FIRST PRIVATE OWNERSHIP
In 1834, the now independent Mexican government asserted control over the Mission lands and returned them to secular use, splitting off tens of thousands of acres to prominent local families. After California became part of the United States in 1848 then a state in 1850, the remaining 275 acres including the Santa Barbara Mission were returned to the Roman Catholic Diocese by the U.S. government in 1865. A parcel directly adjacent to the Mission which now comprises the western half of the Mount Calvary property was then purchased in the late 1870’s by Dr. Samuel Knox, who became a famous local physician for decades following.
Dr. Knox built the first structures on the property - a large house and small cottage, shown on the left and right in this historical photo taken from the right tower of the Mission, the photo is believed to be from the early 1880's. The large home was later torn down by the next owner, and but the original 2-bedroom cottage remains today as the “guest house cottage” located between the 2 main houses.