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Fabled Gables: 519 Brinkerhoff Avenue

Original Owner: Harry & Eliza Ellen Hawcroft

Year Built: 1889

Designer: Ralph Kinton Stevens

Contractor: William Nickelson

This simple one-and-a-half-story Victorian house with high gabled roof, shiplap siding, and fish-scale shingles was designed by owner/builder Ralph Kinton Stevens and contractor William Nickelson in 1889. Several years before construction began, Stevens and his wife had acquired a Montecito farm at the corner of Sycamore Canyon and Cold Springs roads and used the property as a commercial nursery. In later years, this property became the botanical wonderland of Madame Ganna Walska, now known as her legendary Lotusland estate.

The Stevenses’ son, Ralph Kinton Stevens Jr., became a well-celebrated landscape architect in Santa Barbara, for which Stevens Park in the San Roque neighborhood is dedicated. His noted gardens include the Peabody estate, the 1949 master plan for UCSB, Casa del Herrero, Lotusland, The Biltmore hotel, and Franceschi Park on the Riviera.

In the summer of 1889, shortly after construction finalized, the house was sold for $800 to Eliza Ellen Hawcroft and her husband, the noted blacksmith who was known as “Lord Harry” because of his deep English accent, stately bearing, and immaculate appearance. The couple resided at the property until Harry’s death in 1933. Since then, the home has had a select few owners, all of whom have taken part in maintaining the residence to its original charm and character.

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