Friday, January 22, 2010

The Lukens Estate

Here's the house we've been talking about. I wasn't planning to post these shots. I want to get across the street and get up high on something to shoot over the fence. From this low vantage point I don't think you get the magnificence of this big ol' Victorian pile.

According to Thal Armathura of Avenue to the Sky--a blog all about Lake Avenue--this was once the Lukens Estate. Thal's been embellishing my Lake Avenue posts all week with his vast knowledge of Pasadena history. (The Lukens Estate is actually on El Molino, but the entrance lane used to be Locust Street, starting all the way over on Lake Ave.)

Quoting Thal from Wednesday's comments: "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 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...He has worked really hard to restore the Luken's Estate...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."

I look forward to Thal's post about Kislingbury.

Theodore Parker Lukens was the first Pasadena Real Estate developer and a two-term Pasadena mayor (1890-92 and 1894-96). He was many other things, too, including a conservationist who whose nickname was "the Father of Forestry" for good reasons. The Wikipedia article about Lukens is an eye-opener, considering our recent momentous fires in the San Gabriel Mountains. There's also a great old picture of the house, which was designed by Harry Ridgeway and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lukens was one of Pasadena's earliest citizens, extremely active in civic life, a promoter of natural causes and a friend of John Muir. He even promoted the establishment of Oak Grove Park, for which I'm grateful. He's buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. After reading about him I like him so much I think I'll go pay my respects.

16 comments:

Laurie said...

So cool, P.

Shell Sherree said...

I can imagine people sipping iced tea out there ~ but it's summer here. Iced tea on a verandah probably doesn't sound so appealing just at the moment up in your hemisphere...

Katie said...

Amazing house (forget the others you've featured -- I'll take this one!), and a very compelling story about Mr. Lukens. Sounds like he was very forward thinking and civic-minded. I'll read the Wiki article later, but it's fun to see the house in the article and know that it's not only still standing, but has been carefully restored. I'd love to see inside!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I think I've climbed a mountain with his name on it. All the good ones have mountains named after them.

Petrea said...

I love it when something like this comes up. I've seen the house a million times but didn't know whose house it was. Then Thal comes along and just mentions it, and boom! I'm off on the research. Lukens was a really interesting guy (and yes, PA, the Wiki article says the mountain's named after him).

Too cold here for iced tea on the veranda right now, Shell, but this would be the house for it. Although, like Katie, I would love to explore inside. I'll bet it's full of nooks and crannies and more.

TheChieftess said...

Great house!!! I love the old Victorians! Can't say I'd be sipping iced tea on that veranda, but I can guarantee my hubby'd be smoking his cigar and reading his paper on the weekends out there, rain or shine!!! I'll take my tea hot!!!!

Virginia said...

Beautiful old home and the grounds look nice too. Good one P.
V

altadenahiker said...

I've passed this house so many times when I lived on ElMo. I recall some sign, weird sign in front of the house...or was that a different house? Do they give tours?

Margaret said...

This is all news to me. THanks for the history lesson.

Petrea said...

Thanks, y'all. Thal says the current owner has taken great pains with the place.

This is the one with the signs. Usually one at a time. They change. I didn't get them in the frame when I photographed the house last week, which was one reason I thought not to post these because they're not an accurate depiction. It's a private home so I doubt they give tours. But I don't really know.

Margaret, this is one of those that I knew nothing about, but when I started doing the research I found so much interesting stuff. I enjoyed learning about Lukens. He was a bit of a hero.

Greg Sweet said...

Lukens was an important figure in the histories of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains. But I disagree with the characterization of him as the "Father of [American] Forestry". That title goes to Gifford Pinchot. Those in question should watch The Greatest Good

Petrea said...

Wikipedia calls him the "Father of Forestry," not of American Forestry. Seems he did most of his work locally, not nationally.

Greg Sweet said...

Hence the brackets.

I was criticizing the Wikipedia gang, not you; and maybe trying to get people to watch The Greatest Good.

I love that you are getting deep into the background of your photos and I appreciate the collective knowledge of the community.

Petrea said...

I didn't word it well, Greg--you're right, he wasn't the father of the American forest, and I don't think he'd have said so.
That film looks fantastic. The forest pulls at my heart. And the ending shot of the trailer is heart-stopping.

Anonymous said...

LISTEN TO MARK LEVIN

Petrea said...

Now you have an idea of what's on the sign.