style architecture. The commanding attributes of this vernacular resemble a box-like appearance with flat roofs, narrow doors and windows, wraparound porches, and, often, square towers.

Originally known as the Lincoln House, 1404 De la Vina Street was commissioned by the Amasa Lincoln family, a distant cousin to president Abraham Lincoln. The family had moved to California in hopes of becoming cattle ranchers but, instead, opted for a life in town over the country.

Serving as both a private residence and boarding house, the property changed hands several times until 1898, when Cyrus Upham acquired and expanded the amenities. The hotel now wears his name. Among his more impressive upgrades are three indoor bathrooms, which were very unusual for the time period.

Many celebrity tenants have stayed there, including Charles Nordhoff, coauthor of Mutiny on the Bounty, and Aldous Huxley, best known for his novel Brave New World. A visiting professor at UCSB in 1959, Huxley fondly referred to the hotel as “the dear old Upham.”

Today, it is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California.


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