Rediscovering Rosemary Cottage

1916 Colonial Revival Home with History

Credit: Betsy J. Green
By: Betsy J. Green

Address: 1821 Anacapa Street

Originally Published in The Santa Barbara Independent

Link to original article here:


A number of homes and estates in the Santa Barbara area have names. Some are fairly well known, such as Bellosguardo or Casa de la Guerra. Other names are less familiar, but the house at 1821 Anacapa Street has a name that no one seemed to be aware of — including the present owner: Rosemary Cottage.

This Colonial-Revival style home appears to have been built about 1916, since the house was listed for the first time in the 1917 city directory for Santa Barbara. Colonial Revival homes were popular from about 1880 to 1955, and generally have a center entrance that is accented with a gabled porch supported by round columns.

Courtesy: Betsy J. Green

The first occupant was an older widow named Julie Matthews Hinsdale, whose daughter — Corinne Hinsdale Whitelaw — lived across the street. When Julie passed away in 1918, the local paper mentioned that her home was named Rosemary Cottage. Presumably, there were rosemary bushes in the yard. The only references to the home’s name date to 1918, so it’s not surprising that the name has remained a mystery for more than 100 years. The home’s owner was not aware of the home’s name. That was the first discovery. The second discovery came later.

In 1919, the home’s most distinguished resident moved in — the landscape artist Thomas Moran and his daughter, Ruth. Moran’s main home was in East Hampton, New York, and is a National Historic Landmark. Starting about 1916-1917, the 80-year-old Moran and his daughter began spending their winters in Santa Barbara. The first couple of years, they stayed at the Potter Hotel and other places. But about 1919, they bought the home at 1821 Anacapa Street and began spending every winter in Rosemary Cottage. 

Thomas Moran | Courtesy of the East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection

Moran’s name is not especially well known today, but in 1917 he was famous enough that the local paper devoted nine paragraphs to him in an article titled, “Noted Painter of Big Views Arrives; Thomas Moran is Famous for His Canvases of Western Outdoor Wonders.” The article ended with a quote from him, “Santa Barbara is the most beautiful city, with its environs, I have seen in all California.” 

In 1871, Moran was part of the team that surveyed the Yellowstone region. It is believed that his sketches were a large part of the reason that Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872. His nickname was “Yellowstone Moran.” 

n 1919, the Santa Barbara Public Library, which doubled as an art museum, exhibited one of his paintings. The local paper stated, “The painting is of the Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, and is considered by connoisseurs, one of the artist’s most important canvases … The canvas is 6×12 feet, and was painted in 1900 … The picture has been exhibited in several cities and is now going to the Grand Canyon.”

One of Moran’s paintings hung in the Oval Office during President Obama’s administration. | Courtesy of Pete Souza

Some of Moran’s landscape paintings are hung in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and a couple are in the White House. During President Obama’s administration, Moran’s painting of Wyoming’s Teton Mountains hung in the Oval Office. Moran died in Santa Barbara in 1926 at age 89. He is buried in East Hampton.

After his death, the house was sold, and at least five families moved into and out of this house until 1965. In that year, Berry A. Watson and Mary Loretta Watson purchased the home for about $42,000. They raised their large family here, and today one of their sons is happily living in his childhood home. He shared that his favorite part of the house is the front porch with its pillars and railing. About a dozen copies of Moran’s landscape paintings adorn the walls.

Credit: Betsy J. Green

A second discovery came as I was leaving the house. I glanced up and noticed a carved plaque above the door — it showed a few branches of rosemary! The present owner, upon learning that the home was Rosemary Cottage, says he is considering planting a rosemary bush, “to honor the past life of the house.”

Please do not disturb the residents of 1821 Anacapa Street.

Betsy J. Green is a Santa Barbara historian and author of Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood, Santa Monica Press, 2002. Her website is

May: The Architecturally Macabre Book Club

May: The Architecturally Macabre Book Club


Hosted by AFSB Vice President, Selinda Tuttle.

“Personally, I prefer to read books—fiction or non-fiction—that feature the city as a character,” says the book club’s curator, AFSB Vice President Selinda Tuttle. “The only thing cooler than reading a book that reckons with a city is being able to talk about that book with people who find it just as worthy of conversation.”

May’s Book:
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt

Register through Eventbrite below to automatically get the ZOOM link for May’s book club meeting. 
Join the private Facebook group (same name) to interact with more book lovers!

Happy Reading!

Kids Draw Architecture 2021 / Niños Dibujan Arquitectura 2021

Annual Sketch Sessions are back. Sketch Your Communities 2021!

Send us your drawings if you’d like them to be considered for our 2022 calendar. Tag us on Facebook. Email them to
Mail or drop them off at our office 229 E. Victoria Street.

Deadline: Wednesday, June 2

More information is in KDA’s page in the Education tab.

The Architecturally Macabre Book Club

NEW EVENT: The Architecturally Macabre Book Club


Hosted by AFSB Vice President, Selinda Tuttle.

“Personally, I prefer to read books—fiction or non-fiction—that feature the city as a character,” says the book club’s curator, AFSB Vice President Selinda Tuttle. “The only thing cooler than reading a book that reckons with a city is being able to talk about that book with people who find it just as worthy of conversation.”

HSDC Winners for 2021!

We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s competition!

* names match from left to right*

Jack Van Thyne, a junior at San Marcos High, won first place.

Susy Lopez, a freshman at Dos Pueblos High, won second place.

Olivia Doman, a junior from Santa Ynez Valley High, won third place.

Ellie Gleason, a sophomore at Dos Pueblos High, was awarded Honorable Mention.

Rachel Lin, a senior at Dos Pueblos High, was awarded Honorable Mention.

Congratulations on all who participated! It was a joy to have this competition despite the complications due to Covid-19 and we look forward to another year of the High School Design Competition!

For more details, visit our High School Design Competition Page through the Education tab to read a featured article on EdHat.

Impossible Objects: Screen Prints by Ed Lister

MM Rainbow by Ed Lister

Impossible Objects: Screen Prints by Ed Lister

March 13 – May 8, 2021
Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara Gallery

MM Rainbow by Ed Lister

The AFSB Art Gallery at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the opening of Impossible Objects, an exhibition of vibrant, abstract silkscreen prints, or serigraphs, by Ed Lister.  

Visitors are invited to view the exhibition on Saturdays, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, March 13 through May 8, 2021, and weekdays by appointment (call 805-965-6307).  The artist will be present on the first and last days of the exhibition,  March 13 & May 6.  (Self-screening, masks, and social distancing are required.)

Ed Lister, known in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara as a skilled scenic artist, created this series of “impossible objects” in the early 1970s while teaching printmaking at the Chelsea School of Art in London.  After teaching art for twelve years, Lister moved to California.  Starting in the mid-70s he worked for ten years as the lead scenic artist for the Center Theatre Group at the Taper and Ahmanson Theaters in Los Angeles. Subsequently, he painted backdrops and installations as wide as 400 feet for TV, movies, and destination resorts, hotels, and casinos.   

More recently Lister was commissioned to paint a 60 feet-wide mural encircling the Bisno Schall Clock Gallery of the Santa Barbara Courthouse that depicts our perception of time and various ways of recording it (  Although he loved working on such a large scale, Lister now paints more modest-sized images concerned with iridescent and reflective seascapes and skies. 

Created fifty years ago, these striking, hand-pulled prints play with our contemporary sensibilities and logical brains in their resemblances to imaginative digital images. Of all the printing techniques, Lister most relished executing screened images with areas of pure color put down in a clean and direct manner.  In this series, he created improbable, mind-bending objects that cannot exist other than on a flat surface.  Intrigued by their bold colors and shapes, our eyes are lured in, then our assumptions of reality are challenged.

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara has been dedicated to expanding our community’s appreciation of the built environment since 1983. The AFSB Gallery is located in the historic Acheson House at the corner of Garden and East Victoria Streets in Santa Barbara. Regular gallery hours are Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and weekdays by appointment.

Story Time: Ellwood Station

Last chance of the year to see Patrick McGinnis' Exhibition!

Saturday, December 19, from 1 – 4 PM at the AFSB Art Gallery

Hear him tell stories about the locations of his photo series like this one about …

Ellwood Station

 Over the past several years, I noticed old industrial structures off the right side of the southbound 101 freeway. It was fenced off and shrouded by trees, obviously non-operational. No one at the end of Ellwood Station Road seemed to have contact or know much about the fenced off structures. Though I knew it would prove a challenge to photograph, I was intrigued all the same.

     A few years later, driving the same route on the 101 South, I glanced over and was delighted to see that many of the trees were gone! Making a split-second decision, I exited the freeway and circled back to the end of the road. This time, there was someone on the property. Much to my delight, this person turned out to be the owner! We discussed the structures and his plans to demolish them and clear the site in preparation for future projects. He graciously granted me access to the property and permission to photograph the facilities until they were gone.

     Ellwood Station was a large concrete plant owned by Vulcan Materials. Located on the rail line, it provided large quantities of concrete for much of the Santa Barbara and Goleta area construction projects. The “Ellwood Station Series” photography project took several months. But eventually, the structures were torn down, vanishing one by one, cut apart by large metal shears. Reduced to pieces of scrap steel, they were loaded onto large trucks and taken to a recycling facility in Los Angeles.

     The once fenced-off site along the railroad line was cleaned up and made ready for the next project, yet to be determined. Ellwood station no more than a memory is now preserved through my photographs, presented to you in this exhibition, “Historic Preservation Series.”

Aia Santa Barbara Announces 2020 Recipient of the Lutah Maria Riggs Presidents Award

AIA Santa Barbara Announces 2020 Recipient of the Lutah Maria Riggs Presidents Award

The American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara (AIASB) is proud to award the honor of the Lutah Maria Riggs 2020 Presidents Award to Santa Barbara architect and AIA Fellow, Cassandra Ensberg, FAIA.

Cassandra has been a resident and leader in the Santa Barbara design, art, and architectural community for over 30 years.  She and her architect husband Tom Jacobs,  AIA,  work together at their firm Ensberg Jacobs Design Inc with a focus on art, design, sustainability, the environment, and our community.  In 1987 she founded the Kids Draw Architecture Program during formation of the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara (AFSB) and to fulfill the Foundation’s mission of increasing public awareness about the built environment and the importance of design, art, and architecture. 

In 2016 Cassandra was recognized by AIA nationally and elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for her work focused on the art of architecture.   She is a board member of AFSB and AIASB and serves as AIASB advocacy co-chair to promote excellence in the built environment through improved regulations, particularly governing housing.  

Cass’ recognition as a recipient of the LMR Award is a fitting tribute for this unprecedented year.  Her extraordinary contributions and commitment have highlighted the importance of design, architecture and art in our built environment and the importance of AIA involvement, inclusivity, communication, and working together as a community to result in positive outcomes.

About the Award 

The Lutah Maria Riggs Presidents Award recognizes an AIA Santa Barbara member or firm whose work, community service and civic engagement have had a lasting influence for the betterment of Santa Barbara’s built environment. Recipients must have both a body of distinguished architectural design and a history of advocacy for community architectural engagement in the area.  The award is sponsored by the American Riviera Bank.  

Historic Preservation Series by Patrick McGinnis

Vanishing Behemoths of Industry Star in Bold New Photographs by Patrick McGinnis

November 7 – December 19, 2020
Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara Gallery

Detail of Sloss Iron Works #45, 16×16

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Historic Preservation Series, an exhibition of industrial photographs by Pat McGinnis. Visitors are invited to view the exhibition on Saturdays, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, November 7 through December 19. The artist will be present on November 7 & December 19. (Self-screening, masks, and social distancing are required.)

Following a career in engineering, Patrick McGinnis turned to creating semi-abstract, biomorphic sculptures in marble, bronze, and metal, inspired by natural forms. Then, during a family trip across the country, he visited a rusty old factory, the Sloss Iron Works in Birmingham, Alabama, and his interest in photography was piqued. Attracted by the dramatic interplay of light on the tall, solid forms of these massive, industrial structures—vanishing monuments to America’s once vibrant iron and steel industry—McGinnis felt compelled to photograph them.

Most blast furnaces built in the United States are now dormant or on their way to demolition and becoming scrap metal—only a few, like the Sloss Iron Works, survive as historical landmarks. Energized by studying the photographs of Bernd & Hilla Becker and paintings by Charles Sheeler, McGinnis discovered new subjects closer at hand, notably the large Vulcan plant at Ellwood Station in Goleta, which he was able to photograph just before it was torn down. He has also made photographs of an obsolete, wood-waste burning electric power plant, Soledad Renewable Energy, whose future is uncertain.

McGinnis’s transition into making art is a continuation of being a design engineer in the nuclear, aerospace and semiconductor industries and his own business, Prime Technology. Aesthetics played a vital role throughout that work, whether creating an aerospace component or an analytical instrument. He is currently a member of Santa Barbara Art Association, Abstract Art Collective, Gallery 10 West (board member), and the LA Art Association. He has exhibited his work at 10 West Gallery, Elverhoj Museum of Art & History, Gallery 113 (Santa Barbara), Gallery 825 (LA), Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, and San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.