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26 East Ortega Street

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Designation Status: Structure of Merit

Assessor Parcel Number: 037-132-037

Historic Name: W.W. McDonald Iron Works

Constructed: 1920

Property Description:

A single-story Spanish Colonial Revival style structure with a medium pitched front gable covered in terra cotta tiles. Stucco clads the smooth wall space, interrupted only by an iron wrought lamp. A large arched show window dominates the front façade of the structure, allowing easy viewing into the building as its original commercial design intended. Below rests an intricately crafted tile base board adding an additional stylish flare. The extended portion of the building featuring a row of five arches supporting a mono pitched terra cotta tile roof is a non-original addition to the structure, making it an excellent example of structure remodeled in the Spanish Colonial Revival style which stays true to its historic integrity and significance. The structure conveys its original 1920 architectural influence.

Architect: Unknown

Architectural Style: Spanish Colonial Revial

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 of Merit under the following criteria provided by the Municipal Code, Section 22.22.040:

Criterion A. Its character, interest or value as a significant part of the heritage of the City, the State or the Nation:
The minimally altered 1920 Spanish Colonial Revival style building is important to the heritage of Santa Barbara as the details that are found on the building constitute a resource valuable for its ability to exemplify methods of construction, craftsmanship, attention to detail and artistry reflective of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building illustrates social and aesthetic movements, and conveys a sense of place and time of 1920. Known for its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Santa Barbara owes much of its charm to the many thick plaster walls and clay tile roofs of this style. The various subtle details carved in wood or crafted in iron add to the quality of the architecture and character of the city. Spanish Colonial Revival architecture will always be key to Santa Barbara’s identity.
Criterion D. Its exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City, the State, or the Nation:
The building exemplifies the Spanish Colonial Revival style which emphasize the smooth, uninterrupted stucco walls, terra cotta tiles, and recessed entryways; each interpreted and redefined by local architects or regions in their own oeuvre of the form, massing, and decorative treatments. In Santa Barbara, examples of Spanish Colonial Revival style can be found throughout the City as one of its most defining styles of architecture. This building is an excellent example of a commercial interpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, which became an important part of Santa Barbara’s heritage in the 1920s, when the City deliberately transformed its architecture and look from an ordinary western style town into a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival/Mediterranean style city. This transformation was the result of the planning vision of a number of Santa Barbara citizens in the early 1920s with the founding of the Santa Barbara Community Arts Association, which urged that the town identify its individual character and then use planning principles to develop it. As an original 1927 Spanish Colonial Revival style building, the building qualifies as a Structure of Merit under criterion D.

Criterion G. Its embodiment of elements demonstrating outstanding attention to architectural design, detail, materials and craftsmanship:
The building embodies elements that demonstrate an outstanding attention to design, detail, materials, and craftsmanship with the gabled, terra cotta tile roof, the smooth stucco walls, the large arched roof, the continuous arches of the arcade and the decorative tile add a defining touch to the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

Historic Integrity: The building retains most of its original features so that it has high historic integrity of location, feeling, setting, design, materials, workmanship and association. The building can convey its 1920 original appearance.

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