Architecture: George Washington Smith

George Washington Smith’s Architecture

George Washington Smith was born in East Liberty Pennsylvania in 1876 . His father was a prominent engineer, allowing him to study art at the academy of fine arts and later attend Harvard where he studied architecture. Unsatisfied with the lifestyle of an architect in Pennsylvania, he gravitated towards bond trading where he proved to be extremely successful, so successful in fact, that he was able to quit bond trading and work on his art full time. He and his wife Catherine Greenough moved to Europe where Smith was able to create art and travel. However, soon he was back in New York and his Painting career took off, his pieces exhibited in Galleries across the city.

Architecture & Inspiration:

Upon visiting friends who had relocated to Montecito, California, Smith had purchased land to begin building himself a home and studio, emulating the architecture from Andalusia, Spain. Smith fell in love with the region and soon realized a career in architecture had potential for huge success as neighbors wanted homes built in the same style as his own. Smith decided to stay in the Santa Barbara area, calling the region his home and continuing to build homes.



Santa Barbara News Press


Architecture & Legacy:

After his personal home “Casa Dracaena” s was a hit, Smith built other notable homes in the area known as “Casa del Greco”, Robledal, Florestal, Casa del Herrero (now a museum), the Lobero theater, and the Santa Barbara News Press.

Smith continued to produce architecture, building the Johnson House in 1929 for the president of First National Bank of Beverly Hills, Kirk Johnson, and his family. Smith constructed the property to showcase a lush and bountiful garden, hiring renowned landscaper, A. E. Hanson. During his time in architecture, Smith designed some 80 homes in Santa Barbara County, not including his extensive work nationwide.

Smith became a well known architectural icon, appearing in many popular architecture and design magazines. He commonly known in the United States  as “the father of  Spanish-Colonial Revival style”. Smith is less known today, but still holds a significant role in the history of American architecture.



Lobero Theater


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