Movies Way Back When: Touring the Piranhurst Estate

Movies Way Back When: Touring the Piranhurst Estate title=
A scene from the “Flying A” movie “The Quest” which was filmed at this estate in 1915 (Reel Life, March 13, 1915)
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By Betsy J. Green

There were a couple of walking/hiking groups in Santa Barbara in the 19-teens. One was the Nature Study Club. This group was fortunate enough to be allowed to wander around some of Montecito’s grandest estates. (In those years, some of the estates were open to the public.)

In 1919, the group visited the “Piranhurst” estate belonging to H.E. Bothin on Cold Spring Road. “A walk through a lovely canyon under rustic arbors covered with trumpet vine and passion flowers led to the open-air theater that is unique in its setting and is a joy and delight to the beholder.” The “Flying A” and a studio from Los Angeles had filmed silent movies at this estate.

Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1919 -- is now available in local bookstores and at This is the sixth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at​.
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bjgreen Mar 07, 2021 12:38 PM
Movies Way Back When: Touring the Piranhurst Estate

Sad to say, the Library of Congress website shows that only some fragments of this film survive, and they do not appear to be available for viewing online. However, at least one movie that was filmed in Montecito does survive - the 1923 film "Ashes of Vengeance" which was filmed at the former Bellosguardo estate. (This is not the same building that is here now.) You can watch this film on Youtube:

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