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Arcady, circa 1930s-1993

Former owner:
Whitehead, Ralph
Knapp, George Owen
Knapp, Louise Savage
Architect:
Ray, Russell
Winslow, Carleton Monroe
Craig, Mary
Landscape designer:
Underhill, Francis T
Adams, Charles Gibbs
Physical description:
1 folder+ 3 lantern slides + over 50 35mm slides (photographs)
Type:
Slides (photographs)
Lantern slides
Place:
United States of America, California, Santa Barbara County, Montecito
California
Montecito
Arcady (Montecito, California)
Date:
1930
1993
circa 1930s-1993
Notes:
Located in the Montecito Valley, near Santa Barbara, the 32 bedroom Italian Renaissance towered house at Arcady, once owned by George Owen Knapp. Knapp purchased the property from Ralph Radcliffe and Jane McCall Whitehead and hired architect E. Russell Ray to expand the 17 bedroom home into one with 32 bedrooms, instructing Ray not to change the Whitehead's original construction. The original residency became the north wing and the new construction including a 65 foot tower was placed at a better angle to provide a sweeping view of the Santa Ynez mountains. Servant quarters, gardeners' cottages, stables and garages were also added.
The property consisted of approximately 200 acres, of which 50 were cultivated as gardens and were surrounded by a wall of buff sandstone. The estate was set amongst an informal planting of oak trees and the roads and meandering paths followed the natural configuration of the land. The upper garden and terrace were designed by Carleton M. Winslow and the Roman styled bathhouse and water gardens were designed and completed in 1914 by Francis T. Underhill. Garden ornamentation such as a marmoreal seat or glazed terra cotta relief set into a stone pillar were situated in the cultivate areas.
The most comprehensive description of the property, especially the bath house and water gardens is written in Volume II of David F. Myrick's, "Montecito and Santa Barbara: the Days of the Great Estates." A bathhouse was set into the hillside and included a heated pool with an electrically controlled sliding roof over the swimming pool and dressing rooms. To the east of the bathhouse was a large outdoor swimming pool, a children's pool and a lily pool. Paths leading away from the swimming pool led to the water garden, a succession of cascading pools connected by stairways leading to a grotto, tea garden and an enormous large oak.
The property also included a small house across the street referred to as 'The Hut' which had views of the Pacific Ocean and at one time included a hollowed out trunk from a 50 foot redwood brought from Sequoia National Park.
According to a guide was prepared for the visiting members of the Garden Club of America in April of 1926, the gardens of the Knapp estate were described as 19 designated areas including: a yellow garden, green garden, blue garden, rose garden, redwood garden, iris garden, the hall of mirrors garden, path from the blue garden east to grotto, the residence lawn, the ivy lawn, south of the residence, three paths to the swimming pools, the water gardens, the gardens below the redwood tree, Arcady entrance driveway and a coniferous group.
In 1933, George Knapp's son, William, planted 6,286 trees as well as a lemon orchard. In 1941, the estate was sold and nothing was done to the gardens. Major sections of the estate were sold in 1945-47. An extensive description is written by Myrick. The upper garden of Arcady in the 1930s and 1940s included a fountain and two obelisks. Beyond this garden was an open music pavilion where Mr. Knapp had an organ. In 1953, architect Mary Craig designed a house for James Hayes (Belle) when she purchased the property. A swimming pool was added to the upper garden in the late 1960s.
Persons associated with the garden include: Ralph Radcliffe and Jane McCall Whitehead (former owner, to 1911), George Owen and Louise Savage Knapp (former owner, 1911-1945), E. Russell Ray (architect of expanded house and 65 foot tower), Francis R. Underhill (designer of the water gardens/lower gardens), Carleton Monroe Winslow (architect of the terrace and upper gardens), Charles Gibbs Adams (landscape architect of the terrace?), Strobel? (sculptor), Mary Craig (architect of the house on the terrace of the pavilion, 1953) and mulitple owners once the property was subdivided and sold.
Summary:
The folder includes worksheets, articles, a bilbliography and a planting lists.
Publications:
Garden has been featured in Veranda, March-April 2016. "Peaceful Kingdom" by Frances Schultz, pp. 124-133
Topic:
Gardens
Local number:
CA070000
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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