Hot Property

El Mirador Estate, a Montecito garden of ruins, asks $15 million

El Mirador Estate
The last remaining piece of the historic El Mirador Estate is on the market for $15 million in Montecito.

Over a century ago, meatpacking tycoon J. Ogden Armour and his family began amassing a 70-acre garden oasis in Montecito. Full of lagoons, exotic landscaping and Japanese-style structures, the retreat was known as El Mirador.

Now, the last remaining slice is on the market for $15 million.

Dramatic gates guard the 13.75-acre property, which has a palm-lined driveway that snakes through the grounds.

The estate’s only livable home is a Mediterranean-style gatehouse built in 1918. Featuring an orange-and-teal exterior, it holds two bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms in 1,904 square feet.


Serene outdoor spaces fill out the rest of the property, including the stone ruins of a home known as the Eaton House, which was destroyed in a fire in 1921.

Elsewhere, a Japanese-style torii gate marks the entry of a grotto complete with trees, shrubs, a bridge and a fountain. Various sitting areas and a covered walkway complete the scene.

A flat, 3-acre plot offers a spot to build a larger home. The grassy clearing takes in views of the surrounding Santa Ynez Mountains.


Suzanne Perkins of Compass holds the listing.

Armour, who died in 1927 at 63, took over meatpacking firm Armour & Co. from his father in 1901. He grew sales from $200 million to $1 billion during his tenure, but the company later went into debt, and he was ousted as president in 1923. | Twitter: @jflem94