The Music Academy’s signature building dates back to 1902. At that time, the site was part of the Santa Barbara Country Club and the members built a clubhouse on their nine-hole golf course. The original building was used until a fire nearly destroyed it in 1915. During that same period of time, the Santa Barbara Country Club went through a significant organizational reshuffling. As a result of its new direction, the Club purchased land that could accommodate an 18-hole course, changed its name to Montecito Country Club, and built a new clubhouse using Bertram Goodhue as architect.

John Percival Johnson and his wife, Mary, purchased the original golf course club house and retained Reginald Johnson, a Los Angeles architect, to remodel it into their new home. This was Johnson’s first Santa Barbara commission. He would go on to design many notable structures on the South Coast, including the Biltmore Hotel (later became part of the Four Seasons domain), the Chase House (in Hope Ranch), and his last South Coast commission, the Santa Barbara Post Office.

As with all great talents, Johnson continually explored new avenues of expression. During his later years he gave up his lucrative “high end” architectural practice. To find out what he did professionally in the latter part of his career, come to Montecito’s Fourth of July Parade and Festival.