Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Catalina Avenue North Lake Avenue Adjacent; A Closer Look at Catalina Island

 Adjacent to North Lake Avenue to the West, we have Catalina Avenue running North and South. Named for, legend has it, that Catalina Island was visible from its upper reaches. I had an opportunity to travel to the Isthmus on Catalina Island and stay at the Banning Hunting Lodge which now operates as a Bed and Breakfast. Banning was, of course, the owner of Catalina Island before he sold it to Wrigley. There are many connections between Catalina and Pasadena and Altadena. Zane Grey had a home on Catalina overlooking Avalon Bay, which was for many years a beautiful hotel, but now a private residence once again, and Zane Grey had a home in Altadena which had operated in more recent times as a Bed and Breakfast but is once again also a private residence.
 The Banning Hunting Lodge is perched on a hill overlooking what was called the Isthmus, but is now called Two Harbors, being renamed after Natalie Wood was tragically drowned while on board Robert Wagner and her boat moored here. A fact I wasn't aware of before staying here. Banning back in the early days around the turn of the century would come and stay and hunt in this area with his cronies when not much was here beyond the Civil War era Army Barracks which still stand.
 The location is stunning and the Hunting Lodge has been beautifully restored with period looking rooms and furnishings and a common breakfast room, and a common lodge area with piano, books and puzzles. I much recommend this place, as much effort has been put into making it comfortable and restful, far away from our usual city lives.

 The lodge common area is full of nice touches and historical photos. A wonderful way to spend a relaxing day, far, far away.

Many rooms have windows with spectacular views. I highly recommend this place. A place not many will ever visit, but close to Pasadena and Altadena physically, but remote in atmosphere.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Dutch Oven Bakery

A bit of Solvang at the top of North Lake Avenue, Old Altadena

Since August 1990, David Davis has been the proud owner and Chief Baker of the Dutch Oven Bakery, located at 2281 North Lake Avenue, right next to the Altadena Post Office.

David is helped out by his sons, although David says he himself works 9 days a week, 16 hours a day. He certainly is cheerful and friendly, especially for working so hard at his age.  He is an Altadena treasure and it is fun to hear the history of Altadena and local gossip from him. 

 David started back in the late 1960's selling clothing at the old Paramount Swap Meet and went on to sell at the Roadium Swap Meet in Torrance and the Rose Bowl Swap Meet in Pasadena. He has always been an entrepreneur and has owned a number of businesses and bakeries in the past. This man knows business and hard work, also being a family man with seven children and many grandchildren. 

So if you need a cup of coffee and a pastry, this is the place to go up in Old Altadena, the long established Dutch Oven Bakery. Be sure to engage in conversation with David or his sons. They are carrying on a long tradition in Old Altadena, and we hope David and his family will carry on in the same way for years to come.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lake Washington Village 1950, Looking South Down Lake Avenue from Washington Blvd. Intersection

In this photo from October, 1950, we can see looking south the Western Auto Supply store on the SE corner with the clock and the parapet ornamentation and Star Drugs on the SW corner. Notice the banners and lights strung across the street, with one banner advertising the Community Chest Campaign from October 30 to November 30.

Just south of the Western Auto Supply is Henrie's Toys with the large neon Toys sign and on the other side is the DRUGS neon sign from Star Drugs. From what I understand, there was a soda fountain in Star Drugs, which means we had Larry's Ice Cream on the NE corner and Star Drugs soda fountain on the SW corner and another soda fountain in the drug store located in the Oversen Apartment Building on the NW corner. Also, the Robbins from Baskin Robbins had an ice cream store just down from Star Drugs on the west side of the street. Lots of ice cream back then at this intersection.

Just south of Henrie's Toys you see the Pasadena State Bank and just south of that is the Skoal Bar and Steak House with the entrance to the parking lot of the east side just south of Skoal. Notice the beautiful double light standards on each side and the not so beautiful telephone poles. About a decade earlier than this we would have seen double streetcar tracks going done the middle with overhead wires fro the Pacific Electric Trolley going up to Altadena and Mount Lowe.

Amazing how things have changed, but how nice it would be to put the decorative elements back on the building where Gladstone Donut on the SE corner is now located and to put buildings back on the SW corner going down Lake Avenue. One can only hope for a better future in our neighborhood commercial district, old Lake Washington Village!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Normandy Village of Altadena, Norwic Place, North Lake Avenue Adjacent, Altadena

                                 Normandy Village, Altadena

Just behind the old Ralphs Market, just off of North Lake Avenue, is an enchanting little village designed by a noted California architect of the 1920's, J. Wilmer Hershey, a member of the famous Hershey Chocolate clan. He also designed other homes in Pasadena and the Santa Barbara Courthouse.


                                                             Norwic Village, Altadena

                                                             The Architect & Designer

The same noted California architect of the 1920's, J. Wilmer Hershey, designed this Pasadena, CA designated landmark located at 726 E. Rio Grande Street, 91104.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Altadena Ralphs, the historic Market Basket, closing forever January 27, 2017

It is hard to believe what degradation North Lake Avenue in Altadena is experiencing. After losing the Coffee Gallery to overpriced Hipsters (the owner and customers) we now lose the reasonable priced Ralphs Grocery Store.

Altadena, you should have incorporated long ago, otherwise our ex-Pasadena Planning Director, Richard Bruckner, now the Planning Director for Los Angeles County including unincorporated Altadena, is going to bury you in ugly condominiums. I always thought Altadena's better chance was to take Pasadena's annexation move, but I am of the minority opinion.

One has to think that after January 20, 2017, a lot of our freedoms and choices are being curtailed.

Farewell Altadena....I have little reason to go up North Lake Avenue anymore except for access to the San Gabriel Mountains. I will focus on the environment and the hiking trails and historical remnants in the mountains, such as Millard Canyon, the Arroyo Seco, Devil's Gate Dam, Mount Lowe and Mount Wilson.

I wish we could bring back a vibrant Altadena.....I do still shop at Altadena Hardware, Dazees and Boys Republic.....Aldi's apparently is just going to be another version of Food 4 Less, which I can't bear.....  At least we still have a Ralphs on North Lake at Walnut in Pasadena. I may start getting my morning coffee and newspaper at Vroman's, which I hope Joel Sheldon will keep going.

Hope springs eternal.........

Saturday, January 7, 2017

North Lake Avenue at Santa Fe Railway Crossing 1928 (Today 210 Freeway Bridge)

2017 will be a challenging year. I hope the City of Pasadena will become even a nicer place to live in the future. I certainly will try to help in my small way. The neighborhood challenges we face are many. Just for instance the snail's pace renovation of the Washington Theatre and the slow renovation of the retail bays of the Hotel Constance project near Colorado and North Lake.....

Here is a great photo I've not seen previously:

Looking north on Lake Avenue somewhere near Corson and Maple Streets.....Lake Avenue Congregational Church somewhere up the way on the left side.....

More photos are being digitized every day and I'm looking forward to seeing in to the past to learn what previous generations saw and had to contend with......

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Altadena Nursery, 1968 N. Lake Avenue, Becomes a Ditch

I really think we're going backwards on North Lake in Altadena.  Here we have a nice vintage design perfect mixed use building with lots of parking and room for additional buildings and the new owner/developer decides to build a mega development on the site.  

With the recent sale of the Webster's Complex and the Hill and Washington Apartment Complex to Mike Balian, we may be in for additional nasty surprises.

Fortunately, due to diligent neighbors in Pasadena, the Hill and Washington Apartment Complex in Pasadena has been found by the Pasadena Historic Preservation Commission to be landmark designation eligible.  That means Mike Balian must preserve the facade of the historic building, but he may build on the surrounding asphalt parking area to the limit allowed by the Pasadena Zoning Code.

Pasadena has been somewhat more successful in retaining and preserving buildings on the North Lake Corridor than Altadena/L.A. County.  Stay tuned for more developments, and heaven help Altadena...

Here something interesting which is related from Wikipedia:  In 1880, Capt. Frederick Woodbury, and his brother, John Woodbury of Marshalltown, Iowa, purchased 937 acres (3.79 km2) known as the Woodbury Ranch. John Woodbury established the Pasadena Improvement Company in 1887, with a plot plan of residential development referred to as the Woodbury Subdivision. They contacted Byron O. Clark, who established a nursery in the foothills in 1875, and had since moved away. He called his nursery "Altadena Nursery", a name he coined from the Spanish "alta" meaning "upper," and "dena" from Pasadena. Woodbury asked if he could use the name "Altadena" for his subdivision and Clark agreed.