Francis W. Wilson

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Francis W. Wilson (1870 - 1947) was an American architect. His practice in Santa Barbara, California included work for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and its associated Fred Harvey Company hotels, as well as many residences.

Wilson was born in Massachusetts and arrived in California at the age of 17 to visit his sister, a schoolteacher in Placerville. There, he worked as a log-driver on the American River and then as a surveyor for the Southern Pacific Railroad. He moved to San Francisco in the early 1890s, becoming a draftsman for the firm of Pissis and Moore, where he was instructed by architect Albert Pissis. Wilson studied at the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects and took a grand tour of Europe before establishing his own firm in Santa Barbara in 1895.[1][2]

Santa Barbara station

Shortly after arriving in Santa Barbara, Wilson designed homes for Dr. C.C. Park and General Henry J. Strong. He built up a practice designing homes for the wealthy, as well as designing, building and selling speculative houses. His connections with the wealthy led to an interest in polo and amateur horse racing, and to commissions for the Santa Barbara Club, the Central Savings Bank, the Santa Barbara library, post office, and railroad station. A friendship with Edward Payson Ripley, president of the Santa Fe Railway, led to commissions for the railway and for the Fred Harvey Company, as well as a commission to design Ripley's winter home. His most extravagant residential commission, Las Tejas in the suburb of Montecito, was built in 1917 for Oakleigh Thorne.[2]

Wilson married Julia Redington, sister of Wilson's friend and fellow Santa Barbara Polo Club member Lawrence Redington, in 1905.[2]

Hopkins Home, Santa Barbara, 1898; Francis W. Wilson. At least two renovations since, one of which likely restored it close to its original look


Alexander Gardens, Santa Barbara, 1906; Francis W. Wilson. Currently a senior living facility



  1. ^ Michelson, Alan. "Francis W. Wilson". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. University of California at Los Angeles. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Starr, Kevin (1991). Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s. Oxford University Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-19-507260-0. 
  3. ^ a b Laura Soulliere Harrison (1986). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Grand Canyon Depot" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 19 photos, exterior, from 1985. PDF (3.03 MB)
  4. ^ "Guidelines: El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District" (PDF). City of Santa Barbara. pp. 11, 32. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County". Carnegie Libraries of California. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Gebbard, David. "The Romance is Back". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Redmon, Michael (November 9, 2009). "What is the history of the estate that houses the Music Academy of the West?". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Campus History". Music Academy of the West. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "About the Santa Barbara Club". Santa Barbara Club. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Berke, Arnold (2002). Mary Colter, Architect of the Southwest. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 89. ISBN 1-56898-345-X. 
  11. ^ Redmon, Michael (October 25, 2007). "Question: 'Wasn't there another mansion where the Clark Estate is today?'". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Potter, Janet Greenstein (1996). Great American Railroad Stations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 461. ISBN 978-0471143895. 

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