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 Curson 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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

John and Elizabeth Howard's Ranch, Howard Place, near North Lake Avenue in the 1880's

John and Elizabeth Howard had a large ranch stretching from Lake Avenue north of Washington Street   all the way to Los Robles and as far north as Woodbury.  Their house was located on Howard Place, now Howard Avenue, near North Lake Avenue according to the city directory of 1888.

Elizabeth (originally Cherry) and Howard (originally Dakota) Streets were named for Elizabeth and John Howard.

Here are some interesting photos from the Pasadena History Digital Collaboration of Howard Avenue west of North Lake Avenue in the 1940's, showing a median strip with palm trees in the middle of Howard Avenue.  

Howard Avenue was really quite grand back in 1942......   I wonder if the Howard's ranch house still was standing at this time.  More research will be required to find out the answer.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Johnny's Sports Shop, 1402 N. Lincoln Avenue, Since 1958

 One of our treasures in Pasadena, definitely the Pasadena many of us remember from years ago.

At one time, there was a large Japanese community in Pasadena in this area.  Here is a link to the history:


The interior of Johnny's looks just like the 1950's.  The family owns the NE corner of Lincoln and Washington where they formally operated a Japanese food market and also several bungalows surrounding Johnny's.

Johnny's is one of the few places you can get your rod and reel repaired and their reel rewinding apparatus is something to be seen.

Around the corner is the Pasadena Buddhist Temple and the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute is down Lincoln, not far away.

A few doors away is another defunct Japanese food market on North Lincoln; the former Futaba Food Center is just up the way from Johnny's:
It's an ever changing world:
Here an article from Pasadena Now about Johnny's:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bullock's Department Store, Present Condition as Macy's Department Store (July 2013), Oak Knoll Shopping District, South Lake Avenue

So many of us lament about what isn't here anymore....  There are an amazing amount of remnants of the Lost World our early years.  And much of it is here in Pasadena.

Here the children's barber shop inside Bullock's on South Lake Avenue.
Virtually unchanged since the 1950's and still open for business...

Another view; notice the cheery color scheme and the attention to detail.....

What kid wouldn't like to have their hair cut here?

The World Map Ceiling Mural from the Children's Department.......

With an outstanding Art Deco light fixture, original to the design....

Display spaces in the form of cruise ship portals in the Children's Department with the barber shop just beyond........

A beautiful staircase going down to the Lost World, but very much in existence in Our Present Day World......

A wonderful artistic tapestry by a famous artist, however edited back in the day to remove female nudity!  Notice the left edge is folded over to hide the offending female....  This was required back in 1940.........

The vintage elevator bank with etched mirrors over the elevator doors.......

The Cosmetics Department with original mural on the walls, just adjacent to the Men's Department...

Part of the nautical theme of this part of the Men's Department......

The vintage mural in naive style showing the Baldwin Ranch with many details, including the original location of the Arcadia train station.......

Another delightful stairwell.......

The Ceramics and Glass Department.....Still the abode of Lladro and Lalique.......

Our founder, Mr. Bullock......

An original architectural rendering of our mercantile palace, done in the luxurious cruise ship Moderne Style, reminding one of the Normandie or the Queen Mary......

Our founder including a model of an original Bullock's delivery wagon.......

Bullock's store executives along with our founder, Mr. Bullock.  Is there such a spot in Selfridge's Department Store in London today?

Selfridge's on Oxford Street in London is a survivor similar to Bullock's (Macy's) Pasadena.....

A close-up view of the architectural rendering of our architectural mercantile palace.

I think we better spend some money here every once in a while, and not completely depend on our wealthy San Marino neighbors to keep this ship afloat.  I did write to Macy's in New York and to the local manager here about reopening the Bullock's Tea Room with fashion shows, but they've been non committal about promising to comply

I made the case that they need some events here to drive regional business to them and I hope they will listen.  Let us start a writing campaign to convince Macy's to get the Tea Room open and have events.  That should liven up this vintage cruise ship, which if we are complacent will end up sailing on to the rocks, capsize and go under.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE BOOK ENDS, 2704 North Fair Oaks, Lost and Found Altadena

Once upon a time there was a book shop at the top of Fair Oaks Avenue.  It was called the Book Ends and inhabited a beautiful little cottage, Hollywood Regency in style, elegant as old Altadena was.

The address was 2704 North Fair Oaks Avenue, a place for book browsers as nice as could be found in Claremont or Carmel.  These days the old book shop quarters house what looks to be a pre-school, so the little cottage still houses a place of learning.

Here from the back of the book cover one sees the other businesses which were located at the top of Fair Oaks Avenue.  Real estate, beauty salon and garden shop.

All what we could still use today.  With a little work and restoration, this stretch of North Fair Oaks Avenue could be as elegant as it once was, although it looks fairly nice even in its present state.

Here the Book Ends Hollywood Regency cottage today, although quite hidden by shrubbery, it appears in good repair.

Another shot, this one showing the interesting architectural gem just to the north.

And a shot of the Hollywood Regency mansion on the SW corner of Mariposa and Fair Oaks, alluded to in the previous shot.

This may have been built by the same designer at the Book Ends cottage.

Quite an ensemble, the two structures, don't you think?

Here 2648 North Fair Oaks, former home to the Mariposa Garden Shop.  You probably know that Mariposa is butterfly in Spanish, but our Mariposa was named after Mariposa County in Northern California.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a garden shop here, as A.R. Verdier had back in the 1930's, which was open seven days a week, as posted in their ad?

And here is the site of Syd Winn's Beauty Salon, specializing in permanents, hair tinting, hair cutting according to his advertisement.

Now the site of the Little Red Hen Coffee Shop, and usually has the owner's Rolls Royce parked in front.  He drove it away just as I was taking this picture.  We'll have to go back for breakfast some time; this place looks more inviting than Syd Winn's Beauty Salon.

Does anyone have any memories of this area?  Please leave a comment about what you remember!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Do You Miss the Marcell Inn? Try Julienne's Restaurant, Lake Avenue Adjacent!

Do you lament the passing of the Marcell Inn at the top of Lincoln Avenue?  Do not despair.  The spirit of Marcell lives on Mission Avenue between El Molino and Oak Knoll, the southerly extension of South Lake Avenue.  They are only open for breakfast and lunch and are well attended.  The spirit of a French inn is carried throughout, supplies pour le Picnic sur le Weekend are available, bakery with delectables, delicatessen with superb delicacies, and French gift items from jams to wines.  Enjoy!