MG Charles A. Ott Armory – Santa Barbara CA


“The Santa Barbara Armory, [Works Progress Administration] Work Projects NO. 4256, 7013, and 9073, was sponsored by the City of Santa Barbara and constructed for the 2nd Battalion of the 144th Field Artillery, California National Guard. The work involved the construction of a complete armory plant consisting of two units. The main building is a one story ell shaped structure with two wings having a total floor area of 28,790 square feet including the basement. The Gargare Building, the second unit, has approximately 4800 square feet of floor space and consists of one story and a basement.


“The auditorium section of the Main Building, including the balcony, is constructed of reinforced concrete while the ell portion and the two wings are constructed of wood frame and stucco. The garage building is constructed of reinforced concrete. Both buildings have wood roof construction with composition and tile roofing.


“The first floor of the main building includes a 90′ x 130′ drill hall with a stage and foyer, over which the balcony with a seating capacity for approximately 300 persons is located. The balance of the first floor of the Main Building is divided into passageways, supply lockers and toilet rooms. The kitchen, a Club Room, the Headquarters offices for the Battery Commander and his staff and an Officers’ Club room is also located in the Main Building.


“The basement under the auditorium provides space for storage, heating and ventilation and other service equipment. The tower portion of Main Building will be utilized to house a complete radio communication and telephone system.


“The basement in the Garage Building contains a standard indoor rifle range and the first floor is segregated into storage spaces for the artillery units and custodian’s quarters.


“The armory buildings cover one half of an entire city block; the other half, which has been paved, constitutes the parade ground. A paved patio between the Garage and the Main Building provides additional drill space.


“The construction of drives and an extensive landscaping scheme completed the project. The Federal Government contributed $176,495.oo and the sponsor’s contribution was the property on which the project was constructed.”


“Project 4256 employed 148 men for 10 months, project 7013 employed 72 men for 6 months, and project 9073 employed 61 men for 4 months.


“The facility is the current base for B Co 1106th TASMG. It is also used by the US Naval Sea Cadets.


“Organized in 1901, the 11th ACR’s proud history includes service in the Philippines, General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition to Mexico in 1916, Guarding the West German border during the Cold War, and combat service in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the Iraq War.


“Organized on 3 August 1917 at Santa Barbara, CA, 144th units served during World War I and saw combat action during World War II and Korea.”

Source notes

Connolly, Donald H. and G. I. Farman. Report of Accomplishment of the Operations Division. Works Progress Administration, Southern California. January 1, 1939.

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on January 21, 2016.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

700 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, ca 93103

Coordinates: 34.42849, -119.691485

3 comments on “MG Charles A. Ott Armory – Santa Barbara CA

  1. Lars K. Staack

    I used to work at this armory and came into frequent contact with Charles A. Ott Jr., Major General, USA, Retired. He was part of a prominent local family, and also personally organized a Field Artillery battalion (981st FA) on site.

    MG Ott told me that the WPA developed plans for an armory on land donated by the city of Santa Barbara. However, the city hated the proposed design. While the design was similar to other armories across the state built by the WPA, city fathers felt that it lacked the right character for Santa Barbara. Note that Santa Barbara architecture had been following a theme of Spanish Revival for several years at this time.

    So, construction was delayed as prominent Santa Barbara families, including MG Otts father (who owned the local hardware store), set about raising money to build an armory more in keeping with local architecture. They were successful and built what is probably one of the most graceful armories in the nation.

  2. D.L. Dawson

    I served at the armory in the 80s. Great experience…too bad patriotism has waned and the bureaucracy & do gooders gobbled it…but, Always Ready… Always There

  3. Anne tewell

    He was the most amazing man that served and I am lucky to be his grandfather.

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