AKA: Brunninghausen Estate, Montecito, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Frankl, Paul T., Interior Designer (firm); Riggs, Lutah Maria, Architect (firm); Paul T. Frankl (architect/interior designer); Lutah Maria Riggs (architect)

Dates: constructed 1937-1938

535 Hot Springs Road
Montecito, CA 93108

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The eclectic and meticulous Santa Barbara architect Lutah Maria Riggs (1896-1984) designed this residence for Baron Maximilian von Romberg and his wife Emily Hall Romberg. Von Romberg was a notable polo player, aviator and member of Santa Barbara high society, who died in 1938 in a airplane crash.

Building History

Maximilian von Romberg descended from a noble Prussian military family. His grandfather, Maximilian Konrad Joseph Freiherr von Romberg (1824-1904), was a politician, elected to the German Reichstag from 1871 through 1874 and military commander during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. His father, also named Baron Maximilian von Romberg (d. 1914), served as an officer with the First Prussian Fusiliers, and had the unlucky distinction of being one of the first officers to die in World War I, killed during the Battle of Hartmannswillerkopf on 09/22/1914.

He married Emily Hall, daughter of William H. and Purdon Smith Hall of Santa Barbara.

Building Notes

Riggs had a dispute with the von Romberg Estate over payment for the house's design. The Los Angeles Times noted in 1939: "Lutah M. Riggs, architect, has filed suit for $200 against the estate of Baron Maximiian von Romberg as her fee for designing his Montecito home. The residence occupied by the Baron's widow, Emily von Romberg, and Adolph B. Spreckels Jr., San Francisco sugar heir, who were married aa fortnight ago." (See "Architect Sues Von Romberg Estate," Los Angeles Times, 08/30/1939, pt. A, p. 13.)

PCAD id: 5809