Party on the platform: A celebration on the Colorado Street Bridge

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If structures in the city play a starring role in the film reel of Pasadena’s life, the Colorado Street Bridge would be its perennial headliner. Once again this year, the roadway will be closed to traffic for a celebration on the iconic concrete archway that spans the Arroyo Seco. Enjoy live music, dancing, antique cars, activities for the kids and plenty of foods and beverages for sale from local vendors.
Tomorrow, July 10, 6-11 p.m., Colorado Street Bridge. Tickets at the gate: adults, $15; children 7 to 11, $7; under 7, free. (626) 441-6333, pasadenaheritage.org
(File photo)

Photos: L.A. Heritage Day at the Heritage Square Museum


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The third annual L.A. Heritage Day was held Sunday at the Heritage Square Museum, nestled along the Pasadena Freeway near the Arroyo Seco.
The day was an opportunity to step inside some of the historic structures now located at the museum. Each has been relocated to Heritage Square to be saved from demolition and to be preserved as a record of Southern California’s early development and architecture.

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UPDATED: Public art in Pasadena: Evaluate or eviscerate?

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**UPDATE: Janette Williams will revisit this issue with a story in the Sunday Star-News. Apparently, the Chase Bank is still remodeling its lobby, and there may be no room for the 50-foot Millard Sheets mural. The city is working to find a solution — or a new home for the work of art. More on Sunday.

What in the name of goodness is going on with the threat to murals/public art in Pasadena?

First, Star-News reporter Janette Williams broke the story about the painting over of a 60-foot, city-funded mural on a Northwest Pasadena storefront. The paint had barely dried on the $2,500 work of art before it was gone.

As if that fiasco wasn’t bad enough, now Thal Armathura over at Avenue to the Sky writes that historic Millard Sheets mural panels — inside what is now a Chase Bank at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard — were nearly painted over also:

“We were alerted that Chase Bank at Lake and Colorado, located in what
was Washington Mutual, who inherited art works commissioned by the
Ahmanson Corporation, the owners of Home Savings which was originally
located at this site, were about to do something nefarious to the
Millard Sheets mural panels depicting the Pasadena Tournament of Roses … located on the walls behind the teller area.”

Thankfully, someone tipped off the Cultural Affairs Division:

“Rochelle Branch, of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Office was alerted to this by an observant Pasadena Library employee, Catherine Haskett-Hany (here from another blogpost: Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also).”

Click on over to Avenue to the Sky for more interesting history and links.

Meanwhile, Petrea Burchard at Pasadena Daily Photo does some investigating at the Hen’s Teeth Square shopping center at Los Robles Avenue and Woodbury Road. And she finds a mural that hasn’t been painted over. It’s not a Millard Sheets masterpiece, but it is lovely, and thank goodness, it’s still there!

On that post, Armathura comments with some more background on the shopping center:

“Hen’s Teeth Square, 2053 – 2057 North Los Robles, Pasadena, designed by architect Theodore Pietsch is a designated Pasadena landmark and is reputed to be the first corner drive-in market shopping center in the country, built in 1930. … Hen’s Teeth Square is a monument to our car culture and the cornerstone of our local historic district. The name Hen’s Teeth Square is original to the development and does reflect the rarity of the time of a corner drive-in shopping center.”

(Photo via DLZ127′s Flickr photostream)

Historic Michael White Adobe under threat of demolition in San Marino

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An L.A. Times piece yesterday examined the undetermined but almost certainly gloomy fate of the Michael White Adobe in San Marino. The structure is unusually situated on the San Marino High School campus, which sprung up around the adobe.

The intro to the Times’ piece gives you an idea what the high-schoolers think — or think not — of the adobe. (Although, if you read through the whole thing, you’ll see that at least a handful do care about preserving its history.)

“Which way to the Michael White Adobe?
‘The what?’
‘Is that, like, a classroom or something?’
‘I have no idea.’”

The 164-year-old adobe has gone without much care or attention by the school and school district. Last year, school officials proposed removing the adobe so that they might expand the swimming pool that, literally, butts up against it.

“It would cost more than $1 million to move the house and roughly the
same to make it fit for campus use, environmental documents show.

“Knocking down the adobe, the only option covered by the school
district’s insurance, comes with a much lower price tag: $176,000. The
school board is expected to decide the house’s fate Oct. 27 and is
taking public comments through (today).”

You can see from the photos taken early this year how the adobe is enmeshed with the campus in a rather awkward way. (Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

RELATED: There will be a story by Janette Williams in tomorrow’s Pasadena Star-News about another historic adobe — this one in Arcadia — that has been crumbling while preservation plans were bogged down for years. The future looks brighter for that structure, the Hugo Reid Adobe, and the push is on to get a restoration underway.

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What’s to become of the former YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan?

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Curbed LA has obtained renderings for a proposal to restore the historic YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan.

The images come on the heels of a Pasadena Weekly story about the growing movement by city officials and preservationists to breathe life back into the vacant Marengo Avenue property.

The renderings are part of a proposal that was designed by Cal Poly architecture student Milad Sarkis for his master’s thesis. Earlier this year, he presented the plan to the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

As part of his plan, the restored facility would also become a new headquarters for Pasadena Water and Power.

The city hasn’t yet settled on any proposal.

With officials and residents mulling future uses for the YWCA building, we decided to dig through our photo archives for images of the 1920 structure.

At top is a photo by Walt Mancini taken in 2006. The image just below it is also from the same photo shoot, after the crumbling N. Marengo structure was put on Pasadena Heritage’s endangered buildings list.

At the time, there were discussions about developing the property into a boutique hotel. Those plans were scrapped.

Third from top is a historical photo, from the J. Allen Hawkins studio, courtesy of the Pasadena Museum of History.

The bottom three are historic images, re-photographed by Sarah Reingewirtz in Dec. 2008, when the Pasadena YWCA celebrated 102 years in the city.

The YWCA sold the historic Julia Morgan
building for $1 million in 1996.

It’s worth weighing in: What would you like to see happen in a restoration of the YWCA building?