Montecito Magazine Spring 2019

Leaving El Mirador End of An Era… almost FOR 103 YEARS, the legendary El Mirador garden estate on Cold Spring Road has served as a private paradise for four generations of Armour family heirs. But with the passing of Lolita “Tita” Lanning, most of the remaining family-owned acreage is now up for sale. The dismantling of this estate reflects the ongoing changing of the guard in Montecito, as the last scions of Gilded Age fortunes pass from the scene. THE PINK STUCCO WALL that runs along Cold Spring Road north of Lotusland is tall enough to obscure what lies beyond it, but not so tall that adventurous local youths did not scale it to explore the vast El Mirador estate. “I have run into more people than I can count who jumped the wall as a rite of passage,” Marisa Lanning says. “Some would just jump and remain terrified on the other side. Others, more adventurous, would wander the property, coming back to spin stories to their friends. Tales of danger and dogs, ponds and hiding from gardeners. It’s still fun to run into folks whose first words are ‘I know that place! I used to jump that wall.’ ” 21 By Mark Lewis • Art by Meredith Brooks Abbott and Whitney Brooks Abbott Painting © Meredith Brooks Abbott