Architect Of Note

George Washington Smith

George Washington Smith, (February 22, 1876 – 1930), was an American architect and painter. He is noted particularly for his work around Santa Barbara, California, and for popularizing the Spanish Colonial Revival style in early 20th Century America.

Early Life and Art Career

George Washington Smith was born in East Liberty, Pennsylvania in 1876 (on George Washington's birthday), the son of a prominent Pennsylvania engineer. Raised in Philadelphia, he was able to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Later, he attended Harvard University to study architecture, but was unable to graduate due to his family's financial difficulties. He obtained employment as a draftsman in a Philadelphia architectural firm, but was unsatisfied with the lifestyle this afforded him. Smith turned to bond trading and quickly became very successful.

His success in the bond markets allowed him to quit work in 1911 to devote himself to painting and the study of art. He married Mary Catherine Greenough and the couple moved to Europe. An admirer of the works of Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin, Smith traveled around the continent painting landscapes, as well as studying in Rome and at the Académie Julian in Paris. The Smiths spent three years in Europe, returning to the United States at the outbreak of World War I.

Establishing himself in New York, Smith began exhibiting with other painters of the era, including John Sloan and George Bellows. His work gained notice and was soon being exhibited outside New York as well, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1915 Smith traveled to California, where his paintings were to be on display in the Palace of Fine Arts at San Francisco's Panama Pacific Exposition.

While in California, he visited friends from Philadelphia who had relocated to Montecito, a rustic suburb of Santa Barbara. Still intending to return to Europe at the close of the war, he decided to remain in California for the duration. He purchased land in Montecito and designed and built a home and studio. He modeled the home after farmhouses he had seen in Andalusia during a trip to Spain in 1914.

The house he built in 1917, called Casa Dracaena, was an immediate success. Images of it were used to sell cement and tiles among other goods, and Smith quickly found that his neighbors wanted to live in houses like it. Before long he stopped painting and took up working as an architect full-time in Santa Barbara. His plans to return to Europe after the war were abandoned, and he remained in the Santa Barbara area for the remainder of his life. Before his death in 1930 Smith designed some 80 homes in Santa Barbara County alone, and worked nationwide.

In his time, George Washington Smith was one of the most popular architects in the United States, his homes appearing in leading architecture and interior design magazines. Smith is sometimes credited with being the "father" of the Spanish-Colonial Revival style in the United States, although he worked in other idioms as well. Despite his popularity in his era, Smith is not widely recognized today, though his homes remain popular and several are on the National Register.

His original Montecito home, as well as "Casa del Greco", his second self-designed residence next door, built in 1920, exist today as family residences. Two additional Smith designs were built in Hope Ranch in the mid 1920s: Meadow Farm for Milton Wilson, now named Robledal, and Florestal, originally built for the Peter Cooper Bryce family.

Smith's 21st Montecito house, Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith), built for St. Louis industrialist George Steedman in 1922, is now a museum. Most of Smith's original sketches and drawings and much of his correspondence are held at the Architecture and Design Collection of the Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is owned by the non-profit Casa del Herrero foundation, and can be visited by appointment. Also listed on the National Register is Santa Barbara's Lobero Theater, completely rebuilt to Smith's design in 1924.
Smith's name returned to public view in the 2000s after Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs purchased a George Washington Smith home in Woodside, California. Jobs purchased the 1926 Jackling House in 1984, and generated an uproar after winning approval from the Woodside city council to tear the house down in 2004. That decision was overturned in 2006. Jobs appealed the court decision to the California State Court of Appeals, but that court agreed with the lower court ruling in 2007. Jobs, who has described the house as "poorly built," "[not]...very interesting," and in poor taste, was granted a demolition permit in May 2009 by the Woodside Town Council, with the condition that he allow investor Gordon Smythe to disassemble the building and move it to another location. Smythe intends to live in it with his wife and young children.

Notable Work

·    All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, Calif.). Rectory, 132 North Euclid Avenue.
·    All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Edward H. Angle House, 58 Bellevue Place, New London Court (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Edward H. Angle House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Earle C. Anthony House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Earle C. Anthony Automobile Showroom (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Philip L. Auten House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Auto Show Pavillion (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Arturo Bandini House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Bank Competition
·     John C. Bentz Store Buildings (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    John C. Bentz House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Nathan Bentz House (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
·    Emma M. Black Cottage (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Annie Blacker House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Robert R. Blacker House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    William T. Bolton House, 131 North Euclid Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    William T. Bolton House, 370 Del Mar (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    H.K. Bradley House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    C. Brandt House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles G. Brown House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    California House
·    California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, Calif.). Dugout
·    Edgar W. Camp House (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
·    Edith J. Claypole House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Mary E. Cole House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Coulter Dry Goods Company Store (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    S.S. Crow House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Cordelia A. Culbertson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    James A. Culbertson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    C.P. Daly House (Calif.)
·    Mary R. Darling House (Claremont, Calif.)
·    Caroline S. Deforest House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    R.H.Donnelly Farmhouse (Lake Forest, Ill.)
·    A.M.Drake House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Parker A. Earle Apartment House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Rosa Englemann House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Winthrop B. Fay House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Mortimer Fleishhacker Row Houses (San Francisco, Calif.)
·    Mrs. E.A. Ford House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Freeman A. Ford house (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    David B. Gamble House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Sidney D. Gamble House (Escondido, Calif.)
·    Lucretia R. Garfield House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Theodore P. Gordon House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    S.C. Graham House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    R. Henry C. Green House (Vancouver, B.C.)
·    John T. Greene House (Sacrmento, Calif.)
·    Louise T. Halsted House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Edna L. Hatcher House    
·    F.W. Hawks House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles W. Hollister House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Cora C. Hollister House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Edward B. Hosmer House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    George S. Hull Office (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    J.H. Huntoon House (Visalia, Calif.)
·    Joseph K. Huston House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Louis K. Hyde House (Plainfield, N.J.)
·    Kate A. Kelly House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    Michael Kew House (San Diego, Calif.)
·    Kinney-Kendall Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Hubert F. Krantz House (Palm Beach, Fla.)
·    William M. Ladd House (Nordhoff, Calif.)
·    John Lambert House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Willim J. Lawless House (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
·    Charles W. Leffingwell Bunk House (Whittier, Calif.)
·    Arthur A. Libby House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Howard Longley House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Samuel Z. Mardian Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Frank J. Martin Row Houses (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Samuel Merrill House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Mira Vista Development (Pasadena, Calif.). Site Plans
·    Alexander Moss Merwin House (Pasadena, Calif.)Howard F. Mundorff House (Fresno, Calif.)
·    E. R. Murphy House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    John G. Neumeister House (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
·    Frank L. Palmer House (Pomona, Calif.)
·    Pasadena Drapery Shop Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Pasadena Hospital Association Nurses' Home (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Pasadena Ice Company Plant (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Pasadena Security Investment Company Houses (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    John B. Phillips House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Metilde Phillips House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Robert Pitcairn House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Porter House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·    H.T. Procter House (Cocoa Nut Beach, Fla.)
·    Mary L. Ranney House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Rose J. Rasey House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Jennie A. Reeve House (Long Beach, Calif.)
·    Jennie A. Reeve Cottage (Long Beach, Calif.)
·    Jennie A. Reeve Cottage (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
·    W. H. Roberts Office Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    L.A. Robinson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Francis F. Rowland House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Samuel P. Sanborn House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Arthur Savage Duplex House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Iwan Serrurier House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Iwan Serrurier Bungalow (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Shelter for View lovers(Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles Silent Houses (Glendora, Calif.)
·    Ernest W. Smith House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    South Pasedena Concrete Bridge (South Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Margaret B.S. Clapham Spinks House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    G. Lawrence Stimson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles H. Stoddard House (Burlingame, Calif.)
·    Estelle Strasburg House (Covina, Calif.)
·    James Swan House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Mrs. Francis B. Swan House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Adelaide M. Tichenor House (Long Beach, Calif.)
·    William B. Tomkins House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    W. D. Valentine Houses (Altadena, Calif.). Alterations and New Work
·    Josephine Van Rossem House, 400 Arroyo View Drive (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Josephine Van Rossem House, 210 North Grand Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Josephine Van Rossem House, 223 Orange Grove Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Walker House (San Pasqual, Calif.). Alterations
·    Henry A. Ware House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    W.F. West House (Pasadena, Calif.). Addition
·    Lucy E. Wheeler House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
·     Kate A. White House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
·    T. Stewart White House
·    Carrie Whitworth House (Pasadena, Calif.). Alterations and Additions
·    Charles P. Wilcox House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles J. Willett Bungalow (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Charles J. Willett House (Pasadena, Calif.)
·    Nathan H. Wiliiams House (Altadena, Calif.)
·    Nathan H. Williams House (Altadena, Calif.). Garage
·    O.G. Wilson House (Los Angeles, Calif.). Alterations and Additions
·     Charles S. Witbeck House (Santa Monica, Calif.)
·    Charles D. Witbeck House (Santa Monica, Calif.). Garage
·    Projects by Other Firms