Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Corner in Time

Just because I couldn't find much information about the old Owl Drug Store building online yesterday doesn't mean the information isn't out there. It means I don't get to spend as much time at the library as I'd like to.

But thankfully, other people can. Sometimes I'm lucky and the information comes to me from Pasadenamanians both past and present who are happy to share photos and can't stand it when I come up short. (Thank goodness for them.) Three (count 'em, three) people sent photos for today's post. Let's do a chronology.

Dale Trader sent a bunch of historical shots; the top one is looking south on Fair Oaks across Colorado in 1890. At the top right you can see the dome of the original Victorian building that graced the northwest corner.

This photo, of the same building, is labeled "First National Bank Building NW Corner Fair Oaks and Colorado 1900."

This one was taken in 1910. I think we're looking east from West Colorado Street. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Here's the one Ann Erdman sent from the City's USC digital archives. If this photo was indeed taken in 1926 as its label states ("1926 Colorado Street Post-Parade"); if we're looking west on Colorado Street at Fair Oaks; if the information I had yesterday is correct and the Victorian burned down in 1929; then Owl Drug was in the Victorian at this corner pre-fire.

That might be a run-on sentence. Let's move on.

Here's another from Dale. Taken in 1930, a mere four years after the one above it. We're looking north on Fair Oaks and you can see the square, "Zig Zag Modern" building that replaced the Victorian. Owl Drug still occupies the corner property.

Here--just for fun and because I'm being chronological--is a business map of Colorado and Fair Oaks. Dale sent a larger section and I cropped it so we can look at the corner. This is circa 1950; around this time, post World War II, the neighborhood was already run down.

Dale says, "Another Owl Drug Store was located just east of the Security Bank Building on the SE corner of Marengo and Colorado; when the Plaza Pasadena Mall was built they preserved the facade only and now in the Paseo it is still just a parking entrance false facade. "

Last but certainly not least, a piece de resistance from Terry Griest. You remember Terry: she sent some great photos back when we were studying the Doty Block. She has a treasure trove of Old Town photos from the mid-1980s thanks to a project she did while a student at Cal State Long Beach.
This ought to bring back memories for some of you. Pascal Jim mentioned this shop in his comment yesterday.

This is the building we have today, though it's been considerably spiffed up. I'll get to Old Town asap and see if I can match this position and snap a shot for you.

Thank you Ann, Dale and Terry so much for your contributions today. Even if no one saw this post but me I'd be thrilled to have a fuller understanding of time's progression in this little corner of my world.


J+P said...

Wow! You weren't kidding about this post. Nice piece of assemblage, you.

Cafe Pasadena said...

That 1st pic on top looks awfully familiar. Ahem, I may have posted it myself recently.

Still, good stuff, P. That new camera of yours captures the old stuff great!

Shell Sherree said...

I recognised the first pic straight away from Cafe's place ~ it's such a lovely scene, it lodged in my memory banks. You have been busy, Petrea ~ what a bunch of helpful people you have around!

Petrea said...

It is indeed assemblage only, today--of photos and information sent by those more knowledgeable than myself. What a pleasure to put this together.

You did use it, Cafe. I checked with Dale and he said they're in the public domain. He sent one other I couldn't use--a photo of the Owl Drug where the Gelson's parking lot entrance is now just east of Marengo.

Isn't it the truth, Shell? A lot of people in Pasadena are up on local history and care about it a great deal. We're fortunate to have them here studying and advocating.

Virginia said...

I spied J J Newberry Co. on the map. We had Newberry's here in B'ham. Wonder if they were the same? I'm thinking dime store (5 &10cent store)

And may I say what wonderful readers you have Petrea, for them to go to all that trouble to share these great photos and info with you and all of us!!

altadenahiker said...

Now, I thought there was a schoolhouse on the n/w corner of colorado/fair oaks...

Petrea said...

The Central School was on the SE corner (built in 1878). On the NW corner, built in 1883, was the Los Angeles House. I don't know if that was the original name for the First National Bank building or if that was a more modest building that was replaced by this Victorian pile. I hope someone who checks in will know!

True, Virginia, and I'm grateful. You're one of them, too! J. J. Newberry, good eye.

Katie said...

Awesome to go from the modern photo yesterday to all the wonderful historical ones today, all in the pursuit of info about Owl Drugs! California does have some very interesting history and it's nice that there are lots of people concerned about historical preservation (both in terms of archives and buildings, etc.). More please!!

Laurie said...

Wow, P. This is great stuff. You're going to end up the Jane Apostol of Pasadena history!

Don't you love seeing the past like this? Just great.

Vanda said...

Pasadena has a lot of nice old buildings.

Pascal Jim said...

Dale Trader is to be commended for his interest in all of Pasadena. Dale is attempting to foster interest in a trolley line up North Lake Avenue to Altadena.

I confess, I'm a "juicer", (not that kind) so-called for my dedication to
The Electric Trolley Car, now called "light rail".

My first ride on Dale's trolley line would be payed with a token from the early "Pasadena City Lines". This system later woven into the structure of The Pacific Electric Railway. The largest electric system in the United States.

Bellis said...

They have a Jane Apostol day in South Pasadena, so I'm looking forward to a Petrea Burchard day in Pasadena.

Weren't clothes dull in the old days? And all those hats!

-K- said...

Fascinating. What a change from 1926 to 1930.

Ms M said...

It's so interesting to see photos of a place through time! Seems one of the only constant things in life is change...

Petrea said...

I did receive more today, Katie! I'll have to save them for next week.

Ack! Laurie, if only.

It's the truth, Vanda. I can't deny it.

Pascal Jim, that's a new term for me.

Bellis, why wait? Let's put it on the calendar and celebrate.

Yeah, that wowed me, too, K.

What's the saying, Ms. M? Ah, thank you, Wikipedia. Heraclitus: There is nothing permanent except change.

J+P said...

I noticed what K saw, too. It's like the world lurched toward modernism, along these blocks, in half a decade.

Margaret said...

Love it.

Mike said...

Outstanding shot of Carodin's! To this day I still have a 1960s seersucker coat that I bought there in 1983, right around when that shot was taken. I always think of that place when I stroll past J. Crew; I just couldn't remember the name! I recall a couple of the other "vintage stores" on that end as well. It'd be nice to see more shots from that collection.

Speaking of the Central School, there was another school about where the Pasadena civic center is, which General George S. Patton attended as a youngster. I think it was just south of where Gelson's is.

Petrea said...

Thanks a lot for sharing that, Mike. Memory of the time and place bring the story to life. I've only been in Pasadena four years. When people who've been here longer add their personal details, it really fills in the picture.