A push to get the former Guadalupe home of the Far Western Tavern included on the California Register of Historical Resources earned the Guadalupe City Council’s approval last week.
Interim City Administrator Robert Perrault told the council the Office of Historic Preservation in the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation said letters or comments would be accepted, prompting the drafting of a letter approved by the council.
“Constructed in 1912 and located in the very heart of Guadalupe’s downtown, this building has played a significant role in our city’s history for the last 107 years,” the letter signed by Mayor Ariston Julian says.
The State Historical Resources Commission will consider the designation during a meeting set for Nov. 7 in San Bernardino.
The building, which sits at 899 Guadalupe St. (Highway 1) near the corner of Ninth Street, originated as the Palace Hotel before becoming home of the popular steakhouse.
“The architecture itself is significant, and it’s very dominant in our downtown core,” Perrault said.
In 1958, Clarence and Rosalie Minetti plus her cousin, Richard Maretti, and his wife, Jean, purchased the two-story building and launched the Far Western Tavern, operating there until relocating to a new structure in Old Town Orcutt in 2012.
The building hosted business meetings, family gatherings and more for generations of Santa Maria Valley residents.
“It is not uncommon to this day to hear about the many family and personal celebrations that took place within these historical walls,” the city’s letter says.
Perrault added that placement on the California Register won’t bring restrictions for the current owner, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, which hopes to renovate the building to house artifacts, such as treasures unearthed from the nearby sands, and more.
The Dunes Center, now crammed into an old house, displays a huge sphinx rescued from the sands after being abandoned at the end of filming for famed director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 movie “The Ten Commandments.”
An environmental analysis for any proposed project would have to acknowledge the historic resource and mitigate any impacts on the building, Perrault said.
“The other advantage to the Guadalupe Dunes Center is that it will open the doors for some grant funding opportunities,” Perrault said. “And as they go through renovation, the other thing that it does is that the state’s historic building code would apply, which is far less strict than the current code and would be a cost saving for the center as well.”
The Palace Hotel’s origin actually dates back to 1909 as a wooden building later destroyed in a fire sparked by natural gas. When it came time for rebuilding, bricks were used, according to local historian Shirley Boydstun.
She offered a caveat about buildings added to the California Register, saying they could face restrictions for renovation, but added that she suspects the Dunes Center’s representatives are aware of the rules.
“Their plans for restoring it are beautiful, and I hope it can come to fruition one of these days,” Boydstun added.
The California Register of Historical Resources includes buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts significant in the architectural, engineering, scientific, economic, agricultural, educational, social, political, military, or cultural annals of California, the state’s website says.
California Register locations in Santa Barbara County include the Santa Barbara Courthouse, the San Ramon Chapel, local missions and more, with others on the list available here.