Oakleigh is a twelve acre property in, Santa Barbara, with a rich history. In the late 1800’s, it was owned by a retired ship’s captain, and given its current name. At the turn of the century, the estate changed hands and came to be owned by the Hewitt Reynolds(above). He started and was Headmaster of the Deane School for Boys, and built classrooms that still stand today. The school went bankrupt some years later in the 30’s, and Mr. Reynolds was forced to rent out different buildings to families. One of these was my family, the Sheltons. In the late 1940’s and 50’s a summer camp called Camp Lorr was started on the property. It took kids from around town and brought them on adventures in Santa Barbara including hiking, sailing and assorted art skills. The Sheltons were actively involved in the camp and some of them worked there.


In the 70’s, my Great-Grandfather Rathburn Shelton (above) bought the property. The only condition was that he had to keep Camp Lorr running. His son, Steve Shelton took over as director and his other three sons had odd jobs here and there.  The camp continued to run for nearly twenty years, but was closed down in the late 80’s because of financial trouble. The next few years saw my father Thomas, move onto the property with his wife, my mom, Linda. Other families came and went, staying in some of the old classrooms or oftentimes in various huts and tents and tepees. In 2001 I was born, and we moved into one of the classroom buildings. Then in 2008 the Tea Fire came close to burning down some of the houses on Oakleigh, but it burned around the side of the property. Rathburn Shelton passed away in 2012, leaving ownership to his sons, who manage the property today.


This is a picture of Rathburn, his wife Peggy, and their four sons, Ron, Steve, David and Jeff.



This is one of the original classroom buildings, with old redwood trees from the beginning of the Deane School in the background. David Shelton, one of Rathburn’s sons lives in this house.


5 thoughts on “History

  1. Wow Tobias! I never knew the deep and rich history that came along with this property! This was an instant classic entry, and I fully expect you to not only deliver the same high quality in craftsmenship, but exceed the previously broken records, to make another great entry.
    Lamont Stiff
    Business Extraordinaire
    Founder and Co-Founder of Making Music SB, a local non-profit in Santa Barbara


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