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Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions, and Silents on the Islands


MESA MEMORIES MONDAY - Douglas Family Preserve - The park that was almost home to Russian royalty
This Santa Barbara City park, with its dramatic vistas, has been eyed by developers at least as far back as 1919 when a high-ranking member of the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. bought this almost 60-acre site. "Slav Nobility to Live Here . . . Members of Royal Family May Join Unique Colony" ran the headline in the Los Angeles Times on April 16, 1919. In addition to Santa Barbara's salubrious climate, the Russian aristocrats were hoping that the United States would be safe from revolutions such as the 1917 uprising in their country.
The Santa Barbara newspaper, The Daily News and The Independent wrote that "an attractive oak grove beautifies the Russian embassy lands and there are numerous fine building sites on the property." The Russian aristocrats apparently settled elsewhere, but Count Constantin J. Medzikhovsky (see photo), the commercial attaché who bought the property, lived there on what was called Medcliff Ranch, for 13 years until his death in 1932. He and his American wife Countess Bessie lived in the big yellow house at 2601 Mesa School Lane. She died in 1958. (Image: Library of Congress)

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