Saturday, July 11, 2009


If you're looking for something to do on a Saturday (and you're checking in here early, before 8:30 a.m.), head on down to Lower Arroyo Park and let the Pasadena Roving Archers show you a thing or two.

You're going to be shooting arrows, so there are requirements. Like minimum age 10 years, proper attire (a t-shirt would work), tie your hair back (because ouch! you don't want it getting caught in the bow, I remember that from high school), and bring some water (it gets hot down there). Read all the requirements here.

What is not required: money. Beginning classes are free of charge.

I met three Roving Archers in the Arroyo last week; pictured here is Robert Storts, retrieving his arrows. Ernie Lateer and Ramon Oceguera are two more of the expert archers you'll meet, and they were friendly (and really, really good shots). You can stop by and speak with members and/or club officers on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

The archers rove throughout the southwest side of Lower Arroyo Park, where you'll see different targets peering out from the brush. It's a case for keeping that other Rover on a leash.

Update: While we're on the subject of the Arroyo, I've just updated this post (about the fluffy white tree north of the dam), thanks to information Ann Erdman was able to find.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey, you're standing in my light!

Embedded in the sidewalk outside the Doty block (aka the Hotel Carver) at 107 S. Fair Oaks, you will find jewels.

You can find variations of these treasures around town. Try Union Street just west of Raymond, where the purple glass is part of a building. Or along the sidewalks of Mission St. in South Pasadena, where the glistening, glass gems are larger.

Here they are in context, in front of the Doty Block:
I didn't find a listing on the web for W. D. Perine. However, I think I found his office. 28 New Montgomery Street is a San Francisco address, for what it's worth.

Loren Roberts of Hearken Creative Services has his office in the Doty Block. He learned a lot from his current landlord. "The basement of the building used to extend out to below those glass plugs," he says. "Unsure if they were decorative skylights or what. Then the walls got re-built at the line of the building, so those glass plugs don’t look down to anything except open space. But they started getting plugged with cement when the new walls were getting water damage from the outside, where water would come down through the broken glass..." He also said his landlord has expressed an interest in restoring them.

True to form, Loren sent along this fantastic link.

UPDATE: Terry sent this link (right under my nose!) about how the facades were changed in 1929.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Earth Trembles, As Does Memory

This week we've been talking about the Doty Block, a building at the corner of Fair Oaks and Green Street in Old Town Pasadena. Yesterday, Margaret and Trish asked if the mural that once graced the north face of the building had at one time been only partially visible.

I'm coming up on my fourth year in Pasadena. A lot happened before my time. But Terry Griest, a San Francisco Bay Area graphic designer who grew up in Pasadena, experienced the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake while living on South Orange Grove Blvd. And she kept the clippings.

It was a pretty serious quake:
(All three clippings are from the 10/2/87 issue of the Star-News.)

It just so happens that Terry also studied the Doty Block as part of a photo essay for a class called "The City as an Art Resource," at Cal State Long Beach. She created the essay in the mid-1980's, when Old Town was in transition from "scary part of town that you didn't tell your mother you were visiting after dark" (her words, K!) to the shopping mecca it is now.
Terry didn't think this 1984 photo she took was any big deal, but to me it's amazing. I'd never before seen a photo of the mural in context. I'd never seen the garage next door, only an enticing glimpse of the brick work along the top, in a black & white photo (see yesterday's post). I just love it.

I also love this shot from 1887:
Terry says it's "a photocopy of a photocopy." But you can see the turret that was once on the southeast corner, and the bay windows that faced out on Fair Oaks. Sweet.

I blog about Pasadena because I enjoy it. If only I didn't have to make a living! But I can't always run out to the library or the Pasadena Museum of History every time I want to research a post. I'm limited to what I can find on the web, and believe it or not, the web is limited. It doesn't have every photo, and it doesn't have personal memories.

So it's incredibly rewarding when PDP visitors get involved. The posts from yesterday and the day before (and tomorrow) wouldn't have been possible at all without Loren Roberts of Hearken Creative. Additional links in the comments really rounded out the information. And Terry Griest's contributions today are really outstanding. This participation in the conversation about our home town is extremely gratifying, and I can't thank you all enough.

I've also received a few emails this week from people who voiced their feelings about the Old Town they remember from before the changes. I'm only beginning to understand what an upheaval that must have been. I only know Old Town as it is now and I love it, not because I'm a shopper (I'm not) but because I love well kept old buildings. But knowing me and my love for old things with a little bit of dirt on them, I think I would have loved Old Town just as much before.

Maybe even more.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Then and Now: Hotel Carver

We're picking up from where we left off yesterday. Sort of.

If you knew the 107 S. Fair Oaks Building when it was the Hotel Carver, you understand why I photographed it from this rather unattractive angle. I over-sharpened the photo, so when you enlarge it you can see the detail.

This copy of a well-known picture of the building comes courtesy of Hearken Creative's flickr photostream. Wikipedia's article about the Carver says this mural was painted by Paul Waszink (who I'm told rented space in the building at the time he painted it). The wall, and the proverbial writing on it, was damaged in the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake.

In the top photo you can also see the pale spots where the original bay windows were. The windows were removed in the 1950s when Fair Oaks Avenue was widened.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Carved Up

The transformation of the building at 107 S. Fair Oaks is all but forgotten. I've been in Pasadena for fewer than four years and I might not have known about it if it weren't for people who visit and comment here at PDP.

But this building has a history, as so many of our Old Town structures do. I highly recommend the Wikipedia article about it. Parts of it were written by an artist who had an office there during a crucial time, when the tenants were evicted to make way for a remodel and retrofit as part of the revitalization of Pasadena's Old Town.

The artist and I have never met, but we've corresponded via email. When I told him I'd be visiting the building and posting photos, he said he didn't want to see them. He hadn't been inside the Carver since being evicted in the mid-1980s because it was too painful.

For some of us who came later on, the "revitalization of Old Town," as it's called, seems like a boon. But for at least a few who lived and worked there back then, it was a time of upheaval, a time of "cutesy-fying" their neighborhood, a time of heartbreak. That viewpoint is exemplified by my artist friend, who visits the blog and emails me from time to time with bits of information about his beloved Hotel Carver.

Recently another PDP visitor who comments here, Loren Roberts of Hearken Creative, invited me to his office in the basement of the remodeled Hotel. In part of the building's varied history, it was the first hotel in Pasadena owned by an African-American, and Loren's office would have been in the nightclub where famous black musicians are thought to have played.

Loren loves his office and appreciates the retrofit, but he's also an avid fan of the building's history. He gave me a tour, showing me the "SIGN" sign in the basement and historic photos in the lobby.

I could tell the place has changed a lot over the years. A bar once occupied the main floor; it's long gone. The change most noticeable to my email friend would be the stairway that once dominated the entryway. Gone, gone, gone. And of course there's the exterior. I'll save that for another day.

But my artist pal may be surprised to know that a poster he signed in protest of the remodel hangs, framed in glass, in the lobby.

Update, 10:30 am: Please read the comments, as Loren has added more information than I could give.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zen Monday: #55

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (if I know what it is).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lazy Sunday

This spring our stretch of gloomy skies seemed longer than usual. Finally it's sunny and toasty. Just what I wanted! So, after last night's excitement, I'm going to spend spend a relaxing day in the sun.

Maybe I'll take Boz for a walk. We'll stop and sniff every blade of grass.

Okay. Maybe...I'll go for a drive.

Nah, don't want to waste the gas.

There's always my yard. I could bask in the shade of my tomato plant.

I know. I'll see what's up at the LA County Arboretum. I haven't been there in a while and they've got some interesting stuff blooming right now. Now that's a garden. Too bad I can't take Boz, but I think he'd object to the peacocks. Or vice versa.