Pixel Tracker

Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 1:17 am | Fair 41º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Decides to Demolish Franceschi House, Build Interpretive Pavilion

Dilapidated former home of botanist Francesco Franceschi and architect Alden Freeman was donated to the city in 1931

Santa Barbara City Council members unanimously voted to demolish the Franceschi House, seen here in 2017, and build an educational, interpretive pavilion in its place.
Santa Barbara City Council members unanimously voted to demolish the Franceschi House, seen here in 2017, and build an educational, interpretive pavilion in its place.  (Noozhawk file photo)

Ending years of financial and political heartache, the Santa Barbara City Council voted on Tuesday to dismantle the famed Franceschi House in the hills above Santa Barbara.

The city will then build an interpretive pavilion, at the cost of $2 million or $3 million, that recognizes the contributions of botanist Francesco Franceschi and Alden Freeman, an architect and philanthropist. 

The house sits next to scenic Franceschi Park off Mission Ridge Road in the foothills, with expansive views of the city and ocean.

The Craftsman-style house was once the home to Franceschi and his wife, Cristina, who purchased the property in 1903, along with the surrounding 40 acres.

They sold the home to Freeman in 1927, who later donated the property to the city.

The house is seismically unsafe and dilapidated and after years of trying to restore the house, the city, and many of the people who fought to preserve it, finally decided to let it go.

“It’s time to move on,” said former Santa Barbara mayor Sheila Lodge. “The house cannot be saved.”

The council’s vote was unanimous. 

Franceschi House is located near Franceschi Park off Mission Ridge Road in the Santa Barbara hills.
Franceschi House is located near Franceschi Park off Mission Ridge Road in the Santa Barbara hills.  (Noozhawk file photo)

Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon said she had mixed feelings, but that an interpretive pavilion is “the best way to preserve what’s there.”

She said the decision is “not without sadness.” 

The city was never able to fund a restoration project through grants, general fund money or efforts to secure a public-private partnership, including with the Pearl Chase Society.

The specifics of an interpretive pavilion have yet to be determined, but city staff said a project at the site would educate visitors about the history and contributions of Franceschi and Freeman to Santa Barbara.

According to the Parks and Recreation Department staff report, the house would be “​deconstructed and salvaged to the extent feasible. Certain elements, such as the medallions and stained glass windows, would be integrated into the structure of the pavilion. Site improvements would be included that improve access, and preserve and enhance the horticultural heritage of the property around the house. Unused elements could be loaned to historical organizations or sold through public auction to provide funding for the pavilion’s construction and maintenance.”

An environmental impact report will be required for the project, city staff said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Barbara city officials opened up the Franceschi House for a site visit in 2015 when the City Council was considering what to do with the dilapidated building. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara city officials opened up the Franceschi House for a site visit in 2015 when the City Council was considering what to do with the dilapidated building.  (Noozhawk file photo)

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >