Casa de la Guerra is one of the most important remnants of Santa Barbara's Spanish-Mexican heritage, along with the Presidio and the Mission. It has been at the heart of Santa Barbara's history since its construction (1819-1827).
Spanish-born José de la Guerra, the fifth Presidio comandante and one of Santa Barbara's wealthiest and most influential citizens, stood out as the patriarchal figure to whom the entire community looked for protection and assistance. That legacy survived in the political activity of his son Pablo during the early years of California's statehood. Don Pablo served as a state senator and as lieutenant governor of the state. Prior to statehood he was a local judge. Descendants of the family remain prominent in Santa Barbara County and in other areas of California.
Built during a time when the average residence was a one or two-room adobe with perhaps a small attached wooden lean-to, the Casa de la Guerra was an example of an unusual, affluent home type. It was remodeled from time to time to fit changing family needs and the prevailing style of the period. The house played an important role in the civic and social life of Santa Barbara well into the twentieth century. Gala celebrations were held for family weddings and government emissaries visits. In 1874 the first City Hall was constructed opposite the Casa in Plaza de la Guerra. In 1922-23 the El Paseo complex was designed and built around the Casa after its purchase by Bernhard Hoffmann. When the first modern Old Spanish Fiesta was held in 1924, parties and teas in honor of members of the early families were held at Casa de la Guerra. Following the devastating June 29, 1925, earthquake in Santa Barbara, the Casa and El Paseo served as models for rebuilding parts of the downtown.
Since 1990, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation has been conducting exhaustive research to determine the structural history of the Casa, with particular emphasis on its original configuration. As information is compiled and verified, the Casa is being returned to its appearance during the time José de la Guerra resided there, a thirty-year period between 1828 and 1858. Whenever possible, historic fabric is protected in the restoration process, and materials and building methods similar to those originally used are employed. Some original furnishings have been returned to the rooms. The Casa is a City Landmark, a California Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Saturday - Sunday, Noon to 4:00 PM
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$5/adults, $4/seniors (62+), Free/SBTHP members and children 16 & under (Includes admission to El Presidio de Santa Bárbara SHP)
Non Profit - 501(c)(3)
During normal business hours.
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