The Unusual History of the Tea Fire’s Point of Origin

Before last week, Santa Barbara’s Tea Gardens — a picturesque private park of bizarre aqueduct systems, broken-down statues, Romanesque arches, and stunning ocean views in the foothills above Westmont College — were a highlight of local lore for their quirky history and legendary status in the underground of skateboarding. Now, the 340-acre estate — long a popular party spot for trespassing teenagers and solitude-seeking co-eds — is forever infamous as the birthplace of the similarly named destructive inferno born within its borders just before sundown last Thursday evening.

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