Fabled Gables: 302 West Micheltorena Street

302 West Micheltorena Street

Original Owner: Frances Baxter

Year of Construction: 1893

Architect: J.S. Barker

This antique Victorian is located on the street named in honor of Manuel Micheltorena, a Mexican governor of California in 1842-1845. Appointed by the president of Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Micheltorena fought for both privatization and preservation of the historic California missions.

This home was built for Frances Baxter, the widow of A. Sydney Baxter. Both of them come from colorful pasts: Mrs. Baxter is related to Governor William Bradford of Massachusetts, while Mr. Baxter’s ancestry stems from a well-to-do Vermont family whose members served on Ulysses S. Grant’s staff during the Civil War. Upon the war ending, the couple lived briefly in New York. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Baxter became widowed and relocated to Santa Barbara in 1887.

After the Baxter family sold the property in 1918, it was home to osteopathic surgeon Frank Lynch, followed shortly by James Tucker, a fireman and freight-car inspector for Southern Pacific railroad who lived there for 40 years.

The two-story residence contains an especially intriguing architectural element: a double-pitched, Swedish gambrel roof. This is viewed in the roofline high point, which runs in both east-to-west and north-to-south configurations, where the two upper slopes protrude outward in shallow context from the center point. Other notable ornamentations include sweeping bargeboards; bay windows, dentils, and columns; and a tiny dash of fish scaling in the panel between the two windows over the porch.


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