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Fabled Gables: 1633-1635 Garden Street

Courtesy Photo

Probable Original Owner: Wheeler W. Pierce

Estimated Year of Construction: 1875

Architect: Unknown

This generously proportioned Victorian-style residence was built in approximately 1875 and owned by Wheeler W. Pierce, a gentleman farmer. Little is known about him or his family, other than in 1882, the city assessment records show Pierce owned $50 worth of furniture, a $50 wagon, and $135 in livestock, including a horse, colt, and cow. The cash value of his real estate was placed at $450, with improvements valued at $600.

Of all the grand homes in Santa Barbara to survive since the 1870s, this is one of the very few that was built in excess of 3,500 square feet, spread across a flat, usable corner lot. The majority of the home’s asymmetrical exterior is designed in period siding of the 1870s, known as shiplap vernacular. This horizontal wood veneer covers the base frame of the home, while the eaves, porches, and rooflines are festooned with varying degrees of decorative tracery and spindlework at virtually every corner, turn, and projection along the façade.

The Pierce family owned the house for nearly 70 years, and the current residents have enjoyed the property for more than 40 years.

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