Fabled Gables: 505 Chapala Street

505 Chapala Street
G. Vince Giovannoni

Original Owner: Sarah Levy

Year of Construction: 1887

In 1876, Samuel Brinkerhoff, Santa Barbara’s first physician and prominent entrepreneur, owned this undeveloped section of property. Eleven years later, in 1887, when the residence was constructed, the economy was undergoing vast changes from farmland to residential development, as a thriving building boom was underway largely due to the Southern Pacific Railroad connecting Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

This simple one-and-a-half-story house, which is built on a wooden foundation and features shiplap siding, was most likely designed by a carpenter-builder of the era to incorporate Victorian and Italianate architectural styles. The roof is high-gabled, the bay window is supported by decorative brackets, and the transom window, located directly above the front door, adds a sense of height to the home’s entrance. The Italianate porch’s support columns are enhanced with Gothic scroll ornamentation.

Courtesy Photo

By 1889, this house belonged to a widow, Mrs. S. Levy, who may have been the wife of Samuel Levy, a merchant with the Santa Barbara Lumber Company. Two years later, in 1891, ownership passed to a probable relative, Leon Levy, a saloonkeeper and owner of a liquor store located at 510 State Street. For the next five decades, the home was occupied by the Harry L. and Emilia Myers family.

In 1957, with the addition of a room and passageway, the Levy house was connected to the neighboring property, which served as a treatment center for alcoholics. Currently, the home is privately owned.

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