Monday, December 16, 2013

John and Elizabeth Howard's Ranch, Howard Place, near North Lake Avenue in the 1880's

John and Elizabeth Howard had a large ranch stretching from Lake Avenue north of Washington Street   all the way to Los Robles and as far north as Woodbury.  Their house was located on Howard Place, now Howard Avenue, near North Lake Avenue according to the city directory of 1888.

Elizabeth (originally Cherry) and Howard (originally Dakota) Streets were named for Elizabeth and John Howard.

Here are some interesting photos from the Pasadena History Digital Collaboration of Howard Avenue west of North Lake Avenue in the 1940's, showing a median strip with palm trees in the middle of Howard Avenue.  

Howard Avenue was really quite grand back in 1942......   I wonder if the Howard's ranch house still was standing at this time.  More research will be required to find out the answer.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Johnny's Sports Shop, 1402 N. Lincoln Avenue, Since 1958

 One of our treasures in Pasadena, definitely the Pasadena many of us remember from years ago.

At one time, there was a large Japanese community in Pasadena in this area.  Here is a link to the history:


The interior of Johnny's looks just like the 1950's.  The family owns the NE corner of Lincoln and Washington where they formally operated a Japanese food market and also several bungalows surrounding Johnny's.

Johnny's is one of the few places you can get your rod and reel repaired and their reel rewinding apparatus is something to be seen.

Around the corner is the Pasadena Buddhist Temple and the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute is down Lincoln, not far away.

A few doors away is another defunct Japanese food market on North Lincoln; the former Futaba Food Center is just up the way from Johnny's:
It's an ever changing world:
Here an article from Pasadena Now about Johnny's:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bullock's Department Store, Present Condition as Macy's Department Store (July 2013), Oak Knoll Shopping District, South Lake Avenue

So many of us lament about what isn't here anymore....  There are an amazing amount of remnants of the Lost World our early years.  And much of it is here in Pasadena.

Here the children's barber shop inside Bullock's on South Lake Avenue.
Virtually unchanged since the 1950's and still open for business...

Another view; notice the cheery color scheme and the attention to detail.....

What kid wouldn't like to have their hair cut here?

The World Map Ceiling Mural from the Children's Department.......

With an outstanding Art Deco light fixture, original to the design....

Display spaces in the form of cruise ship portals in the Children's Department with the barber shop just beyond........

A beautiful staircase going down to the Lost World, but very much in existence in Our Present Day World......

A wonderful artistic tapestry by a famous artist, however edited back in the day to remove female nudity!  Notice the left edge is folded over to hide the offending female....  This was required back in 1940.........

The vintage elevator bank with etched mirrors over the elevator doors.......

The Cosmetics Department with original mural on the walls, just adjacent to the Men's Department...

Part of the nautical theme of this part of the Men's Department......

The vintage mural in naive style showing the Baldwin Ranch with many details, including the original location of the Arcadia train station.......

Another delightful stairwell.......

The Ceramics and Glass Department.....Still the abode of Lladro and Lalique.......

Our founder, Mr. Bullock......

An original architectural rendering of our mercantile palace, done in the luxurious cruise ship Moderne Style, reminding one of the Normandie or the Queen Mary......

Our founder including a model of an original Bullock's delivery wagon.......

Bullock's store executives along with our founder, Mr. Bullock.  Is there such a spot in Selfridge's Department Store in London today?

Selfridge's on Oxford Street in London is a survivor similar to Bullock's (Macy's) Pasadena.....

A close-up view of the architectural rendering of our architectural mercantile palace.

I think we better spend some money here every once in a while, and not completely depend on our wealthy San Marino neighbors to keep this ship afloat.  I did write to Macy's in New York and to the local manager here about reopening the Bullock's Tea Room with fashion shows, but they've been non committal about promising to comply

I made the case that they need some events here to drive regional business to them and I hope they will listen.  Let us start a writing campaign to convince Macy's to get the Tea Room open and have events.  That should liven up this vintage cruise ship, which if we are complacent will end up sailing on to the rocks, capsize and go under.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE BOOK ENDS, 2704 North Fair Oaks, Lost and Found Altadena

Once upon a time there was a book shop at the top of Fair Oaks Avenue.  It was called the Book Ends and inhabited a beautiful little cottage, Hollywood Regency in style, elegant as old Altadena was.

The address was 2704 North Fair Oaks Avenue, a place for book browsers as nice as could be found in Claremont or Carmel.  These days the old book shop quarters house what looks to be a pre-school, so the little cottage still houses a place of learning.

Here from the back of the book cover one sees the other businesses which were located at the top of Fair Oaks Avenue.  Real estate, beauty salon and garden shop.

All what we could still use today.  With a little work and restoration, this stretch of North Fair Oaks Avenue could be as elegant as it once was, although it looks fairly nice even in its present state.

Here the Book Ends Hollywood Regency cottage today, although quite hidden by shrubbery, it appears in good repair.

Another shot, this one showing the interesting architectural gem just to the north.

And a shot of the Hollywood Regency mansion on the SW corner of Mariposa and Fair Oaks, alluded to in the previous shot.

This may have been built by the same designer at the Book Ends cottage.

Quite an ensemble, the two structures, don't you think?

Here 2648 North Fair Oaks, former home to the Mariposa Garden Shop.  You probably know that Mariposa is butterfly in Spanish, but our Mariposa was named after Mariposa County in Northern California.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a garden shop here, as A.R. Verdier had back in the 1930's, which was open seven days a week, as posted in their ad?

And here is the site of Syd Winn's Beauty Salon, specializing in permanents, hair tinting, hair cutting according to his advertisement.

Now the site of the Little Red Hen Coffee Shop, and usually has the owner's Rolls Royce parked in front.  He drove it away just as I was taking this picture.  We'll have to go back for breakfast some time; this place looks more inviting than Syd Winn's Beauty Salon.

Does anyone have any memories of this area?  Please leave a comment about what you remember!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Do You Miss the Marcell Inn? Try Julienne's Restaurant, Lake Avenue Adjacent!

Do you lament the passing of the Marcell Inn at the top of Lincoln Avenue?  Do not despair.  The spirit of Marcell lives on Mission Avenue between El Molino and Oak Knoll, the southerly extension of South Lake Avenue.  They are only open for breakfast and lunch and are well attended.  The spirit of a French inn is carried throughout, supplies pour le Picnic sur le Weekend are available, bakery with delectables, delicatessen with superb delicacies, and French gift items from jams to wines.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This was found behind the 1950's facade of the retail bays being renovated along Colorado Blvd.!

The retail bays are being restored and renovated to their 1920's appearance as part of the Hotel Constance restoration project, located on Colorado Blvd. from Mentor west to the Bank of America parking lot, with the most westerly bay being demolished, it being not of the same vintage as the rest. 

Under the 1950's facade covering we see an ancient king or philosopher in bas relief.  Could there be more of these allegorical figures under the blank and featureless newer facade?  Stay tuned!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Marcell Inn - The Signs

Still hoping to get one of these great signs.

Apparently, when prohibition ended in 1933, the Marcell Inn's popularity as an isolated speakeasy located in laxly patrolled by the L.A. County Sheriff dropped off, the isolated location became a liability and Marcell took to placing these signs on the more frequented highways and bi-ways in neighboring Pasadena and on North Foothill Blvd. which is now Altadena Drive.  Marcell wanted to make his place a watering hole and bookie joint for the horse racing crowd centered at the 1933 newly built and licensed for betting Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, horse racing had been illegal in California since 1909 and was allowed in 1933 once again, so exciting illicit behavior supported by the mob changed from rum running to illegal gambling in the back rooms of the former speakeasys of the area.  The mob had to make money some way now that alcohol was once again legal.  A searchlight was mounted on a tower at the Marcell Inn to help late night gamblers find the joint up at the top of Lincoln from the adjacent North Foothill Blvd., which in those days was well traveled by all those heading to points north.  Seems Marcell didn't do too well with the gambling and dealings with the mob so he sold his joint to the Mount Lowe Military Academy in 1937 and the rest is history.

I am looking forward to getting one of these signs, as I plan to make my house a museum when I'm gone anyway.  Just have to save up the endowment; I'm working on that now!  I want to emulate, on a very, very small scale, W.R. Hearst, J.P. Getty and H. Huntington, leaving something for future generations.  You'll have to have reservations, like the Getty Malibu, and be bussed to the site in a small minibus, since there will be no parking on site.  Well, we can dream, can't we? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Marcell Inn, from the book: CURIOUS CALIFORNIA CUSTOMS, 1935

Just recently I received notice that signs from the Marcell Inn in Altadena have been found in an old Altadena barn. I'm still waiting to see pictures from that marvelous find and hope these artifacts of Altadena history will be preserved.  More on the Marcell Inn here:

Going through all my historical materials recently, I came across this article I wanted to share with you: 
From the book:  CURIOUS CALIFORNIA CUSTOMS, By Elisabeth Webb Herrick, Pacific Carbon and Printing Company, Los Angeles, California 1935

Marcell Inn, Los Angeles, California

This historic and popular old dining room is one of the high spots of our culinary tour, Lucullus himself would have been delighted to make it his permanent hangout.  Situated at 2900 Lincoln Avenue, Altadena, in an old garden, it is a monument to the epicurean tastes of those enlightened souls who have discovered it and kept it up.

All during those dark days of prohibition, it struggled along, goodness knows how because any good cook will tell you that it is utterly impossible to turn out anything fit to eat without wine to flavor the sauces, and any epicure will tell you how much alcoholic stimulants have to do with the enjoyment of the delicate nuances in viands.  But they're happy now at the Inn and they'll be glad to promote you to a state of exhilaration also, if you'll just give them the opportunity.

Their $2.50 dinner is something to conjure with!  If you are dieting, call up the masseuse and make a date for early next morning, but don't we beg of you, pass up any of their courses!  It would be an insult to the chef and a slight to the house which no amount of explanation could overcome.

The cherubic George Rector and Henri Charpentier used to do this sort of thing with air, but they couldn't possibly surpass the sweet breads saute sec.  Diamond Jim Brady, five stomachs and all, would have hailed their chicken with the reverence he felt for such artistic triumphs, and would have heralded their salads from the housetops.

There is an orchestra and dancing - talk about gilding the lily!  Inasmuch as your true gourmet never under any circumstances takes a sweet after dining, it is a very gracious gesture on the part of the management to feature such tantalizing delicacies for dessert as their special pudding, real Italian spumoni ice cream and petit fours.  By the time this course is reached, you are shrugging off the possibility of extra poundage anyhow, so you might as well go ahead and partake.  After one of these dinners, served with all the elegance of the Nineties, it is very easy to understand the fashionable figures of the day.  No wonder Lillian Russell had nothing left but her famous chiseled profile when we got around to see her!  Just be grateful that you were lucky enough to find out about this place, and remember there are no luncheons but the doors are open about 6:00 p.m., Sundays earlier.

I truly miss Michael's with its miniature golf and the Marcell Inn with its beautiful gardens.  I will continue to advocate for dining establishments with ambiance in Altadena and Pasadena along and adjacent to Lake Avenue.  Just recently I was taken to Julienne's in San Marino for lunch.  The spirit of the Marcell Inn lives on not too far from our North Pasadena abode.  What a pleasant suprise!  The ghost of Marcell sat with me for lunch.  This place is magical! Don't fail to try it:  Julienne Restaurant, 2649 Mission Street, San Marino, California.  (And thank you to my muse, who took me to this gem, and didn't let me pine only for all things lost, but let me rejoice in things found....)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Market Basket, a Pasadena institution since 1930, two locations on North Lake Avenue

Once upon a time there was a local Pasadena supermarket chain called Market Basket.....

Market Basket News, Volume 1, Number 3, March 1949
 Store Number 1, Old Number 1, was located at Colorado and Meredith in 1930 

 New Store Number 1, located at the middle of the block of Colorado between Bonnie and Meridith on Colorado, was opened the evening of February 17, 1934, just a few doors away from Old Number 1.  Now the 99 Cents Only Store occupies the space at 1720 E. Colorado.
 Here a closer view of Old Number 1 located on the SE corner of Colorado and Meridith, just a little to the east of the New Number 1.
 Here a picture of the interior of Old Number 1 in April, 1930
 Why the customers love their local Market Basket!
Market Basket was a local Pasadena chain of markets which existed up into at least the 1980's, as the Food 4 Less located in Lake Washington Village was originally named Market Basket, after the Kroger Company acquired the rights to the name and built what was called at first in 1986 the North Lake Market Basket Center.  A year or two later, Kroger renamed the Market Basket store and the center the Food 4 Less supermarket and center and changed the marketing concept.  It's been rather downhill since then.....

Across the street at 1260 North Lake, where Big Lots is now located, was our historic Market Basket, going out of business in the late 1970's, with the building becoming Continental Catering until it became Pic 'n' Save in the 1980's, later with a name change to Big Lots in 2002.

Here is a picture of the 1260 North Lake Market Basket in the early 1950's, when the Space Patrol rocket showed up during a promotion for Rice Chex breakfast cereal.
Here is some more information about the Market Basket chain and part of our lost heritage of a local business which disappeared:

As of 1959, these Market Basket locations are listed in the Pasadena area:
2270 N. Lake Avenue, Altadena
2502 N. Fair Oaks, Altadena
1160 N. Fair Oaks, Pasadena
40 N. Santa Anita, Pasadena
1859 E. Washington, Pasadena
1280 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena

We've come a long way.......  Our other local institution, Pronto Market aka Trader Joe's is not bad, though!

Leon Rick's photo of the Market Basket on North Lake Avenue in Altadena about 1960 (I can see a 1957 Ford in the picture).  His photo collection was recently shown by the Altadena Historical Society at the Altadena Community Center.....Of course, Ralphs has removed the famous basket sign..............