Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lake Pasadena to Return - Devil's Gate Dam Will Replenish the Aquifer in the Hahamongna Basin as Originally Intended

Lake Pasadena and the Flintridge Biltmore Hotel from Linda Vista Peak, by Orrin A. White, Courtesy of the Armitrading FoundationLake Pasadena to Return - Devil's Gate Dam Will Replenish the Aquifer in the Hahamongna Basin as Originally Intended!
I'm looking at the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan on the City's Website:http://ww2.cityofpasadena.net/publicworks/PNR/ArroyoSeco/pdfFiles/Hahamongna%20Watershed%20Park%20Master%20Plan/Hahamongna%20FULL%20DOC.pdfand I see in 1978, "the Division of Safe Operation of Dams (DSOD) imposed an operational restriction on Devil's Gate Dam and officially declared the dam seismically unsafe. These actions were taken in part due to the 1971 Sylmar earthquake."and in Jan. 1996, "the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) began the seismic strengthening and spillway modification to Devil's Gate Dam. This project was completed in the winter of 1998."So it seems we need to ask our public officials to look into retaining more Arroyo Seco stream runoff to keep water behind the dam, which it is designed and rehabilitated to do, in order to increase the replenishment of the Raymond aquifer. I have contacted Brad Bowman, Engineering Manager at Pasadena Water and Power to ask for his help in looking into this matter.
Apparently our wish has been granted and we can get Lake Pasadena back for a major portion of the year and it can function as originally intended!
This from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works:

Devil's Gate Dam and Reservoir Post Fire Sediment Removal Project

The 2009 Station Fire was the 10th largest fire in California since 1933 and burned over 160,000 acres before containment. The fire burned nearly 100% of the undeveloped watershed tributary to Devil's Gate Dam and Reservoir, leaving vast areas of the San Gabriel Mountains denuded and sediment deposition inevitable. The 2009-2010 Storm Season brought in approximately 936,000 cubic yards of postfire debris and more is expected in the upcoming years. Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is planning a major sediment removal project for Devil's Gate Reservoir to remove the accumulated sediment and make room for future sedimentation that will undoubtedly occur. Construction is expected to begin as early as September 2011 and final details of this project are still under consideration.

The following presentation was presented to the City of Pasadena Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee on November 30,2010.

HWPAC Presentation

here For the PDF version of the presentation.

The above oil painting featuring Lake Pasadena, the Flintridge Biltmore Hotel and the San Gabriel Mountain peaks was painted by Orrin A. White, a local Arroyo painter who lived just below the hotel at 1205 Linda Vista Road in a Spanish Hacienda designed by noted local architect Garret Van Pelt. In an upcoming post I will feature a painting of White's home with the San Gabriels as a backdrop.

For more on the Myron Hunt designed Flintridge Biltmore, which still exists, please go to this link: http://www.fsha.org/podium/default.aspx?t=118031 It's a beautiful site to visit and also has a bridge similar to the Picture Bridge at the Huntington Hotel in the Oak Knoll District of Pasadena. There are many hiking and equestrian trails surrounding the Flintridge Biltmore, connecting it with the natural landscape in many directions. This is not to be missed and is as nice as any Santa Barbara or Ojai resort! Such outstanding vistas!

So the restoration of Lake Pasadena will help us solve our water woes in the area and make us less dependent on imported water supplies. This is a very good thing! I'm looking forward to the historic restored vista shown to us by Orrin White's painting of Lake Pasadena!

After the tremendous rainfall of the last week, the possibilities of recharging our local aquifer below Hahamongna look promising! Happy New Year to All!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Tree Lane's Mansions - G.G. Green's Mansion, Gartz' "The Cloister", McNally's Mansion, Theosophical Society's Mansion

All that's left of Colonel G.G. Green's mansion, Colonel Green the "Patent Medicine King" and namesake of Pasadena's Hotel Green and Green Street, is just Green's carriage house, which is just south of the present Altadena Library, located at Maripose and Santa Rosa. In 1961, the Altadena Library Board of Trustees bought Colonel Green's southeast corner mansion located at Santa Rosa and Mariposa and the northerly estate grounds, minus the grounds of the carriage house, to build a new library. Architect Boyd Georgi was hired in 1964 to design the modernistic library which was completed in 1967.

Also, on the northwest corner of Santa Rosa and Mariposa, stood the imposing mansion of Altadena/Pasadena social activist Kate Crane Gartz, "The Cloister", where she held a Sunday salon from the 1920's through the 1940's attended by socialist and left-wing political activists, authors, and actors such as Charlie Chaplin, Upton Sinclair, Mary Sinclair, Gaylord Wilshire, Mary Wilshire, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and other well known personalities of the day.

Gartz mansion is also gone, demolished after her death to be replaced by a Girl Scout campground.

On the southeast corner of Santa Rosa and Mariposa, we have the still extant Andrew McNally estate, showplace home of the map printing magnate from Chicago who built a maginificent edifice replete with a wing housing the interior smoking room of the "Turkish Pavilion" from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The mansion was surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens now subdivided for newer homes.

On the northeast corner of Santa Rosa and Mariposa, we have the imposing estate and gardens of the "International Headquarter of the Theosophical Society" which was formerly located on Point Loma in San Diego, a Utopian campus created by famed founder Madame Blavatsky.

The Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony will be this year on December 11. Here are the details, be sure not to miss it:

I like to tell everybody that I live near Christmas Tree Lane and in the shadow of Mt. Lowe, which I can see from my living room and bedroom window. Aren't we very lucky to live here?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Henries Toys, 1328 North Lake Avenue, Lake Washington Village, 1947 to ?

Here is what appears to be Henries Toys in circa 1978, what is now the Billard Parlor. The added on arches are not attractive. Were these false facades added due to earthquake damage from the Sylmar quake of 1971? No wonder I overlooked this dreary looking place back in the late 1970's, as the wonderful Cornet 5 & 10 was directly across the street and inviting!
Here the March 1st, 1967 Pasadena Star News page showing the Lake Washington Village Dollar Days advertising with Henries Toys having a big sale. Looks inviting!

Here a list of Marklin train dealers from about 1967. Marklin of Germany is the oldest toy company still in business in the world, since 1859, and has always been a high quality maker of high end expensive toy and model trains. Suprising to find Henries as an outlet....

Here the section showing Henries as an outlet for Marklin trains, but a discrepancy with the address. This will require more research. Even Model Grocery on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena was a dealer of Marklin trains, and it appears that Model Grocery was a purveyor of fine things besides high quality groceries.

Here a Marklin catalog from the mid 1960's
We've discussed Henries Toys on North Lake in the Lake Washington Village previously, but I thought I would provide what I believe to be a photo of the last iteration of Henries as a discount toy outlet. Not a pretty picture.
We know Henries Toys survived more than 20 years, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary in 1967 according to their advertisements in the local papers of the day. Does anyone have any memory of buying cherished childhood toys and hobbies at Henries? I'm a vintage toy and train collector and had many Shuco wind up toys in the 1950's, later Marklin trains, really nice quality toys from old Germany. Don't remember buying any at Henries though.
Please let me know what you remember about Henries Toys. We are trying to get the "Original Whistle Stop" train shop http://www.thewhistlestop.com/ and their wonderful animated projecting neon sign http://www.thewhistlestop.com/images/22.jpg to relocate to Lake Washington Village, so please keep your fingers crossed! What kind of shops would you like see return or locate to the Lake Washington Village?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Update - Home Savings/Wamu/Chase - The Millard Sheets Pasadena Mural Panic!

Now Chase is lighting up their Colorado and Lake location at night with blue neon!

Here is an update on the Millard Sheets murals which were removed from this location, even though they depicted a Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade scene from the turn of the 20th century! Perhaps we should be boycotting this bank, as they do not seem to respect the community they live in; First Federal was more sensitive in Claremont as you can read in this article: http://pasadenaindependent.com/latest_news/relocation-of-banks-millard-sheets-mural-under-discussion/

Rochelle Branch, City of Pasadena's Manager of Cultural Affairs sends us this email: The mural panels were donated to the Millard Sheets Foundation. Tony Sheets, his son and foundation president, has met with members of PCOC who have expressed a serious interest in exhibiting them there. I believe he has committed to trying to work with them. The family sculpture is still in the bank as from what I understand will stay there.

Here is information on the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts (Millard Sheets Foundation in the above email): http://www.lacountyfair.com/fp/foundations/millardsheets/index.asp

End of update: We have lost some very significant Pasadena-specific public art due to unbridled capitalism, again. Perhaps we should exercise our economic muscle and move our accounts to a local credit union, as we have been advised by many financial experts.

We were alerted that Chase Bank at Lake and Colorado, located in what was Washington Mutual, who inherited art works commissioned by the Ahmanson Corporation, the owners of Home Savings which was originally located at this site, were about to do something nefarious to the Millard Sheets mural panels depicting the Pasadena Tournament of Roses around 1890, located on the walls behind the teller area.

Rochelle Branch, of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Office was alerted to this by an observant Pasadena Library employee, Catherine Haskett-Hany (here from another blogpost: Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also).

You can read about the Home Savings artwork and contribute to its saving by going to this blog, The Home Savings bank art project:


For those of you who do not know Millard Sheets, he was one of the preeminent local artists of the 20th century and his work is all over the country, including a number of murals in public places.

At the moment, Chase has put the mural behind a wall, so it's not very visible except at the ends. This artwork is monumental and is about 15 feet tall and about 100 feet wide. Unfortunately, I have no picture. I wish I would have taken one when it was fully visible! So let that be a lesson to all of us, don't assume what you see today will be there tomorrow!

Apparently, the sculpture, depicting a man, woman and child, was originally on the corner of Lake and Colorado, in the midst of a fountain. The Home Savings building was demolished in the 1990's and replaced by what you see there now.

If you appreciate something let others know, and if it is in any way historic, let the City's Design and Historic Preservation Department know so we can keep an eye on it and also inform the owners of its value to our community.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tonight, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010 - Art Deco Landmark Designation Hearing

Hearing tonight at the Historic Preservation Commission in regards to the landmark designation application for the Art Deco style garage building on the NW corner of Rutan and Washington Blvd., 731 E. Washington Blvd., in the North Lake Specfic Plan Area, site visit at 4:45 pm., Historic Preservation Commission meeting at Planning, 175 N. Garfield, Hale Bldg., 6:00 p.m.
This building was originally a drive-in corner market, designed by local architect Glen Elwood Smith, who worked with Myron Hunt, and designed a number of significant local structures such as the Masonic Lodge located at 17 South Sierra Madre Blvd.
731 E. Washington is landmark eligible being a largely intact locally significant auto-related building in the rather rare Art Deco Zigzag style, an architectural style which has not survived very widely in Pasadena. This potential landmark property is prominently sited on a corner raised lot located on the busy Washington Blvd. thoroughfare in the historic Lake Washington Village District.
If you would like to support this landmark designation, please call Planner Vicrim Chima at 626 744-6791 or email him at vchima@cityofpasadena.net, as soon as possible, as the meeting is tonight in a few hours and we apologize for the late notice.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Changes Coming Again to Lake and Colorado, the Oak Knoll Shopping District of Old

Exterior view of Lake Avenue Methodist Church on the southeast corner of Colorado Boulevard and Lake Avenue in 1907, looking north on Lake Avenue just south of Colorado Boulevard

Exterior view of Lake Avenue Methodist Church on the southeast corner of Colorado Boulevard and Lake Avenue in 1907, looking south on Lake Avenue from the intersection with Colorado Boulevard. This Mission Revival style church building was demolished about 1927 to make way for the following bank and office building

The Oak Knoll Office and Bank Building as proposed in 1927 in the architectural drawing, to be located on the southeast corner of Colorado Boulevard and Lake Avenue in the Oak Knoll Shopping District

The Oak Knoll Office and Bank Building as built in 1928, only one wing executed, located on the southeast corner of Colorado Boulevard and Lake Avenue in the Oak Knoll Shopping District, later called the South Lake Shopping District, this was the Oak Knoll Branch of the Pacific Southwest Bank, later Security Pacific Bank. Demolished 1974; from Sid Gally: "The caption on a photo in the Star News of March 11, 1974 says,”The six-story structure was uneconomical to maintain and remodel, according to bank officials.”

Here is Sid Gally's piece about this corner:

Past on Parade: Corner in Pasadena has been a busy placeBy Sid Gally, CorrespondentPosted: 10/18/2009 10:11:34 PM PDT The occupancy of the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard has changed as this area of Pasadena has evolved from agriculture to business. The site once held the fruit-drying operation of R. W. Teeple. "Seven hundred tons of peaches and apricots and many tons of prunes, all produced in the Pasadena region, were dried at this plant in the season of 1893," said the Star-News. The fruit was pitted and cut open by hand and placed in wooden trays. The fruited trays were treated with sulphur dioxide fumes in enclosures and then the trays were spread on the ground for the fruit to dry in the sun. Schoolchildren often earned money in the summers by cutting fruit. The Mission-style Lake Avenue Methodist Church opened on the site in 1907. It remained at Lake and Colorado until the 1920s. The building was demolished and the congregation moved east to become the Holliston Avenue Methodist Church. The "new" church was really old, moved stone by stone from Colorado and Marengo. Then in 1928, the Oak Knoll Office and Bank building containing the Oak Knoll branch of the Los Angeles First National Trust & Savings Bank opened for business. The building was designed by architects Marston & Maybury. The Star-News wrote, "The Oak Knoll Bank building, the architecture of which combines the types of Italian Renaissance developed in Florence and on the adjoining plains of Tuscany in the fifteenth century, is a striking and outstanding building of six stories." The bank occupied the entire ground floor and basement. It had a spacious public lobby, a writing room for the ladies, and a desk platform for the officers. "All of the banking screens and counters are of Italian walnut finish, rather than the usual marble found in many banking houses," said the paper. R. W. Caspers, the bank manager, touted the security of the bank, its vaults and its night deposit system. Sound detectors would set off the alarms upon picking up noises of unlawful entry. The bank promoted its investment arm. "It maintains at all times, Mr. Caspers pointed out, a well diversified list of high grade bonds," the newspaper reported. The Bank of America, in a two-story building with outdoor ATMs, occupies the site today. - Sid Gally is a Pasadena Museum of History volunteer.

And here is what is now planned for the corner:
and for the whole story of the proposed development:
We can only hope the final design is worthy of this important corner. The restoration of the Hotel Constance on the southwest corner of Mentor and Colorado in the same block is a wonderful thing. The Hotel Constance was a bookend to the Oak Knoll Office and Bank Building and now we have a chance to put the west bookend back on this block at this prominent Pasadena intersection of Lake and Colorado. Watch for this development coming in the next months to the Design Commission and there will be a chance for public comment. You will have a chance to have your say about what happens on this corner.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Old Glass Sign Enigma at Canterbury Records on Colorado just west of Lake

The Canterbury Record Shop historic projecting sign which we are all familiar with. The enigma of the Colorado Blvd. Canterbury Record Shop: the antique glass mirror facade sign, as seen below. What does it mean and what is it advertising? The design appears to be a "P" inside a stylized lyre. It must be very old. Does Pasadena have the only historic glass mirrored advertising sign left in the West?
The only place I've seen glass mirrored advertising signs is in Europe years ago, in Bavaria and in Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia, but they are mostly gone or badly deteriorated, such as the one pictured below.

The Canterbury Record Shop has been at this general location for a very long time, decades in fact. They took over and expanded in the former See's Candy location which went to the corner of Hudson, when See's Candy moved, I think back in the 1970's. But I don't understand the stylized "P" in what looks like a lyre of this gold mirrored sign. This is a little historic jewel and probably not noticed by most passersby. Hopefully, we can protect it and allow it to survive into the coming years, through all facade improvements of this buildings, for future generations to puzzle about and admire its beauty. Let me know if you've seen it and what you think it is.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lake Washington Village Dance Party 2010 - Crown Rooftop Sign Update August 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century in the heart of the Lake Washington Village! The Crown Sign has been reborn and relit, advertising the "Fred Astaire Dance Center", a wonderful example of adaptive reuse of a historic rooftop figural sign. Now if the sign could only be outlined in neon? One can hope for the future. Keep on dancing and maybe the music will never stop! We really have seen some wonderful improvements in the area; things are looking better all the time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lake Washington Village Dance Party Continues in 2010 - The Crown Sign

The Crown Market located at 1368 North Lake Avenue, just north of Washington Blvd. in the heart of the Lake Washington Village District, did a brisk business from the 1920's through the 1970's in gourmet food, supplying many of the leading hotels and restaurants in Pasadena, as it was known also as the Crown Restaurant Supply Company. The most distinguishing feature of the Crown Market was its huge rooftop neon sign, double sided, in the form of a crown, outlined in neon, and flashing "M E A T S" to passing motorists and pedestrians.

In the intervening years this was the location of a foam, upholstery and fabric supply store, where the sign was painted with "F O A M & F A B R I C" simply on each side and then in more recent time was painted black after the Arthur Murray Dance Studio moved in and now it has become the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. We held our breath to see what would happen to the historic rooftop sign, listed on the City of Pasadena's historic sign inventory, thereby protected from removal or structural alteration.

Take a look at what has happened! Simply amazing! I will publish photos of the present condition very soon. Please check back and see the unexpected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lake Washington Village Night Parade and Street Dance on North Lake Avenue

Wednesday Evening, July 30, 1952
In the auto repair courtyard next to Towne Furniture located at 854 E. Washington

The " Melody Men " Polka Band, apparently a German band from the looks of the alpine caps with feathers! Looking at the city directory of this period, many of the names of residents of the Lake Washington Village area appear to be of German ethnicity. Perhaps this accounts for the popularity of a Polka band, and on television of the time Lawrence Welk, also an ethnic German, had a local popular show featuring Polka music on KTLA which premiered in 1952.

Notice the Scottish Bagpipe Marching Band with drummers followed by horsedrawn carriages. The shops on North Lake just north of Washington are lit up with many neon projecting signs. For a point of reference, the "Maple Shop" recognizable by its maple leaf shaped projecting sign, a furniture store selling Early American Style furniture, was located where "Vorhee's Craftsman Furniture" is now located at 1415 North Lake and the large neon "MEAT" sign in the form of a crown was located on top of "Crown Meats", which is now the "Fred Astaire Dance Studio", located at 1368 North Lake and the historic crown sign is still on top but no longer neon lit. The Lake Washington Village Parade and Street Dance was held on a July summer evening, with these photos being taken from just above 1415 North Lake looking south, with an old Pasadena Fire Department fire engine, horse drawn buggy and other vehicles and marchers, with a large crowd looking on.

Here it looks like the parade has broken up or has yet to start, so I don't have the photos in the correct order. Notice the many children of all ages out on a warm summer night. Also in the background, just north of what is now " Showcase Liquor ", back then " Gerlachs Liquor " http://www.pbase.com/claimsman/image/85584642, is a tent set up in the liquor store parking lot with " SALOON " and a false window and door painted on the front which was apparently a temporary watering hole for this festival. Just north of the tent is Jimmie Hill's " MEAT N' TATERS ". Just north of that is the " ADENA " paint store. A temporary " No Parking " sign is on the ornamental double headed light standard.

Here we have a horse and buggy, a small mini bus and antique turn-of-the-century cars coming up the middle of North Lake Avenue from Washington.

An antique Pasadena Fire Department Fire Engine is leading a large truck, looks like a horse transporter, and the crowds are converging around behind, so this may be the end of the parade. Two men in top hats and period dress, one with a walking stick, are strolling down Lake Avenue behind the parade watching crowd. You can be sure that the local politicians were in the parade!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have such an evening parade and street dance in the Lake Washington Village sometime in the near future?! The merchants in the Lake Washington Village also had " Moonlight Madness " sales late at night every season to promote shopping in the local area. And of course there were Halloween decorations in October and street holiday decorations in December. Certainly, the tasteful neon projecting signs add to the street scene. The Crown " Meat " sign is a protected historic sign, and the reinstallation of the decorative neon would be an attractive and interesting reintroduction to brighten up the Lake Washington Village at night. Does anyone remember any of these businesses or spending time in the Lake Washington Village?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Washington Theatre Presents - All Quiet on the Western Front

Time to escape to the coolness of the Washington Theatre's 900 seat auditorium. I'm looking forward to seeing the Academy Award winning "All Quiet on the Western Front" tonight, Wednesday, April 1, 1931! At least it won't be too hard to come up with the admission price of a quarter.

It's a very varied program this month, including the Laurel & Hardy "Another Fine Mess", which sounds like my life story!
The " Washington Theatre " , Washington at Lake Avenue, Phone STerling 0140, Adults 25c , Children 10c Both Matinee and Evening, Continuous every day, doors open 1:45, Shows 2:15, 4:30, 6:45 and 9:00 p.m., Program subject to change without notice, Changes only made when beyond our control, We now have deaf sets for people who are hard of hearing. No extra charge for this service. All pictures are reproduced with the latest improved Western Electric System in Pasadena.
See you there! (Hopefully, sometime in our lifetime!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Save the Natural Beauty of Devil's Lake - Hahamongna

Devil's Lake, 1922 - Now known as Hahamongna
At a soon upcoming hearing of Pasadena's City Council, the fate of the Devil's Gate Dam Reservoir, now known by the Tongva name of Hahamongna, will be discussed again with the inadvisable possibility of adding soccer fields to this wild area. Please join with us to keep Hahamongna a wild place for present and future generations to enjoy, without any incursions of civilization. Those of us who enjoy this space, along with the abundant wildlife, will thank you for your support in saving this wild, beautiful, verdant space.
We have been advised by the local water authority, Pasadena Water and Power, that the Devil's Gate Dam has been seismically upgraded and the only reason water is not being held back during the rainy season, as it was from the building of the dam in 1920 up until the Sylmar earthquake of 1971, is that the Los Angeles County Flood Control District has not given their approval. Our local officials should pursue obtaining LACFCD's approval to catch the runoff during our rainy season and replenish our groundwater more effectively.
Here is a link with historic photos of the Devil's Gate Dam and when it was being fully used, from the Arroyo Seco Foundation: http://www.arroyoseco.org/DGDam.htm
For others participating in the Great Save Hahamongna Blog Day, visit these great local blogs:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The Artists' Guild Building" - 1432-1456 N. Foothill Blvd.

The Artists' Guild Building contained the Winfield Art Pottery School of Clay Working and the El Padre Inn, which was a popular location for dining and dancing from the 1920's through at least 1936 (when the Angeles Crest Highway was opened and the Mount Wilson Toll Road was closed to traffic), as the Spanish mission style building was a destination for locals and tourist alike with its beautiful siting on Eaton Creek and the Eaton Arroyo along with being located on North Foothill (also called Santa Anita Drive), now Altadena Drive, on the only roadway to Mount Wilson, with the Mount Wilson Toll Road entrance being up what is now Altadena Drive above the Eaton Canyon Nature Center and where is still the beginning of the Mount Wilson Toll Road Path which winds up the mountain to Henniger Flats and beyond.

The Pasadena Jewish Temple bought the property in 1942 and converted the Mission-style building into a Jewish Synagogue, although much of the old Artists' Guild Building still remains, the curving front driveway and planted open space in the front has been converted to an asphalt parking lot.

We hope the Pasadena Jewish Temple congregation will continue to preserve this historic building associated with Pasadena and Altadena history for future generations to visit and admire, our own local "Mission of the Padres" and another local architectural gem.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Phelps-Terkel Red House Clothiers South Lake Avenue - 1949

As we know, many old houses have been used for businesses along Lake Avenue, some of which still exist. Here is Phelps-Terkel Clothiers "Red House" which was in business since 1923 and had this pictured facelift in 1949. Phelps-Terkel on South Lake is long gone, but we do see remnants of the same type of establishments still functioning in the area, up and down Lake Avenue.
Just north of Wolfe Burgers on North Lake we have an old bungalow which is still holding on with two different hair dressers. Just east of Lake on Union we have a fabulous Craftsman style bungalow which has just been restored right next to the Union 76 gas station. And on Boston Court, just east of Lake, we have two different Craftsman style bungalows on both sides of the street, both hair dressers.
Yes, Pasadena has a history of adatively reusing its charming bungalows, and the City is still full of them. Let's hope we can keep many of these little jewels and not lose them to overdevelopment, as they are part of what makes Pasadena such an interesting place to live.

Thursday, April 15, 2010












As of Monday night, April 12, 2010, the Washington Theatre, located in Lake Washington Village, is now an official Pasadena landmark, having been designated such by the Pasadena City Council, and this has been a long time coming. Here are photos of the interior from a long ago tour by the City assessing the remains of the archaeology of the once proud entertainment venue.
Here from Altadena historian Michele Zack, her letter to the Editor of the Pasadena Star News:
How about a "Walk-To" cinema?
In reading of the hopes the Washington Theater complex's renovation and possible landmark status are inspiring, I must question the premise that reviving its use as a theater is all but impossible. My goodness, we did have cars way back in the 1950s and 1960s when I was a regular attendee and the theater was flourishing.
What has changed so very much since then? Well, let's see. . . besides becoming fatter and losing much neighborhood commercial vibrancy, we seem to have developed fear of walking as a transportation mode. I don't know if this condition is related to hardening of the zoning arteries — but I do see a possible cure.
If city planners could become more nimble in responding to community needs, instead relying so much on thousands of pages that tell us what we CANNOT possibly do, they could creatively encourage many beneficial outcomes. Things like increased walkability and sense of place, and the renewal of vibrant commercial nodes outside the center to reduce car tripsThere are literally thousands of people living within a 10-minute stroll of Washington Theater!
People who would welcome the chance to avoid the parking basement horror of the Plaza Pasadena when all they want is to see a movie. And what about the thousands more who could hop a bus up or down Lake Avenue?
As a child, I regularly walked to the Washington Theater from Holliston Avenue to see matinees, and my family had two cars. At night my parents joined me and our pedestrian commute was closer to 20-25 minutes (they were kind of slow.)
We have Bungalow Heaven, Historic Highlands, and all the other people living to the west, north and south who could be encouraged to take in a movie and perhaps patronise a local restaurant or other business.
Actively encouraging the use the Washington Theater as a cultural anchor would lure people out of their armchairs, make our neighborhoods more people-friendly and vibrant — as well as spur economic development and fuel conservation.Pasadena Planners don't have far to look for examples (including some within their own city).
Eagle Rock Boulevard became cool when that city thought out-of-the- box in terms of parking. Other areas within Los Angeles have applied "creative zoning" to reach specific results.
If we want to transform neigborhoods and achieve agreed-upon benefits, we must stop parking from being the perrenial obstacle before which we throw up our arms and admit defeat.
Michele Zack

And here from PSN Editor Larry Wilson's column:

Larry Wilson: We insist on parking beneath the marquee
Posted: 04/08/2010 05:06:20 PM PDT

Larry Wilson's Public Eye blog
More columns

Few people who recall when north-central Pasadena's Washington Theater was a silent-flick venue featuring vaudeville-style variety are still around.
But lots of us who enjoyed the literally cheap thrills of the renamed Cinema 21 in the 1960s and `70s still are.

By the time I started going there with my crowd from Eliot Junior High School, it was a second-run house offering the best deal in town: 50 cents for a double feature. Teens packed the place, not overly stringent about checking IDs, every Friday night for years for great ones like "The Wild Bunch" just a few months after they played at the expensive spreads down on Colorado Boulevard.

There were nights when there was not an adult in the place. The smoke from countless Marlboro reds filled the auditorium. Fun was had.

Years ago, I mentioned in this space a night when at least one adult was in the house. The feature was Zefferelli's "Romeo and Juliet," starring the comely Olivia Hussey. Because we had to pretend we didn't find Shakespeare's tragic love story affecting, kids were tittering at the loud sobs coming from one girl sitting up front. Apparently, her father had accompanied her. He stood up, turned around to face us, and called out in the dark, "Have you no feelings?"

The business and the neighborhood changed. For a time the theater became the Cinema Veinte y Uno, showing only Spanish-language flicks, before it closed entirely. It last hit our news pages when Rolls Royce-driving former owners from San Diego didn't take much care of the apartments above, drawing the ire of city inspectors.

I agree with Pasadena Heritage - the 1925 building should get landmark protection, which will help with taxes and restoration. I understand the pickle the new owners are in - movie-going habits have changed in a Netflix age. Restoring the theater part of the building would be a big gamble.

But I really hear the words of Altadena and Sierra Madre historian Michele Zack, who grew up just east of the theater and used to walk there, with friends and family, all the time. Like me, she cringed when reading assertions that the place "needs" its own dedicated parking.

"My goodness, we did have cars way back in the 1950s and 1960s when I was a regular attendee, and the theater was flourishing," Zack writes. "What has changed so very much since then? Well, let's see. . . besides becoming fatter and losing much neighborhood commercial vibrancy, we seem to have developed fear of walking as a transportation mode. . . . If city planners could become more nimble in responding to community needs, instead of relying so much on thousands of pages that tell us what we CANNOT possibly do, they could creatively encourage many beneficial outcomes. Things like increased walkability and sense of place, and the renewal of vibrant commercial nodes outside the center to reduce car trips. There are literally thousands of people living within a 10-minute stroll of the Washington Theater!"
So we hope and pray the Washington Theatre will be saved and restored. It's the most important historical, cultural and entertainment venue on Avenue to the Sky and Lake Washington Village. Please focus your best will and intentions on this location and support the owners' and community's efforts to bring back this much loved attraction to Avenue to the Sky!
See you at opening night! Black tie formal dress required! Look for the marquee announcement and the revolving searchlights in front lighting up the Lake Washington Village sky.
What movie should be booked for opening night? Let's hear some suggestions!