1871 - 1940 (69 years)
||George Fox Steedman |
||5 Jan 1871
||Saint Louis, St. Louis Co., MO
||Montecito, Santa Barbara Co., CA
|Casa del Herrero, 1387 East Valley Rd. |
- Docent-led walking tours of Casa del Herrero, House of the Blacksmith, historic house, garden and workshop in Montecito designed in 1925 by architect George Washington Smith for industrialist George Fox Steedman. Considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Antique furnishings bought in Spain in 1920's. Gardens designed during Golden Age of American Gardens.
Few of Montecito's fabled estates have remained essentially unchanged. An exception is the Casa del Herrero which has been in the hands of the original family since it was first constructed over seventy five years ago. The Casa is noted as one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It provides visitors with a glimpse into Montecito life as the Steedmans lived it in the 1930's. The estate's collection of European antique furnishing, art and many personal effects are still in place as they were when the Steedmans were in residence.George Fox Steedman was a successful industrialist from St. Louis who developed a foundry and manufacturing business. Far from the simple "blacksmith" he adopted for the name of the estate, he was a true Renaissance Man, equally talented in the arts as well as business. After purchasing eleven acres in Montecito in 1922, he selected the area's premiere architect, George Washington Smith, to design the residence. Throughout the design period and construction, George Steedman worked in close collaboration with Smith and their joint effort produced a splendid example of an Andalusian-style country house surrounded by artfully planned grounds and gardens. George Steedman died in 1940 and Carrie Steedman continued to live at the estate until her death in 1962. One of their daughters, Medora Steedman Bass, then lived here until her death in 1986. In 1993, the estate and its contents were transferred to the Casa del Herrero Foundation by Medora's family, fulfilling her wish that the estate be preserved. Today it is managed by the Foundation, a non-profit organization, and made available to the public by advance reservation for tours of the house, gardens and workshop.
The gardens were designed by landscape architects Ralph Stevens and Lockwood de Forest , as well as horticulturist Peter Reidel. Completed in 1933, of the now eleven-acre estate, seven are formally designed and maintained in a Spanish Moorish style.
Few of Montecito's fabled estates reflect so clearly the combined interests and talents of an owner and his chosen architect. Even fewer remain essentially unchanged, and many have suffered almost fatal alterations. Rarest of all is Casa del Herrero which, for the entire 70 years of its existence, has been in the hands of the original family - a record in Montecito. George Fox Steedman (pronounced Sted'-man) was far from the simple "blacksmith" he modestly incorporated into the estate name. He was, in fact, a true Renaissance man, equally talented in business and the arts. Creative and inventive, he combined an engineer's common sense with an artist's sensibility. Based in St. Louis, George's father - a doctor who liked to dabble in business investments - bought controlling interest in a machine shop, and young George found himself operating the firm with his two brothers. Known as the Curtis Company, it was a foundry and manufacturing firm specializing in saws, air compressors and pneumatic equipment. George Steedman immersed himself in the world of machines, studying every aspect of their design, production and interaction. At once extravagant and homey, this 1920s estate built by industrialist George Fox Steedman schooled our eyes in the prevailing Andalusian style that keeps Santa Barbara sparkling in white stucco facades, iron-grated windows (called rejas), and ornate Moorish tile work.This rich Spanish (or mission) revival design proliferated thanks to architect George Washington Smith following an earthquake in 1925; for some Santa Barbarans it has become synonymous with a wished-for Iberian history.
CASA DEL HERRERO – a relatively unknown destination in Santa Barbara with an interesting history. This is the estate of the late George Fox Steedman (pronounced "Stedman"), a St. Louis, Missouri, foundry owner and quite the metalworker, machinist and inventor— talents which, in addition to his inspiration for the eleven-acre landscape with its Spanish/Moorish elements (also used extensively on and in the house), make for a tour that will interest more than just plant lovers or old-historical-house-and-period-architecture enthusiasts. Mr. Steedman selected prominent landscape architects Ralph Stevens and Lockwood de Forest to design the gardens, but the main architect was locally-famous George Washington Smith, who traveled with Mr. Steedman to Andalusia, Spain, to study and then buy outright many of the elements (like entire ceilings from old monasteries and furniture dating back to the 13th century) used in building and furnishing the house. Spain was in such dire straits after WWI that it was selling its history— with wealthy American tourists the beneficiaries. Thanks to its remaining in the family, they turned it over, unchanged, to a foundation in the 1990s. Casa del Herrero is an amazingly well-preserved example of the "Spanish Colonial Revival" period with a period garden. In the Montecito section of Santa Barbara, this gem is limited to visits by reservation only.
Preservation Magazine Sept./Oct. 2008
With a peerless Mediterranean climate and dramatic stretches of coastline, central California has lured explorers and settlers for centuries. But few of them created a personal Eden as remarkable and inimitable as George and Carrie Steedman's. Their Montecito home, Casa del Herrero, may be the finest example of residential Spanish Colonial Revival architecture open to the public anywhere in the world. And the gardens surrounding the house are spectacular survivors from the golden age of California garden design. "They haven't been changed," says Molly Barker, executive director of Casa del Herrero. "They're an incredibly important example of gardens from the Country Place Era."
George Fox Steedman, originally from St. Louis, Mo., made a fortune managing his father's foundry during World War I. In the 1920s he purchased an 11-acre parcel of land east of Santa Barbara. There, between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, he built Casa del Herrero— the House of the Blacksmith. The name referenced Steedman's family business and his very personal passion for decorative metalwork.
Because Steedman was fascinated by Spanish architecture (which seemed ideally suited to Montecito's coastal climate), he hired George Washington Smith, an architect known for Spanish Colonial Revival designs, to draw the plans for a house. To create a sumptuous garden, Steedman engaged Ralph Stevens, already recognized as a gifted landscape architect.
Stevens drew the original plans for the garden, incorporating intimate garden "rooms" that would serve as extensions of the house itself. He continued to make suggestions as the gardens grew, though Steedman often tweaked the plans— adding parterres or inserting flights of steps in key areas.
"My sense is that Steedman eventually turned to the celebrated designers Lockwood de Forest Jr.and Francis T. Underhill in 1925 to unify the garden design," Barker says. "The incredible garden we see is the result of their combined efforts."
Approaching the house today, visitors first notice the elegance of the facade. All the design decisions here— the entry door carefully placed off-axis, the central fountain, the lush plantings— were the result of extensive collaborations among Steedman, Smith, and Stevens.
As the landscape comes into view, it is clear that the Old World elegance of the house spills into the garden, linking the indoor and outdoor spaces. Fine examples of handcrafted metal furniture, some of which Steedman designed and made himself, underscore the message that these are outdoor "rooms."
Like other gardens from the Country Place Era (a landscape design movement that flourished in the first half of the 20th century), Casa is animated by historical motifs— many of them from western Europe.
Just to the east of the house, the small Spanish Garden patio, designed by Smith, is a miniature version of El Generalife in Granada, Spain. (Its proportions echo those of the living room.) From here, views open out through a sparkling white arcade onto the Blue-and-White Garden, and the distant tiled seating area, or exedra, that serves as a fitting eye-catcher and an eloquent termination of the garden's east axis.
The most memorable landscape feature is the south vista, which stretches from the house toward the ocean. More Italianate than Spanish, the landscape is accentuated by water features, including fountains and a rill, that draw the eye toward the end of the garden.
Casa del Herrero shares a ridge with such other famed Montecito estates as Constantia, Il Brolino, and the Bacon Estate (where Oprah Winfrey lives today). All benefit from breathtaking mountain views to the north and ocean views to the south. But only Casa del Herrero has retained its original period furnishings and personal effects. And only Casa has retained its original landscape glory.
After Steedman died in 1940, Carrie Steedman remained in the house until her death in 1962. Their daughter Medora Steedman Bass lived on the estate until her death in 1986, and her son, George, fortuitously created the Casa del Herrero Foundation in 1993 with the help of neighbors and community supporters.
"The garden was probably at its peak from 1931 to 1940, when Mrs. Steedman would have had 14 gardeners working here," Barker says. "By the time the family gave it to the foundation, I understand that workers had to hack back the giant bird of paradise 'trees' at the entry court and remove abundant growth around the south exedra." The clearing and preservation efforts initiated before the gardens opened to the public in 1993 continue even today.
"One of the reasons we can maintain this property with only two gardeners and volunteers is that it's such a strong structural garden," Barker continues. "It's not so much about flowers. They are just accents to the green garden. The tiles are really the flowers here."
Now on the National Register of Historic Places, and a recipient of a 2003 Stewardship Excellence Award from The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Casa del Herrero is poised to flourish in the new millennium. "It's unparalleled— truly the perfect marriage of spatial and visual relationships on a human scale," says Charles A. Birnbaum, president of the foundation. "It's intimate, unassuming, incredibly tactile, yet restrained in its use of color."
The garden remains a breathtaking— and utterly authentic— Eden, which triumphs in offering a memorable glimpse of the Country Place Era in the Golden State.
http://www.detailio.com/category.php?s=2&c=27&sc=573 great pics of the home
The home of Oprah Winfrey is nearby.
||Casa del Herrero
|St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO |
||28 Apr 1940
||Montecito, Santa Barbara Co., CA
- California Death Index, 1940-1997
Name: George Fox Steedman
Birth Date: 5 Jan 1871
Death Date: 28 Apr 1940
Death Place: Santa Barbara
Mother's Maiden Name: Harrison
Father's Surname: Steedman
- At his death in 1940, George Fox Steedman was described by a formal resolution of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Public Library as a "great benefactor of the Library".
These words remain true today as all continue to benefit from Mr. Steedman's legacy to the library and community.
Born in St. Louis in 1871, Steedman attended the Manual Training School and Washington University , and graduated from Harvard in 1892. He became president of the family pneumatic machinery business, Curtis Manufacturing Company, in 1903. But his avocation was architecture, and he traveled extensively in Europe amassing a first rate collection of rare and important architectural books.
In 1928 he and his wife, Carrie Robb Howard, presented an outstanding collection of books on architecture and the allied art to the St. Louis Public Library, along with funds to build a special room and an endowment to be used for future purchases.
Shortly afterwards Steedman moved to the Santa Barbara area of California, where he helped design his new estate, the Spanish Colonial Revival style 'Casa del Herrero'. This property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.
In 1926 Steedman and his sister-in-law established the James Harrison Steedman Traveling Fellowship in Architecture at Washington University in memory of his late brother.
||Stedman/Steadman/Steedman Families of the New World
||7 May 2011 |
||Dr. Isaiah George Washington Steedman, b. 13 Sep 1835, ____, Lexington Co., SC , d. 15 May 1917, Saint Louis, Saint Louis Co., MO (Age 81 years) |
||Medora "Dora" Harrison, b. 11 Apr 1841, Saint Louis, St. Louis Co., MO , d. 15 Jun 1910, Saint Louis, Saint Louis Co., MO (Age 69 years) |
||31 Oct 1865
||Saint Louis, St. Louis Co., MO
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Carrie Robb Howard, b. 8 Sep 1874, Saint Louis, Saint Louis Co., MO , d. 8 Aug 1962, Montecito, Santa Barbara Co., CA (Age 87 years) |
||27 Jun 1903
||Saint Louis, Saint Louis Co., MO
- They were married at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis.
| ||1. Katherine Steedman, b. 3 Aug 1904, Saint Louis, Saint Louis Co., MO , d. Unknown|
| ||2. Medora H. Steedman, b. 8 Sep 1909, ____, ____, MO , d. 5 Dec 1987, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Co., CA (Age 78 years)|
||7 May 2011 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart