Friday, January 21, 2011

Lake Pasadena Adjacent - The View from Linda Vista Avenue in the 1920's

The View from Linda Vista Avenue, Circa 1929, attributed to Orrin A. White, Oil on Board, Courtesy of the Armitrading Foundation

As promised, here is another oil painting in the collection, looking north on Linda Vista Avenue towards Lake Pasadena and the San Gabriels with what I believe is Orrin White's house, located now at 1860 Linda Vista Avenue.
The above oil painting featuring the Flintridge Biltmore Hotel Hill and the San Gabriel Mountain peaks was possibly painted by Orrin A. White, a local Arroyo painter who lived just below the hotel at what was then 1205 Linda Vista Road in a Spanish Hacienda designed by noted local architect Garret Van Pelt. The artist's signature may be hidden by the frame, which I have not yet removed from the painting, but the style seems to be similar to White's and the structure featured seems to he his house, at least this is the oldest remaining house in the area, built in 1921.,-pasadena,-ca_rb/
Over the years, as an area is built up, addresses change to reflect the growing number of individual lots. In 1921, this area was relatively sparsely populated, and White's house was on a curve on the western edge of the Arroyo, giving him a commanding view north to the mountains and south of the Arroyo.
At one time, Linda Vista Avenue was proposed to be part of a major north south boulevard, the "Proposed Boulevard from the Mountains to the Sea" (Plan of the Los Angeles Park Commission, 1912). More on that in the future.


  1. Fascinating as always, Thal. It's a lovely painting, too.

  2. Hi Alex and Petrea,
    I was just up at the Flintridge Biltmore on Sunday, as a friend just bought a new Aston Martin (a big suprise)and we took a short ride. The views were stunning, just follow the Sacred Academy signs to the top.

  3. Where do you find these lovely paintings? I'd like to collect ones that depict local scenes like this. Thanks for the interesting history about the house and Linda Vista.

  4. Hi Bellis,
    I've been collecting historic paintings and prints of the local area for about 30 years, and I have a lot more to share in the future here. I'm amazed at the beautiful historical scenes which have been captured by artists of the local mountains, the Arroyo and other local scenic points. My picture collection starts out around 1893 and goes through the 1950's, although I have some engravings in books and pamphlets going back much further , such as the 1876 travelogue of Ludwig Salvator (1847-1915), Archduke of Austria, who was the son of the Duke of Tuscany. Raised in Florence and Rome, Archduke Ludwig had already published several German-language travel books when he visited Los Angeles in the winter of 1876, not long after the city was linked directly by rail to the East. Los Angeles in the sunny seventies (1929) is an English translation of the archduke's account of that visit, published in German in 1878 (which I have). It is organized to guide prospective emigrants considering the region as a place of settlement. Topics include climate, demographic patterns, agriculture, cattle-raising, industry, rail and steamship routes and postal service, and housing, as well as a brief history of the region and the problems of Chinese and Native American residents. The book closes with statistic-laden descriptions of visits to the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Monica, and Wilmington.
    I will post more on these subjects.

  5. I imagine you've got a hell of a collection, Thal.

  6. Yes, Petrea, all I need to do is take pictures and scan, as appropriate, and I can share it with all of you. Small matter of having time.... My favorite engraving from the 1878 Salvator book is of " La Piedra Gorda ", Fat Rock, the Spanish name for what we know now as " Eagle Rock ." Here from Eagle Rock Patch:

  7. first generation arroyo seco plein air painters. movie about it at san marino library. artist alexander calder spent part of his early childhood on linda vista.

  8. Hi PA,
    Will have to see that movie at the San Marino Library and also look up Alexander Calder. Amazing how often the Arroyo has been painted, even now. Really a beautiful place!

  9. Here from Wikipedia: Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor and artist most famous for inventing the mobile. In addition to mobile and stabile sculpture, Alexander Calder also created paintings, lithographs, toys, tapestry, jewelry and household objects...the Calder family moved to Pasadena, California. The windowed cellar of the family home became Calder's first studio and he received his first set of tools. He used scraps of copper wire that he found in the streets to make jewelry and beads for his sister’s dolls. On January 1, 1907, Calder’s mother took him to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, where he observed a four-horse-chariot race. This style of event later became the finale of Calder’s wire circus shows.[5]

    In 1909, when Calder was in the fourth grade, he sculpted a dog and a duck out of sheet brass as Christmas gifts for his parents. The sculptures were three dimensional and the duck was kinetic because it rocked when gently tapped. These sculptures are frequently cited as early examples of Calder’s skill.[6]

  10. It is my understanding that Orrin White lived at 1205 LV until his death. His widow Margaret lived at that address until her death. The property is nearly at the corner of Afton/LV/Salvia Cyn on the west side of LV. *not* directly on the west edge of the canyon (follow Afton east, out to the edge and you'll notice how much real estate there is between the White home and the edge).

    I do not know what the view was from 1205LV in the 1920's, but I do know a number of other properties existed around the same time as your other property you listed (1860LV). Across LV, 5th property down LV from the White home, the keyhole property 1 south of the fire station, a Dr Loeffler (a female physician) practiced out of her home in the 1920's. The 3 properties north of the FS were, up until the 1980's a Jurgenson's store (think Gelson's), before being sold off to a developer to create the 3 monster homes that exist there kitty-corner across LV from the White home. I know that isn't pertinent to the painting listed, but goes to show that there were other structures around that time in existence, making painting from his home, unlikely for this painting.

    The property you list at 1860 may have existed at the time, but was one of many homes along the Arroyo in LV. Along with Dr Loeffler's home, 1066 Charles was built in the early 1920's as well as a number of them along the west edge of what is now the Rose Bowl. I suspect that the view was not FROM Orrin's home, but along the Arroyo. It is well known that he painted from all over the Arroyo and around LV, among the other location.

    the painting does look like one of Orrin's, but until the signature is revealed, you won't know.

  11. Thanks Trish for all the information. I can't quite figure out from what vantage point this view in the painting was taken, but it looks like a road running in front of the structure, and the only house I know in the area that looks anything like this, at this moment in time, is 1860 Linda Vista. As you point out, many changes have happened in this area over the decades.