Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 10:16 pm | Mostly Cloudy 59º


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Santa Barbara’s Famed Dog Statue for Sale, Along with Historic Home That Goes With It

Residence at Garden and Mission streets is known for the bronze Labrador that sports costumes for holidays and community celebrations


Rover, the bronze dog statue that had been standing guard over Santa Barbara’s Upper Eastside neighborhood for nearly 115 years, is looking for a new owner.

The historical four-bedroom home at 2010 Garden St. is on the market for more than $4 million, said Colleen Beall, a real estate broker with Compass.

Cars and pedestrians traveling through Santa Barbara often stop in front of the residence on the corner of Garden and Mission streets to snap pictures of the nearly 4-foot tall, 340-pound bronze dog statue, which has also been known over the years as Lucky or Horse

Beall said postcards, letters and emails have poured in from onlookers evoking their fondness for the Labrador retriever and his habit of dressing up in costumes for holidays and Santa Barbara community celebrations. 

“People love to go out of their way to see what the dog is wearing,” Beall said. “He has become a community icon. There are boxes of labeled costumes for every holiday and every special event, like Fiesta and Summer Solstice.”

He has been spotted pulling Santa's sleigh and sporting a red nose and reindeer antlers over the years, but last December, Rover was donning a N-95 mask — along with nearly everyone else in town — when thick ash and smoke fell over the region during the Thomas Fire.

“There’s a lot of creativity,” Beall said about the costumes.

The home was built in 1894 by William H. Crocker, a businessman who helped bring the railroad to Santa Barbara, and a prominent influencer of the architectural styles of the era. 

He reportedly built five homes adjacent to each other on Garden Street, and the 2010 Garden St. home is the largest and most prominent on the block, Beall said.

Rover has been dressing up in holiday costumes for years, as shown in this 2010 calendar for Roosevelt Elementary School. Click to view larger
Rover has been dressing up in holiday costumes for years, as shown in this 2010 calendar for Roosevelt Elementary School.  (Courtesy photo)

“It was the first architectural style that represents California, and it was different from the East Coast style,” she said.

In 1904, the second owners of the home brought the dog statue with them from Michigan, she said. 

The Warren Willet family, which purchased the property from Crocker, had the statue made in memory of a favorite pet — a Labrador that was born the same day as their daughter, Eleanor, in 1884. The real-life Rover reportedly lived to 18 years old and grew up with Eleanor.

There are multiple versions of the sculpture’s creation — it honors a dog that saved a child from a fire, or one that rescued a child from drowning, or saved a family by waking them up during a house fire. 

“The stories have taken a life of their own,” Beall said. “People have come to believe the stories, and you can’t talk them out of it.”

The 4,900-square-foot Mission Revival-style home property has a pool, spa and cabana.

Purchasing the home includes Rover, of course, and all of the costumes, Beall said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

(Mike McGee / Noozhawk video)

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