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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blah With a Past

Sometimes, when you learn a little history, the nondescript becomes, um, descript.

When I trekked up Lake Avenue last Satuday I took only a few shots of the Lighthouse Christian Bookstore. I didn't plan to post them. Why post more depressing shots of empty storefronts, especially when the building is so blah?

Then, in comments regarding my post about Gateway Plaza, Thal Armathura linked to his post about the complex of buildings just south of it across Locust Street. His post is about what Locust Street used to be (a rich man's driveway) and what the empty bookstore used to be--the Northlake Market. You have got to see the photo. Go look, then come back.

It's too bad about this tragic remodel. "Unmodel" is a better word. Ignorant of its history, I didn't bother to take a master shot of the structure. But you can see its blandness (and the photographer) reflected in the photos here.

I go by the Lukens estate regularly. I haven't gotten a shot that satisfies me but if you want to see what I've got, give me a shout in the comments and I'll put one up this weekend.

I pre-loaded pictures this week due to unusual computer circumstances but with any luck, iPhone Wednesday will be back next week because it's so much fun.

21 comments:

Katie said...

Comparing what the Northlake Market building used to look like and what it looks like now is really stunning. It truly was an Art Deco gem (with great signage) that really has turned into nothing special (although your reflection classes the joint up considerably!). Oh and yes please on the Lukens estate.

Virginia said...

HELLO modernization GOODBYE character. Geez Louise.
V

Petrea said...

Was it a matter of not knowing at the time that the building was attractive? Did it just feel old and out-dated? I mean, are we going to wake up in twenty years and realize that the fashions of the 1980s were classically beautiful?

altadenahiker said...

I want to see the pictures, fer sher. I've probably already mentioned this, but when they were deciding which houses to save&move vs which ones to raze when building the Foothill Freeway, this was the rule of thumb: Destroy any structure that's older than 15-20 years.

Colleen said...

Very depressing. I hadn't noticed-- is Lighthouse out of business? Wonder if there's any hope of a new owner/tenant restoring?

Looking forward to Lukens pix. I've never even noticed the old estate.

Petrea said...

Hiker, I don't remember you mentioning it. Seems they destroyed whatever was in the path of that behemoth of a road. It's not like they curved it around to spare newer stuff.

I hadn't noticed until I walked by, Colleen, because of the way Lighthouse is tucked in off the street. (Amazing how much more I see when I get out of the car.) I don't know how long it's been closed.
I'll bet you've seen the estate and not realized what it was. I didn't know until I read Thal's post. Just thought it was a big, fab Victorian.

Petrea said...

Ben's blog today (sorry for the long link):
http://theskyisbig.blogspot.com/2010/01/fuller-seminary-throwback-aeriel-photo.html
Upper right corner, where the freeway should be--no freeway!

Thal Armathura said...

The long time present owner and restorer of the Luken's Estate, Roger Kislingbury, is a legend in Pasadena, and I'll present his story in a near future update on Avenue to the Sky. Roger's classic book " SALOONS BARS AND CIGAR STORES by ROGER E KISLINGBURY " is available on Amazon. Roger is a friend and most recently he was the owner of the Old Pasadena De Lacey's Club 41, but the whole story of his adventures in Pasadena will be forthcoming.

Margaret said...

It looks so sad.

Petrea said...

I look forward to that story, Thal, I'll bet it'll be interesting. Do you think he minds people taking pictures of his house?

Yeah, Margaret. It's droopy-looking, especially now that it's empty.

Thal Armathura said...

Petrea,
Roger is a character, as you can see from the signs that go up in his front yard, and I don't think he minds photos of the Luken's Estate. He has worked really hard to restore the Luken's Estate and the historic looking carriage house behind the main house is a complete reconstruction, nothing existed previously, by Roger. He is a master of historic preservation and historic recreation. The Mecca Room, Art Deco magnificence, in Old Pasadena on Colorado next to the 99er Bar, he restored with such finesse, we were astounded.

Bellis said...

This is a very interesting discussion. As soon as the rain eases off, I'm going to look for the Lukens estate. I don't think I've ever driven down Locust.

Petrea said...

He does seem like an interesting guy. Thal. And now that you've mentioned the signs I'll have to go back and get a new shot. My shots don't include the current sign.

Bellis, I don't think Locust goes through from Lake to El Molino. Check Thal's post again for the El Molino address. I'll bet you know the house.

pasadenapio said...

It's always sad to see any business close in Pasadena. I wish this one had been able to make it so they could move into a better-looking location.

Thal Armathura said...

The Luken's Estate original drive on North Lake Avenue, Locust Street, does go from Locust to El Molino and dead ends at the Luken's Estate. If you keep driving west on Locust from North Lake you'll end up crashing into Roger's mansion (the Luken's Estate). He'll be thrilled we're focusing on his property (he keeps a low profile). Don't miss the hitching post and horse mounting stone in the parkway in front of the house.

Greg Sweet said...

I have thought that the way this property & the buildings are laid out that it would make a good In-N-Out Burger.

As to the current fa├žade: it's ugly. I'm not one of "them", but my Zen Wednesday thought is, since it's a Christian facility, "What would Mother Teresa say?"

Come to think of it, if it were an In-N-Out it would still be a Christian outpost.

Petrea said...

Woops! I stand corrected. I guess I'd better travel that road and straighten myself out.

Cafe Pasadena said...

TA, in that case I can hear it now:

"Police have responded to a call from the residents of the Lukens estate!!"

Tash said...

I am just so impressed that your blah is so packed with interesting details - how do you do that??? And then the blending of sandstone tones - voila!

Petrea said...

I do it thanks to Thal, Tash. He's got so much great information on his blog it's amazing. I'm just lucky he reads and links here!

TheChieftess said...

Very sad to see the difference between the grand old architecture and the new blah architecture!!! It reminds me of the old Egyptian pharmacy building on second street in Long Beach. It was an art deco landmark and I believe was in the process of being protected by the city...at any rate, purchased by Rite Aid about 10 years ago...they tore it down before anyone knew what was happening and built their God awful concrete structure to look like their other ones...to this day, I refuse to shop in a Rite Aid....