AKA: Pepper Hill, Santa Barbara, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Adler and Dangler, Architects (firm); David Adler (architect); Henry C. Dangler (architect)

Dates: constructed 1916-1917, demolished 1965

2 stories

Woodley Road
Montecito, CA

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The Chicago architectural firm of Ader and Dangler produced the design for the winter residence of the Chicagoan, zinc magnate David B. Jones and his family. The house had a Palladian regularity to it, with a central pavilion connected by a colonnade to end pavilions. With its stucco exterior, red tile roof, and quoins, the Jones Residence fit in with surrounding Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival houses being built in the vicinity.

Building History

Welsh-born businessman David Benton Jones (1848-1923) purchased the year-old Mineral Point Zinc Company in Mineral Point, WI in 1883, along with his brothers, William and Thomas. Mineral Point, located in southwestern WI, had been, since its founding in 1827, a center for lead mining, attracting experienced miners from Cornwall and Wales who made up the majority of its population. The lead industry declined after the Civil War, and was replaced by zinc mining dominated by Jones. In 1891, the Mineral Point Zinc Company had become the nation's largest manufacturer of zinc oxide, and Jones later expanded his holdings when his WI company consolidated with the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1897. (See "David Benton Jones Dead," New York Times, 08/24/1923, p. 11.)

A wealthy man with a nationwide zinc business, Jones maintained four residences, a town house in Chicago, a Colonial Revival summer house, Pembroke Hall (1895), in Lake Forest, IL, designed by Chcago architect Henry Ives Cobb (1859-1931), a house in FL, and Pepper Hill in Santa Barbara. The house was named "Pepper Hill" because pepper trees were grown in the surrounding landscape, scenting the air with the plant's aroma.

Jones became ill at Pepper Hill in early 05/1923, and needed to rushed back to the care of his physicians in Chicago. To do this, Jones rented a train, at a cost of $11,000, to cover the 2,230-mile distance at breakneck speed. A normal rail journey between Los Angeles and Chicago took 68 hours and 30 minutes in 1923, while Jones's charter covered the same distance in 47 hours 27 minutes. (See "Special Train Speeds 2,230 Miles to Doctor," New York Times, 05/08/1923, p. 25 and "Covers 2,230 Miles Under 48 Hours,"New York Times, 05/09/1923, p. 21.)

Building Notes

Jones's first known trip to the West Coast occurred in 03/1901 came as a member of the Chicago Commercial Club when it planned a 23-day tour of Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tacoma, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Denver on twn different rail lines. This group consisted of 29 businessmen from Chicago, a highly influential group including William T. Baker, one-time President of the Chicago Board of Trade and a Trustee of the Chicago Art Institute, Adolphus C. Bartlett, President of the Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Company hardware firm (see Edward F. Roberts, "Adolphus C. Bartlett, Merchant Prince, Adheres Firmly to Simple Rules of Life" Chicago Tribune Worker's Magazine, 10/25/1908, p. 3), Marshall Field the department store magnate, and William J. Chalmers, President of the Allis-Chalmer Engine Works (See Places. "William J. Chalmers & Joan Pinkerton, Part I," accessed 03/16/2015) to name only four. In addition to the Chicago group, members of Commerce Clubs in Boston, Saint Louis and Cincinnati also were invited. Jones was 53 when this tour occurred and most of his fellow travellers were also middle-aged (at a time when life expectancies were much shorter) and the group was so influential that they brought their own physician with them. (See "Commercial Men's Trip to Pacific Coast," Los Angeles Times, 03/02/1901, p. 3)

Jones came again to Santa Barbara in 1912 with his son, Owen, at which time he bought two land parcels totaling 36.5 acres. He returned in 1913 with his daughter, Gwethalyn (1880-1959), and purchased 12 acres of land belonging to neighbor, Edward L. Ryerson, Sr., (1854-1928); Ryerson, like Jones, was also a Chicago industrialist, head of the J. T. Ryerson and Son, Iron Merchants and Special Agents; Ryerson purchased acreage in Montecito on which he erected a large country house, "El Cerrito." Jones greatly increased his acreage in 03/1917, when he acquired the adjoining property, "St. Veep Heights," from Harriet Harvey. Gwethalyn, developed a special connection with area around Montecito, and her father deeded Pepper Hill and all its land to her in 1918. She stayed each winter at Pepper Hill annually until 1957, when her health had deteriorated.

Following Gwethalyn's death, the family sold Pepper Hill to a real estate investor, Robert L. Scott, who chose to remove the Adler residence and sub-divide the land. Pepper Hill is the exclusive Montectio neighborhood created by Scott, In 1960 the estate was sold to Robert L. Scott and his wife for $450,00. During the early 1960's Mr. Scott formed Pepper Hill Inc. and began offering lots that were approximately 1-acre in size, for between $18,000 and $32,000 apiece. By 1964 the mansion was considered out-dated and too expensive to maintain, and was unceremoniously demolished. A smaller home was built in its place." (See Edhat, Santa Barbara, "Urban Hikes: Pepper--It Ain't no Doctor, no Sgt. and no Street," accessed 03/16/2015.)

According to the biographer of David Adler, Richard Pratt, the geologically-minded Jones made sure that his CA house was located on secure ground. He wrote: "Situated on a chalk hill, and strongly framed, the house never suffered from the frequent local earthquakers." (See Richard Pratt, David Adler, [New York: M. Evans and Company, Incorporated, 1970], p. 11.) Both Jones (Class of 1876) and architect Adler (Class of 1904) attended Princeton University; the former served as a Trustee.


The Jones House was torn down in 1965. Once the land was sub-divided, the Pepper Hill Estate neighborhood became one of Montecito's more desirable addresses.

PCAD id: 19521