16 East Pedregosa Street
Designation Status: Structure of Merit
Assessor Parcel Number: 027-032-028
Historic Name: Robinson House
The house features simple, two-story rectangular massing has a low, hipped roof, widow’s walk, and a symmetrical façade. Brick chimneys adorn the east and west elevations of the house.
The house has wide wood siding. The solid wood, six-paneled front entrance wood door is flanked by decorative side lights and solid, elliptical fanlight above. The centrally located entrance helps to establish the bilateral symmetry of the front façade. The pedimented, triangular entrance portico has double pilasters and columns. The house has operable, rectangular, six-over-six double-hung sash windows, which references America’s early period when large panes of glass were not common since they were expensive and hard to transport without breaking. The windows have operable shutters, which are each half the window width so if closed, they would perfectly cover the window and has “S” curve hooks. The front of the house has a brick circular driveway in the front and a wood, high picket fence.
Architectural Style: American Colonial Revival
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 building qualifies to be designated a Structure of Merit under the following criteria provided by the Municipal Code, Section 22.22.040:
Criterion D. Its exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City, the State or the Nation
The single-family, two-story American Colonial Revival style house was built in 1919 for Mary E. L. Robinson by Alexander MacKeller and is located between State and Anacapa Streets on Pedregosa Street. “Pedregosa” is Spanish for “stony” or “rocky” ground or terrain which described the area surrounding the Mission. Pedregoso Creek was the original name for what is today called Mission Creek. Alluvial rocks and sandstone deposits characterized the natural landscape of the area and served as a popular source for building walls, hitching posts and other structures, many of which remain in the Upper East neighborhood of Santa Barbara.
The house shows character-defining features of the American Colonial Revival style. Enthused for the 100th anniversary of nationhood, the late 1800s saw a resurgence of Colonial-style architecture, which soon grew into a massive movement. Across the nation, American Colonial Revival became the strongest house style of the first half of the 20th century, dominating the vernacular architecture of America. Having left a lasting impression on house design, its effect on the City of Santa Barbara continues to this day.
American Colonial Revival started in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial. It soon began to influence two Victorian styles of architecture. A portion of the developing Queen Anne architecture became Queen Anne Free Classic, which had much of the same detailing as American Colonial Revival but the asymmetry and massing of the Queen Anne, while the Shingle style exhibited traits of early Colonial shingle lean-to additions, as well as some classical detailing such as Palladian windows. As it became more popular, American Colonial Revival began to change from a style inspired by the early Colonial period to a style with highly historically accurate re-creation of architecture details. Periodicals published articles that included photographs and measured drawings of various early Colonial buildings.
In Santa Barbara, American Colonial Revival had a presence, but it was not as strong as in other parts of the country. This was due in part to the strength of the Mission Revival, Craftsman, and Spanish Colonial Revival styles in Santa Barbara during the early 1900s, when American Colonial Revival was popular on a national scale. The style was nevertheless a key part of Santa Barbara’s architectural repertoire. As an excellent example of the American Colonial Revival style, the building qualifies as a Structure of Merit under criterion D.
The house is in good condition, with almost all of the original materials and design still present. The house retains enough of its integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, allowing it to convey its original appearance. The house also contributes to the visual integrity of the Pedregosa streetscape that has maintained much of its historic integrity.
City of Santa Barbara Architectural and Historic Resources Survey, February 22, 1980.
Graffy, Neal. Street Names of Santa Barbara. 2nd ed. 2015.
Grumbine, Anthony. City of Santa Barbara, Styles Guide, American Colonial Revival style.
Tompkins, Walter A. Santa Barbara Neighborhoods. 1989.
Prepared by Jay Carlander, Historic Consultant