Pictured: The bird is the word at Debs Park

Over the weekend, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society got together for a promotion of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which is crowdsourcing data about bird migrations and habitats. The Pasadena chapter of the Audubon Society checked in at Debs Park in Highland Park to count birds and glean information about the avian residents of the Arroyo Seco.
It was a birder’s binoculared love-fest and an opportunity for backyard researchers who are interested in finding out more about several species, including the California quail, Allen’s hummingbird, Nuttall’s woodpecker, the oak titmouse, the wrentit, the California thrasher, the yellow warbler and the spotted towhee.
Staff photographer Mike Mullen was at Debs Park, too, and caught the cool shot at the top. I call it “Out on a Limb.”
(Photos by Mike Mullen / Staff)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed ‘La Miniatura’ house still on the market and coming down in price



CurbedLA notes a price change on Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic “La Miniatura” house, built in 1923 into a ravine above the Arroyo Seco.

It’s been on the market for more than a year, starting back then with a selling price of $7.733 million. Now the listing is down to $5.59 million, CurbedLA reports.

The home’s owner David Zander (that’s him at top) talked to the Star-News in July 2008, following a multimillion-dollar restoration and just after he first put the property up for sale. From the archives, reporter Janette Williams wrote:

… it’s not for everyone.

Lloyd Wright’s buildings are known for being less than watertight, and the building materials and techniques don’t always
stand up well to climatic wear and tear.

The architect pushed the design technology and materials beyond his time, Zander said.

“That’s why many of his houses leak. I think that the house will leak forever – it just wants to, but it varies from
time to time and place to place. The house has a mind of its own.”

The restoration has put “La Miniatura” in very good condition, (Wim) de Wit, (architectural curator of the J. Paul
Getty Research Center) said, but agreed it will always need a lot of upkeep.

“It needs someone who appreciates architecture and will have patience,
who enjoys the spatial quality relating architecture
and nature,” he said. “It really needs to be lived in … not to be a

(Below are some photos from a July 2008 photo shoot by photographer Walt Mancini.)


Photo finish: Revisiting the historic Octagon house, formerly of Pasadena



The Times’ Sam Watters, in his Lost L.A. column, digs into the “multidimensional” history of the famed Octagon house:


“Along the Arroyo Seco Parkway from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena is
a collection of 19th century buildings saved from L.A.’s busy wrecking
ball. At Heritage Square, which isn’t a square, you’ll find a house
that isn’t a rectangle. It’s an octagon, built for a family in Pasadena.”

It was built in 1893 by Gilbert Longfellow (and, actually, was not his first construction of an eight-sided home) who ran a family farm that was later taken up and expanded by his son.

After falling into disrepair, the building was moved from Pasadena in 1986 to Heritage Square. In the photo above, the Octagon house is transported down Colorado Boulevard, crossing over Fair Oaks, on Aug. 11, 1986.

It was the second move for the historic structure, which had been relocated the first time in 1917 “to a city lot about a mile north of the farm on Allen Avenue,” according to the Heritage Square Museum Web site.

Writes Watters:

“At the time of the final move, Pasadena Heritage argued that the
Longfellow house should remain in the city of its origin. But the horse
was already out of the octagon; Longfellow’s house should never have
been moved in the first place from the original location on San Pasqual.”

In the color photos above, a renovations specialist puts some finishing touches on the house, 10 years after it was moved to Heritage Square.

You can visit the Octagon house, and many other historic structures, at Heritage Square, 3800 Homer Street, Los Angeles, along the Pasadena Freeway, just north of Dodger Stadium and downtown.

Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and most holiday Mondays from 12-5 p.m. From Nov. to March, hours are 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Guided tours of most of the structures depart hourly, from 12-3 p.m., from the Palms Depot. No admittance after the final tour has departed.

Adults, $10; Seniors, $8; Children, 6 to 12, $5. (323) 225-2700

(File photos)