31 East Pedregosa Street
Designation Status: Structure of Merit
Assessor Parcel Number: 025-372-017
Historic Name: Storke House
Property Description: This two-story with attic Queen Anne house has a characteristic steep-pitched, cross-gabled roof; horizontal wood siding; fish-scale pattern shingles in the gables; different window styles, including double hung ribbon windows with elaborate scroll hoods and seashell cornices; and a large wrap-around entrance porch.
The windows vary from double-hung with upper sashes with small, square light borders; ribbon windows with elaborate, decorative hoods; vertical rectangular cottage windows; and arched, stained glass windows. The window play is one of the most appealing features of the elevations. The house has a flared cornice between the first and second story with intricate rectangular shingle work. The wrap-around entrance porch is accessed through wide, flattened arches. The house sits on a large corner lot well-landscaped with mature specimen trees.
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Property Type: residence
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 A. Its character, interest or value as a significant part of the heritage of the City, the State or the Nation:
This large, Queen Anne style house was built in 1886 for Charles A. and Mattie More Storke. Storke was a prominent local attorney and publisher of the Los Angeles Herald. The Storkes’ son, Thomas More Storke, would become one of the most influential figures in Santa Barbara history in the 20th century. Among T.M. Storke’s many activities he was the founder and publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press for many years. The house 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 minimally altered 1866 Queen Anne style building is important to the heritage of Santa Barbara as few styles of architecture allow for the exuberant level of detail found in the Queen Anne style. The culmination of Victorian taste, this style shows the eclectic range found in the new era and the ability for manufacturers of the time to distribute these details throughout the country. Thanks to these factors, a variety of ornate columns, spindle work, and elaborate shingles adorn Queen Anne houses in Santa Barbara.
Criterion D. Its exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City, the State or the Nation
The house shows character-defining features of the Queen Anne style.- These need to be spelled out… I did it below. Queen Anne architecture was born in the later part of the Victorian era which included Gothic Revival, Italianate, Stick, and Second Empire styles. In the 1870s, in England, architect Richard Norman Shaw introduced the Queen Anne residential design. It was intended to
evoke domestic architecture of some 200 years earlier. The British public loved it.
In the United States, our own first centennial was then approaching and at the huge Philadelphia Centennial Exhibit in 1876, two model houses were built in the Queen Anne style. Americans immediately took to the style. Massively popular in America, Queen Anne spread across the nation at a rapid pace. Much of its success was due to its affordable wood construction (as opposed to the stone and brick of its contemporary, the Romanesque style), as well as its adaptability.
Although it had little to do with its name-sake Anne of Great Britain (1665-1714), Queen Anne architecture did look to the past. Whether it was ancient Rome with its swags, garlands, and high-classical columns, or its richly patterned walls of the earlier High Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne combined a wide variety of architecture features into one decorative whole.
Santa Barbara’s Lower and Upper West Side neighborhoods, running along Chapala, De La Vina and Bath Streets, are dotted with elegant Queen Anne residential architecture.
The house employs the following character defining features of the Queen Anne Style.
• Form: The asymmetrical massing with the most complex cross-gables and steeply pitched roof.
• Gable, Cornice and Eave Details: The triangular shape of the gable is filled with fishscale patterns of shingles. The house has a flared cornice between the first and second story with rectangular shingle work.
• Porch: The wrap-around entrance porch is accessed through wide, flattened arches.
• Windows: The windows vary from double-hung with upper sashes with small, square light borders; ribbon windows with elaborate, decorative hoods; vertical rectangular cottage windows; and arched, stained glass windows. The window play is one of the most appealing features of the elevations. The elaborate scrolls on the hoods above the windows.
Criterion G. Its embodiment of elements demonstrating outstanding attention to architectural design, detail, materials and craftsmanship:
The Queen Anne residence embodies elements that demonstrate outstanding attention to architectural design, details, materials and craftsmanship beginning with the embellished wood work and fish scale shingles in the gable ends, the divided light windows in the upper sashes with ogee lugs, the wood windows made from old growth wood, that is durable and termite resistant, with profiles that play with the light and shadow on the house, and the expressive entrance from the large wide stairs leading to the arches of the front porch.
Criterion I. Its unique location or singular physical characteristic representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood
Sources indicate that the Storke House was the first house built in what were then fields, later blocks, between Mission and Islay Streets to the north and south, and Garden and Bath Streets to the east and west. So the house was for a time the sole visual staple of what would become the beautiful Upper East neighborhood. Today the main house dominates its corner location of Pedregosa and Anacapa Streets, as powerful in its design as it is familiar as an established and visual feature of the neighborhood. It also remains one of the finest “survivors” of the Queen Anne variant of Victorian architecture in the city.
The house is in excellent condition, with almost all of the original materials and design still present. The house did undergo several additions beginning in the early 1900s – one in particular was contributed by J. M. Williamson, a prolific Santa Barbara builder at the turn of the century. But the additions have not subtracted substantially from its integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, allowing it still to convey the forcefulness of its original appearance. The carriage house that stood at the north end of the property became a separate residence in the late 1940s when the lot presumably was split.
Andree, Herb, et al. Santa Barbara Architecture. 3rd ed. 2004.
City of Santa Barbara Architectural and Historic Resources Survey, February 22, 1980.
D’Alfonso, Virginia, ed. Survivors: Santa Barbara’s Last Victorians. 1979.
Graffy, Neal. Street Names of Santa Barbara. 2nd ed. 2015.
Grumbine, Anthony. City of Santa Barbara, Styles Guide, Queen Anne style.
Tompkins, Walker A. Santa Barbara Neighborhoods. 1989.
Prepared by Jay Carlander, Historic Consultant