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Plans to restore historic Smith-Enos House picking up momentum

Momentum is finally building to restore Santa Maria’s most famous house.

Located along South Bradley Road in the Enos Ranch development, the Smith-Enos House is a vital link to the city’s colorful past.

“It really is one-of-a-kind,” said Cindy Ransick, Santa Maria Historical Museum Director. “It’s unique. There’s nothing else with it’s age or it’s glory in this community.”

Built in 1871, the 148-year-old two-story farmhouse was moved from its original location, near the Betteravia Road/Highway 101 interchange, to its present spot in July 2016.

The dramatic relocation received significant attention and essentially kicked off construction of the massive Enos Ranch development.

When it was moved several hundred yards west, plans were revealed it would eventually become a public social gathering event center.

Now, more than two years later, little has changed, other than a deteriorating appearance that’s seen by hundreds of people daily who pass it while driving along the road.

“You can see the house has suffered a great deal of injury over time,” said Ransick. “This old girl here, she’s got a lot of work in front of her, like a lot of us as we get older, you need a little face lift and we need a little help.”

Despite a rough appearance on the outside, including peeling paint and a tattered blue tarp on the roof, the house is still structurally sound.

“The house is actually in pretty good shape for the fact that it was built in 1871,” said Alex Posada, Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Director. “There’s a lot of good lumber behind these walls. You look at the wood floor, this is a redwood plank floor, its solid.”

With the house still structurally in good condition, plans still remain to restore it to its former state.

“For the house, a setting for small social gatherings, maybe it’s the bridge club, maybe it’s a tea or a luncheon for a small group,” said Posada. “For the grounds, it’s more of a garden design, so you could have an outdoor wedding, maybe have your reception at the event center that’s being planned for the back of the property. It’s more of a one-stop family event center.”

The city-owned project is being called the Enos Ranch House and Gardens.

“This will be kind of the focal point of the Enos Ranch development,” Posada said. “We want to make the development and the City proud by giving a nice facility that the public can come and use.

Posada said the house may be painted on the outside, as well as receive a new roof as soon as this summer.

“We’ve had a couple of community members step up with willingness to come in and paint the house, donate the painting,” said Posada. “There’s a lot of prep work that needs to happen.”

Recently, workers have been cleaning up the house on the inside and outside, helping to prepare it for upcoming renovations.

Funding to renovate the house will likely cost between $450,000 to $550,000 according to Posada.

“The restoration of the house, we hope to do through a combination of community fundraising, donations, and also through some of our park development funds for that,” said Posada.

He added a public outreach campaign to help raise funds will start sometime this summer.

“We’ll be running it through our non-profit, the People for Leisure and Youth, so people can make donations to the Enos House project,” said Posada. “We are depending on the community to step up, not only individuals, but also our business community and our industries around the area.”

The funding plans to create the outdoor space, as well as the funding resources, will be different from the house restoration.

“We just applied to the State of California for a grant for the grounds, parking lot and the community barn building,” said Posada. “The grant that we applied to the state is for $1.4 million for the installation of the parking lot, building the community center and those kinds of things.”

Posada added he expects to hear the outcome of the grant application within the next six months.

“All of it is based on the availability of funding, so if funding was secured, and we get it into our public works queue, you’re probably talking between two-to-three years out before a project could materialize,” said Posada.

As part of the grant application process, public input is needed.

A meeting to discuss the project is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10.

A one-hour meeting is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Center.

When completed, the Enos Ranch House and Gardens will give Santa Maria something truly unique.

“There isn’t a location in Santa Maria where that kind of an event can happen, where you could do an outdoor wedding and you could have a venue right there to have your reception in and to have a backdrop of an over a one hundred year old house there to kind of emphasize the importance,” said Posada.

Ransick is excited about the planned restoration, noting historical significance of the home.

“This dates back two centuries ago,” Ransick said. “Two important families were there. A lot of history with this house. It sits in a premium location and it provides us with a picture of our past that we have nowhere else in our community.”

While the house has sat empty for years, she’s optimistic renovation is likely on its way.

Even though the Santa Maria Historical Museum has no official capacity in the plans, Ransick wants the community to rally around the project.

“We’ve heard a lot of verbal support for this house. What we’re hoping is that people will put their hearts, their shoulders and their donations towards resurrecting this house and making it everything that it can be for our community,” said Ransick. “I am fully faithful that this project will come to fruition with the support of this community, so let’s get started.”

Anyone interested in donating to the Enos Ranch House and Gardens project is asked to contact the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department.

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