Vintage landscape: the stage

2 Piranhurst, California, 1917, F.B. Johnston, Library of CongressThe outdoor theater of the Piranhurst estate of Henry Ernest and Ellen Chabot Bothin, Montecito, California, 1917, hand-colored glass lantern slides by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

4 Piranhurst, California, 1917, F.B. Johnston, Library of Congress

The Bothin’s fortune was made in coffee and spices (San Francisco), real estate, and water. Their estate became famous in the 1920s for the parties and performances held in its 350-acre “Tea Gardens” — which included the clipped cypress theater shown here.

3 Piranhurst, California, 1917, F.B. Johnston, Library of Congress
Looking from the stage to the box seats.

Today, the site is in ruins and is part of the Mar Y Cel open space preserve.  There are histories of the property here and here.

1 Piranhurst, California, 1917, F.B. Johnston, Library of Congress
The backstage wings, a photo by F. B. Johnston, 1917, also via Library of Congress.

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