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Casa Dorinda

Casa Dorinda

Casa Dorinda was the three-story, Mission Revival–style house designed by Carleton Winslow (1876–1946) that Anna Barnes Bliss and William Henry Bliss built in Montecito, California, near Santa Barbara, in 1916–1918. The eighty-room winter home, which cost a reported $250,000 to build, had a bell tower, imported marble fireplaces, Islamic hanging lamps, a sun room with gold leaf walls and carved ebony doors, pegged plank flooring, antique stained glass windows, and an organ loft. Anna Barnes Bliss and William Henry Bliss used the house to entertain friends and dignitaries, including King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium (whose visit was arranged by Herbert Hoover), and to offer musical evenings with artists such as Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Jascha Heifetz, and Mikhail Elman. When Anna Barnes Bliss died in 1935, the property passed to her daughter Mildred Barnes Bliss. In 1942, Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss offered Casa Dorinda to the U.S. Navy for use as a recuperation and recreation center. In 1946, Dr. Homer F. Barnes purchased Casa Dorinda and opened the Montecito School for Girls, which closed in 1956. After other transitions, Casa Dorinda became a retirement residence in 1970.

James Frush, Casa Dorinda: Historical Background and Cultural Heritage (Montecito, Calif., 1973).


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