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Last vestiges of Woodside's Jackling House still in limbo

 

Steve Jobs may have hated his George Washington Smith-designed house in Woodside and had it torn down, but many homes designed nearly 100 years ago near the architect's home in Santa Barbara County are now worth many millions of dollars.

This outpouring of appreciation for an architect who was a founder of what's known as the Spanish Colonial style comes as Woodside still faces the issue of disposing of a trailer-full of artifacts from the Smith-designed Jackling House, the home that Jobs purchased, let fall into ruin and finally demolished.

The trailer, located in the parking lot of Town Hall, contains light fixtures, railings and other items. In the town museum are more light fixtures, light coverings and light switches in a display case, plus a chandelier from the house hanging from the ceiling.

The entire collection has an appraised value of about $30,000, according to town staff report.

Some member of the town's History Committee have been in touch with the owners of a nearby Smith-designed house known as the Moffit House about using some of the items in a remodel.

But the Town Council decided in October to hold some sort of an auction to dispose of them, said Town Manager Kevin Bryant.

Bryant explained the time gap following the decision as due to the need to find "the best means of executing" the sale.

Born in 1876, Smith was originally a landscape artist who moved to Europe to pursue his career after dropping out of Harvard. When World War I intervened, he returned to the United States and eventually moved to Santa Barbara, where he turned his attention to architecture, becoming a favorite home designer of the financial elite, particularly in the Santa Barbara area but also throughout the Southwest.

Copper tycoon Daniel Jackling commissioned him to design his home in Woodside, which was completed in 1925. At that time, Jackling owned 123 acres surrounding the house. He sold about 5 acres to Herbert Moffit, a San Francisco doctor who was married to his wife's sister, and Moffit used Smith as his architect for the smaller home he built nearby.

"Smith was an artist to begin with, and that carried over into his architecture," said Jeanne Thivierge, an archivist at the Woodside Museum. "He would design a house to look like something in a painting."

Jackling added a room to the house for organ performances in 1931, but had to find a different architect for the design since Smith had died the previous year, Thivierge said.

The Jackling house was demolished in 2011 after Jobs successfully fought lawsuits from historic preservationists and the lot, at 460 Mountain Home Road, was sold to a buyer who built a modern house on the property that was recently completed, according to Woodside Planning Director Jackie Young.

The water tower on the property has been preserved and converted into a multi-story residence, and the stables, known as the Champagne Paddocks, have been completely restored, Young said.

Most of the original estate was subdivided and developed for housing after Jackling's wife, Virginia, died in 1957.

"The water tower is the only thing that's completely original on the property," Young said. "All the out-buildings on the property are new now."

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