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800 Alvarado Pl

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Designation Status: Designated City Landmark

Assessor Parcel Number: 019-170-022

Historic Name: El Encanto Hotel

Constructed: 1913, 1918, 1930

Property Description:

El Encanto hotel make use of two distinct styles. Craftsman, also known at the Arts and Crafts style include elements such as low horizontal lines, low-pitched hipped or gabled roofs with broad overhanging eaves supported on exposed rafters, shingled exterior siding, brick chimneys, partial or full length porches with wood or stone supports that frequently extend to ground level, and multi-paned windows. The Spanish Colonial Revival style is defined by low-pitched or flat with clay tiled roofs, thick masonry walls covered with stucco, deeply recessed multi-paned windows with decorative window grilles of wood or wrought iron.

Architect: Soule, Ray, Eaton, Edwards, Plunkett, Howell

Architectural Style: Craftsman Vernacular / Spanish Colonial Revival

Property Type: Hotel

Original Use:


El Encanto Hotel began as a school dormitory for the State Normal School of Santa Barbara. It was converted by 1918 to a cottage style resort by the A.K Bennet Hotel Corporation on the recently named American Riviera. The hotel came of age during a time when Santa Barbara was beginning to market itself as a vacation destination. The original 1913 bungalows were designed in the Craftsman style by noted architect Winsor Soule. In the 1920s, Spanish Colonial Revival style bungalows were added by the famous firm of Edwards, Plunkett and Howell. These bungalows are surrounded by beautiful gardens lined by sandstone walls and centered on a pergola and lily pond designed by Charles Frederick Easton. Much of the 35 buildings and 8 landscape features within the boundaries of the El Encanto Hotel remain intact.

The El Encanto Hotel District was designated a Santa Barbara Historic Landmark on 06-18-2013.

Significant as a City Landmark as per City Council findings (Resolution No. 13-054) by the following criteria:

A. Its character, interest or value as a significant part of the heritage of the City, the State or the Nation because the bungalows are connected with Santa Barbara's transition towards identification as a vacation destination and because of the bungalows association with famed local architects Soule, Edwards, Plunkett, and Howell;
D. Its exemplification of a particular architectural style (California Bungalow) or way of life important to the City, the State, or the Nation;
E. Its exemplification of the best remaining architectural type in a neighborhood;
F. Its identification as the creation, design, or work of a person or persons (Soule, Edwards, Plunkett, and Howell) whose effort significantly influenced the heritage of the City, the State, or the Nation;
G. Its embodiment of elements demonstrating outstanding attention to architectural design, detail, materials and craftsmanship;
I. Its unique location or singular characteristic representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood.

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