Phillips, Michael James
History of Santa Barbara County, California : from its earliest settlement to the present time
Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1927, 921 pgs.
pages 2-439 through 2-441
Michael P. Hourihan
Every successful business enterprise stimulates the progress of the locality in which it is operated, and through his activities in connection with the hotel business Michael P. Hourihan has contributed materially toward the development of Santa Ynez, while he is also numbered among the foremost agriculturists of the county. He was born September 12, 1870, in County Cork, Ireland, and his parents, Patrick and Margaret (McCarthy) Hourihan, always resided on the Emerald Isle.
Michael P. Hourihan was educated in his native land and followed the occupation of farming as a means of livelihood. In 1893, when a young man of twenty-three, he followed the example of many of his fellow countrymen and sought the opportunities of the United States. He journeyed to San Francisco, California, and then joined his brother, who had located on a ranch near Santa Ynez. The subject of this sketch obtained a position in an asphalt mine near Harris Station, working for a Mr. Kiser, and was next employed on the Zaca ranch, near Los Olivos, where he spent four years.
When the place was sold he took charge of the Mahoney ranch of six thousand acres, which he successfully managed for twelve years, and after the property changed hands he returned to Santa Ynez. He purchased the two-story brick building and stock of merchandise from the Commercial Bank of Santa Barbara, at the same time becoming the owner of a cottage, and conducted the business for seven years. During this period he engaged in ranching, keeping a number of horses, and shared his profits with others, who assisted in cultivating the land. Meanwhile he purchased the College Hotel, of which he has since been the proprietor, and has built up a profitable business, displaying marked foresight and keen sagacity in its conduct. The hostelry contains fifty rooms and in service and appointments leaves nothing to be desired. The property comprises four acres and is situated on an elevation which commands an uninterrupted view of the surrounding country. Mr. Hourihan has installed an irrigation system and a large swimming pool, leaving nothing undone which will add to the comfort, entertainment and well being of the patrons of his efficiently managed hotel.
After disposing of his store Mr. Hourihan purchased a tract of one hundred and twenty-five acres in Madera county and zealously applied himself to the task of improving his land. He installed an irrigation system and developed one of the finest ranches in that part of the state. At the end of five years he sold the place and returned to Santa Ynez. He had charge of the J. H. Henry ranch of six thousand acres for years and then joined D. C. Armour, of Pasadena, in purchasing the property, which they operated jointly for three years, when the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Hourihan's share of the tract amounts to one thousand, one hundred and seventy-six acres of well improved land and in its cultivation he utilizes the most advanced methods. He raises the crops best adapted to soil and climatic conditions in this region and his walnut grove covers forty-seven acres. He thoroughly understands every phase of farming and is a leader of agricultural progress in this section of the state. He also has financial interests, being one of the directors of the Bank of Solvang, and his name lends additional prestige to the institution.
In 1910 Mr. Hourihan married Miss Margaret Hill, a native of Santa Barbara and a daughter of John and Katherine (Murphy) Hill, early settlers of California. The father has passed away but Mrs. Hill still resides in Santa Barbara. Mr. and Mrs. Hourihan have a family of five children: Margaret, Lawrence, Elinor, Geraldine and Elise Josephine. Mr. Hourihan belongs to the Santa Barbara lodge of Elks and his political views are in accord with the tenets of the republican party. Alert, enterprising and determined, he has accomplished what he has attempted, converting his opportunities into tangible assets, and in achieving success he has also gained the respect, confidence and esteem of his fellowmen, for the principles of honor and integrity have guided him at all points in his career.