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Did you know that The Upham Hotel and the original Lobero Theatre were opened within two years of each other

Founded in 1871 and 1873, respectively, these late-nineteenth-century darlings have been part of Santa Barbara’s architectural landscape for nearly 150 years. It comes as no surprise that the two institutions are long-time collaborators in bringing arts and culture to Santa Barbara.  

Amasa Lyman Lincoln – cousin to Abraham Lincoln (Yes, that Abraham Lincoln) relocated with this family to Santa Barbara from Massachusetts in 1869 in search of a more healing climate.

After a failed attempt at ranching, Lincoln built a New England style boarding house on the corner of Vine Street (now known as De La Vina – meaning of the vineand Sola Streets. Originally known as the Lincoln House, the Upham Hotel was designed by Peter F. Barber who was also responsible for designing Mortimer Cook House and the Arlington Hotel.

The boarding house had two lots at a quarter-acre each that were purchased by Mr. Lincoln’s wife, Abbie Smith Patrick Lincoln, for $300. This is the spot where the Upham Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Santa Barbara County, still stands to this day. 

“The Lobero and the Upham share the wonderful distinction of being a part of the Santa Barbara community for a very, very long time! We are honored to partner with them to bring amazing experiences to residents and our visitors. The Lobero’s VIP receptions are one of my favorite experiences.” – Denise Spain, General Manager, Upham Hotel

The Upham Hotel has supported the Lobero Theatre as a sponsor for the past nine years. A few of the notable musicians they have hosted include: Joshua Redman, Aaron Neville, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Taj Mahal Trio. The Lobero’s partnership with the Upham has made it possible to welcome such high-quality talent. In particular, housing the Derek Douget Band at the Upham during their week of workshops each year is a huge benefit for one of the Lobero’s fantastic youth programs, the Brubeck Circle Jazz Residency.

Fun Fact:

After the devastating 1925 earthquake that measured 6.3 on the Richter Scale, both the Upham Hotel and the Lobero Theatre stood unscathed. Hotel Upham, as it was known then, was a place to get hot coffee and a meal, while the Lobero Theatre served as a gathering place for those in need of shelter.

Upham Milestones

  • Charles Nordhoff – 1872 – publishes A Discriminating Travelers Guide to California, listing Santa Barbara as “the most pleasant place throughout the state”, presumably after his stay at the Lincoln House earlier that year
  • Florence Spencer – April 1886
  • Joseph W. Cooper – May 1886
  • Cyrus Upham – Oct 1898, became known as Hotel Upham
  • Ira Colby Goodridge – November 1911
  • John Mason Hall, grandson to Goodridge  – 1946
  • Fred and Gela Percal – October 1978
  • Upham gains city landmark status – May 1980
  • The Hotel Upham Ltd. – comprised of Santa Barbara real estate investors; Loyd Applegate, Gloria Blakemore, William Foershler and John Balch – June 1981
  • Carl Johnson (Current owner and developer responsible for Victoria Court) created Vintage Hotels – July 1982

Information for this article was taken from Kath, Fraser, Laura. The Upham Hotel; Celebrating 125 Years of Santa Barbara Hospitality. Vintage Publishing. 1996

Enjoy a semi-regular peek into the Lobero archives. We hope you’re staying safe and enjoying the arts from the comfort of your own home. Go ahead and read more stories from the Lobero’s rich history.

Our doors may be closed, but our hearts and minds are very much open, and we want to stay connected and hopeful with you.