A short history of Casa Dorinda
A State of Bliss
Affectionately known as “Casa”, Casa Dorinda was originally a grand estate built by the Castor Oil fortune in 1919. Mrs. Anna Dorinda Blaksley Bliss commissioned the young architect Carleton Winslow to design a grand “casa” to serve as the social center of the community. As this was Winslow’s first big commission, it soon propelled him into becoming a key proponent of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture throughout California. Winslow’s hand can also be seen around town in Santa Barbara’s Museum of Natural History and Public Library, as well as, Los Angeles’s Public Library and the Bel Air Country Club.
As times changed, so did Casa Dorinda’s function. From serving as a rest and recuperation center for the Navy during World War II to an all girls’ school in the mid 40’s and 50’s; people often find themselves begging Casa’s walls to talk. In 1975, Casa Dorinda welcomed its first residents as the Retirement Community it now is. Walking through the 48 acre campus and its surrounding gardens, visitors find themselves transported, not to another time, but to a place of beauty and peace. The richness in history can be felt here, magnified by the original architectural details that remain from its first life as an internationally renowned grand estate.