Friday, January 22, 2010

The Sad Fate of the Pasadena Osteopath Dr. Stewart Fitch Medical Clinic Building

Proposed south elevation on Washington Blvd. showing corner of Los Robles on far left

Washington Blvd. street elevation showing historic neighboring structures

Facing north to the reduced size parking lot

View from Los Robles of the proposed new structure

Street elevations showing the scale, massing and outlines of the neighboring structures

The view from the easterly Queen Anne Victorian and the Washington Bungalow Court
All this, the church's proposed new construction, will be heard at the Design Commission on January 25, 2010, Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Permit Center Conference Room

What is there now on the NE corner of Los Robles and Washington, Pasadena, CA
An excerpt from the City's North Los Robles Corridor historic inventory of the early 1980's

Before the New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church purchased the property in 1989

Deteriorated condition of a historic feature in 2009

Deteriorated historic feature in 2010

Casement windows changed out for aluminum sliders, window blocked up, doors boarded over, condition in 2009

French doors covered over with plywood, condition in 2010

The Sad Fate of the Dr. Stewart Fitch, Doctor of Osteopathy, Medical Clinic Building

Monday night, January 25, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. in the Pasadena Planning Department in a hearing before the Design Commission, the sad fate of the historic Dr. Fitch Medical Clinic will be finally decided and it appears that the 1925 building will be destined for the dust heap and replaced by a modernistic cathedral, ill suited for its historic neighborhood.

The New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church has submitted plans to build a new sanctuary of 9,960 square feet, three stories tall with a height of 40 feet, of modernistic architecture to replace their historic Spanish Colonial Revival style building of 4,141 square feet which they now use and plan to demolish, historic Catalina tiles, historic Batchelder tile fireplaces, and all.

The Dr. Fitch doctor's clinic was built in 1925 as a house, designed by noted local architect H.E. Terrell and built by W.A. Taylor & Son, who was also the builder of the Myron Hunt designed Pasadena Rose Bowl.

The Spanish Colonial Revival style doctor's office, built in a "U" configuration was purchased by the church in 1989 and has been in a state of "demolition by neglect", with boarded up windows and doors and decaying historic features, in the last nearly 21 years.

The Spanish styling is evident in the gabled tile roof and the smooth stucco walls. The front facade (south side) is symmetrical and the building rests above the street with the lot surrounded by a low arroyo stone wall and a high brick wall with a whitewash finish. A series of steps leads up through wooden gates to the front door. The door has narrow side lights and two metal poles mark where the canvas awning belongs. There is a concrete stoop across the front and grouped French doors open on to this area. The building has a rear entry which is marked by a central gabled pergola with a tile roof. There are several stucco-clad chimneys and the building has casement windows. Numerous trees and bushes surround this building, including palms, cypresses and pines. The brick wall surrounds the corner of the lot forming a terraced landscaped area. The gates of the brick wall are distinctive, being formed of dark-stained wooden planks, each arched at the top and having small round holes.

Originally constructed as a house, as eary as 1931 it was utilized as a doctor's office. Dr. Stewart Fitch, a noted Pasadena osteopath, who lived at 1175 N. Los Robles, had his office here for numerous years.

This will all be just a memory soon, and what is proposed to replace it does not seem to fit the historic context of the neighborhood, with an immediately adjacent Queen Anne Victoria style bungalow and a National Register listed bungalow court and the Normandie Heights Landmark District.
Please take a look at the architectural renderings provided by the church and determine whether you think this design fits this prominent corner in our neighborhood. If you don't show up at the Design Commission meeting this Monday evening, January 25, 2010, then by default the church and the architect will say you have no problem with their plans for this modernistic sanctuary in our historic neighborhood. If you absolutely cannot attend the meeting, please send an email to the responsible planner by noon on Monday. His name is Kevin Johnson and his email is Let your voice and opinion be heard.


  1. Greaaat, Info as per the norm!! Were you a history major in college?

    btw, you mite wanna also grab some shots of the Sky/Mtns from Lake Ave at the moment!

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