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Own a Piece of History at Rancho Monte Alegre!

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

The original Fithian Ranch House is giving history lovers the chance to own a piece of California’s rich history!

Joel Adams Fithian was a Major in the Civil War. In 1892, Joel Fithian and his family arrived in Santa Barbara at the height of the depression caused by the collapse of the land boom. Within 4 years, they quickly began investing in major real estate developments across the County.

The Fithian family had a profound influence on the early development of Santa Barbara’s business, cultural, and social institutions. In 1894, at the urging of his sons who wanted to establish a country club in Montecito, Major Fithian purchased three oceanfront parcels of land on Channel Drive and constructed a nine-hole golf course, clubhouse and tennis courts for what is now the Montecito Country Club.

Fithian also purchased many other lots closer to downtown Santa Barbara, with the intention to establish several businesses and business districts on and near State Street. In 1895, he worked with local architect Thomas Nixon to design a four-story French Second Empire office building surrounded by a large clock tower at 629 State Street; the building came to be known as the Fithian Building and the “Lower Clock Building” for its elaborate steeple with two large clocks.

Fithian also purchased 3,000 acres of land in the foothills of Carpinteria, an area known for most of Carpinteria’s history as The Fithian Ranch. The property was sold to Rancho Monte Alegre Partners in the 1990s, who worked with the Land Trust of Santa Barbara to create a 2,700-acre conservation easement to preserve the existing wilderness. For the first half of the 20th century, Rancho Monte Alegre became a gathering place for many of California’s social elite, it was frequented by many celebrated Hollywood personalities including Enrique Caruso, Charles Lindenberg, Gene Autry and John Wayne.

Rancho Monte Alegre is now one of the last pristine, expansive properties remaining on the California Central Coast. The planned ranch community has been divided into 25 lots. The Lower Ranch consists of 8 lots ranging from 1.5 to 28 acres, with roads, utilities, and landscaping in place. The Upper Ranch consists of 17 parcels ranging from 40 to 720 acres.

Fithian built his original Ranch House and barn on what is now lot 8 of the Lower Ranch. This historic 24-acre site is currently listed for sale for $4,350,000. The exceptional offering includes Fithian’s original 3 bedroom house, 2-story barn, an avocado orchard, 2 ponds, lush green lawns and plenty of usable land.

With panoramic ocean, coastline and mountain views, this distinctive property provides the rare opportunity to own a significant piece of Santa Barbara’s history.

For more information on Rancho Monte Alegre and this historical homesite, contact us at (805) 450-6233 or

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