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17 21 West Ortega Street

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Designation Status: Structure of Merit

Assessor Parcel Number: 037-131-022

Historic Name:

Constructed: 1905

Property Description:

A single story structure designed in the Mission Revival style serving as commercial units for three separate businesses. The building is flat roofed with stucco sheathing featuring a Mission style shaped parapet with an ornamental circular grate beneath the peak of the parapet. The front façade is divided into three identical store fronts, each comprised of large, single pane windows and transoms resting atop a wooden baseboard. A wooden door with divided lights comprise the main entrance of each business..


Architectural Style: Mission Revival

Property Type: Commercial

Original Use: Commercial


The City of Santa Barbara establishes historic significance as provided by the Municipal Code, Section 22.22.040. On June 26, 2019, the Historic Landmarks Commission designated the building a Structure Merit based on the following criteria outlined in the Municipal Code:
Criterion A. Its character, interest or value as a significant part of the heritage
of the City, the State or the Nation:
This building is an example of the Mission Revival style. Influential California architects like Arthur Page Brown and Arthur Benton championed the style by bringing Mission elements into their designs. Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition saw the California building designed as a Mission Revival building. By the mid 1890’s, Mission Revival architecture was in full flight. Its popularity soared, especially in the southwest. Hotels across the region began building in Mission Revival style. The Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads built their train stations in the new style. Great works of Californian architecture like the Mission Inn in Riverside and the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in Los Angeles were built in this style. A huge hit in California, Mission Revival architecture soon spread across the nation. Enthused with a newfound love of Early California, architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries looked to the southwest icons of early Spanish architecture, the Missions. In Santa Barbara, buildings such as the train station helped give Mission Revival architecture a strong presence in the City. A wonderful series of Mission Revival houses in Santa Barbara is the famous Crocker Row on 2000 block of Garden Street, designed by renowned architect Arthur Page Brown. As an original 1905 Mission Revival commercial structure in the core of downtown Santa Barbara, it represents an architectural style the heritage of the City.
Criterion D. Its exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City, the State, or the Nation:
This style of architecture found its place in Santa Barbara with inspiration from the widespread Missions in California. Enthused for the early roots of California, a movement to restore and protect the Missions spread throughout the state in the later part of the 1800's. Mission Revival architecture was born. Harkening to the missions with stucco sheathing, massive parapets, walls, tile roofs, and of course, prominent mission gables, this style took a decisive stance as it honored California's past. This style of architecture found its place in Santa Barbara with inspiration from the widespread Missions in California. The strongest and most important Mission Revival characteristic of this building is the Mission parapet. Based on the rounded parapets of Missions such as Mission San Diego Alcala, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the Mission parapet celebrates the early Spanish roots of California and the Southwestern States. The large store front windows and recessed doorways with transoms piercing the smooth stucco walls distinguish the structure as an authentic example of a Mission Revival commercial structure.
Historic Integrity: The building retains the character defining Mission style parapet with large windows covering a considerable portion of the façade, and smooth stucco walls. With almost all of the original materials and design still present. The building retains enough of its integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, allowing it to convey its original 1905 appearance.

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