THE GEORGE WASHINGTON SMITH AWARD

George Steedman made ample use of his time. He was a successful industrialist and architect, ingenious inventor, a landscape designer, silversmith, woodworker and amateur photographer. Evidence of Steedman’s time well-spent is preserved in full within the adobe walls and under the Spanish tile roofs of his George Washington Smith-designed Casa del Herrero. “He was a true Renaissance Man,” says Betsy Coates, a Casa del Herrero Foundation trustee.

Since 1993, when Steedman’s estate and its contents were transferred to the Casa del Herrero Foundation, several people have taken great lengths to maintain the man’s memory and celebrate his excellence. But few have been as instrumental in fulfilling this task as David Myrick, Montecito’s quintessential historian and author of many books, including two volumes of “Montecito and Santa Barbara.”

“David Myrick was the moving force to create the foundation,” Coates says. “No one knows this property quite like David.”

On July 22, in the spacious gardens of the 11-acre estate, the Foundation will honor Myrick, former chairman of the Montecito Association History Committee and current board member of the Montecito Community Foundation and Montecito Association, with the George Washington Smith Award. Also bestowed with the honor will be Alice Van de Water, a foundation trustee and chair of the Gardening Committee.

“If you think about the origin of the Casa, it was about sharing,” Coates says. “The Steedman family worked passionately to share it with the world. So we thought it was important to honor these local contributors, who by virtue of their life’s work and passion, have done exactly that.”

The award is a first for the foundation, having announced its formation earlier this year in an attempt to not only recognize the Steedman family, but also the architectural accomplishments of Smith and the estate in its current and historical context. Casa trustees say they hope this award is one of many to be given out.

“This award this year honors local people, but we would like it in the future to be broad and include statewide and national contributors,” says Sue Burrows, a trustee who with Coates is a co-chair for the event.

Casa del Herrero’s conditional use permit restricts the number of people who can visit the property each year and also limits to three the number of fundraising events trustees can organize. This forces foundation members to get creative in their ideas to raise proper funds to maintain the indoor furnishings and facilities and keep the gardens in shape.

“This foundation is really in its infancy stages,” Burrows says. “We know that with our conditional use permit, we are limited by what we can do.”

Aside from the upcoming award celebration, Casa holds the Noche de los Pinitos (“Night of the First Steps”) every December, a Christmas holiday-themed function with tours and gatherings. Trustees are also exploring other money-making concepts. Of consideration is an enterprise that would market pieces of the estate, such as tiles and other ornamentations. Possibly using original plans, an East Coast company would replicate the artifacts and retail them to the general public.

The July 22 proceedings will be held on a grassy patio on the eastern portion of the Casa estate, amidst towering hedges and palms. Casa docents will prepare all the food and refreshments. The meeting grounds are just feet away from a birdhouse Steedman fashioned himself. Inscribed on the side of this house are the words, “Use Well Thy Time.”

It’s an indication that Mr. Myrick and Ms Coates are in good company.

Award Ceremony

When: July 22,

3 pm to 5 pm

Where: 1387 East Valley Road

Price: $150 (limit of 75 guests)

Info: 565-5653