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.