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.


  1. A fascinating post, thanks Sid and Thal.

    I hope the new building turns out to be more imaginative than the drawing is. But I guess it won't be any more dull than what's already there. If I sound negative, so be it. Pasadena can do better than a boring office block.

  2. Thanks for all of your post. I live by N. Lake Avenue and E. Claremont Street and love to know about the history and future updates to this area. Can you run a story on the new restaurant that is opening up next to the Montessori school?

  3. I agree with Petrea, the new building looks very unimaginative. Can't architects do better than this nowadays? Pity they can't rebuild that gorgeous mission-revival church.

  4. DaN17CaLI,
    Here is the response I've received to your question from the owner of the property:
    "Thanks for your interest. We finally finished the construction of the cafe'. Now we are focusing on the equipments and then hiring of the employees. It will be called "Next Door Cafe'". I will take pictures and send them to you."
    Stay tuned and I'll post the pictures here when I get them.

  5. Thanks Thal. I cant wait to see pictures inside the cafe. I am not fond of the color in the exterior, hopefully when it is complete it will look more attractive. I'm glad that it will be a cafe; fingers crossed for an awesome breakfast place.

  6. Pasadena may be in the running for the ugliest "civic" skyline. That design is a snooze. The only thing offensive about that design is how inoffensive it is. Come on Pasadena, show some guts when it comes to the future. It's not all about past preservation. Plus the designs you let slip through on residential hillside developments suck. They really do. Mission revival, add water, stir = yuck

  7. Just went by this corner yesterday and saw that the one story storefronts against the Hotel Constance are boarded up. I don't see any effort in the new design to try and match up with the elderly Constance. Soulless watered down modernism. Yet that beautiful church didn't even see two decades before the wrecking ball came calling. People are stupid.