Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deja View

I know. You're thinking I posted this photo the other day. I don't blame you.

Look again. Since I took last Sunday's photo on May 1st, the Crown City Loan And Jewelry "Money To Loan" signs have been removed on both the Colorado Blvd. and Raymond Avenue sides of the building. According to one commenter on that post, that signage has been up since the 1970's.

The older lettering--"For Values," above, and I'm not sure what, below--has suffered in the intervening years. So has the black grid, which I'm going to guess was once clear glass.
I suppose I would have noticed this eventually, but what drew me to Old Town this time was Terry Griest, PDP's Bay Area designer friend, who was in Pasadena for a short family visit. She saw the changes and emailed me, so I ran over to get a shot. This time I actually stopped into the pawn shop. I had never been there before. Nice girls don't go to pawn shops, or something like that.

Well. This is Pasadena after all. Our pawn shop is not your creepy, greasy TV kind of pawn shop but rather a bit upscale. Sunlight streams in through big windows, gleaming on all sorts of cool stuff including jewelry, guitars, rare coins, power tools and three beautiful, antique cash registers. I asked the woman behind the counter about the changes to the facade and she said the plan is to remodel the building to its original appearance. When I told her I thought that was pretty cool, she said she thought so, too. She was excited about it.

I haven't read anything about this in the Pasadena Star-News or on the Pasadena Heritage website. But restoration of one of Pasadena's oldest Greene and Greene buildings, and, according to this 2006 article by Janette Williams, the only commercial building the favorite sons ever designed, is worth getting excited about.

Update 5/26/10:
I heard from Robert Montano, the Project Manager at Pasadena's
Economic Development Division. He says:

"As background to your post, the Owners, helped by a façade grant from the City of Pasadena’s Redevelopment Department are embarking on a façade restoration of the Kinney Building – the only Greene and Greene commercial building. The “Black Grid” is actually a panel of purple glass tiles frequently used in transom windows as can be seen at 55 E Colorado (above the future Intelligentsia and existing Foot Locker), just around the corner.

No one was certain as to the condition of the building when we started out, so needless to say, we are pretty happy to find so much original character in place. We have a long way to go until completion, but are very excited about starting down the path."

I know there's an online photo of 44 E. Colorado, but I couldn't find it today. But this post about Pop Champagne Bar from Fightin' Mad Mary shows the same kind of transom windows, just around the corner from the Pawn Shop.

21 comments:

Pascal Jim said...

Clean AND Green...Nice change..

Dina said...

Mazal tov on your scoop, Reporter Petrea!

Mister Earl said...

What a freaky coincidence. No sooner do your write about it, and they're restoring it. I wonder who owns the building and why they decided to do this now. I wonder if it means the pawn shop will remain there.
I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder, who...what...why?

Mister Earl said...

I'm guessing the grid once let a lot of light in, but probably it wasn't clear in the sense that you could actually see through it. Looks like glass tiles that let in light but distort the images. The sign above it says "Mens." I wonder if it was a clothing store.

Mister Earl said...

Hmmmm.... Crown City Loan & Jewelry... does that mean they sell string there?

Bellis said...

Hail to the power of the blogosphere. We ask for improvements, and they happen. It already looks much, much better without the Money for Loan signs. And you've given me the courage to go inside. I wonder how eBay has affected their business?

Petrea said...

I like it too, Pascal Jim.

Thanks, Dina--not exactly mine, I have tipsters!

Mister Earl, Terry joked that PDP had the power, but nobody said anything about bloggers when I was in the store. My research (5/16 post) said it was a drug store and a dry goods store. Could have had men's items. And string.

Crown City L&J has been in business for more than 50 years, Bellis, and from the looks of the clientele the other day they were doing all right. But go in and browse. I had no idea a pawn shop could be so nice. It's not Tiffany, but I've never been in there either.

I've changed the link colors on the blog. Let me know if they're more visible.

Cafe Pasadena said...

If they don't remodel it, then the removal of "Money to Loan" from the pawn shop wood bee on account of the economy. It's tough for pawn shops too.

TheChieftess said...

Very cool!!! It's funny though...that pawn shop has been there for so long, it's become somewhat iconic!!!

Terry said...

I love the way this looks already. It has a sort of spanish look to it that I don't think we've seen in any of the old or older old pictures. Could it be from the 1925 remodel? Thanks for capturing this for us, Petrea, before it gets too spruced up!

Petrea said...

Tough for everyone, Cafe, but they seemed to be doing a good business when I was there.

Chieftess, when a business has been in town over fifty years you practically have to call it venerable.

Terry, I definitely don't think this lettering is 19th century. I hope we hear more about this in the press as it goes along. I'll try to keep up with major changes in photos.

Petrea said...

I have a very nice reader who emails me with good information from time to time. Regarding the Kinney-Kendall Building he says, "Ted Bosley in his G&G [Greene & Greene] book (p.28) says, 'They designed modern technological advances into the structure including a skeleton of iron H-beams and cylinder-beams.....'"

For all you architecture lovers out there.

altadenahiker said...

What timing! So commercial building -- that would mean all floors were for commercial purposes? Wonder if the upper floors still retain some workmanship for which the brothers were famous.

WV: Figir. Go figir.

Petrea said...

I sure can't tell from any of my pictures. We'll have to wangle an invitation.

Mister Earl said...

It would be fun to find out who owns the building and why they've decided to restore it just now.

I wonder if it's owned by the people who run the pawn shop, otherwise it's hard to understand how they can afford the rent.

mark said...

What a classic building. Great lines and a great design. You know I love the seeing these beautiful photos of days gone by and yet they are still here today. Thanks Friend.

Greg Sweet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Sweet said...

http://ww2.cityofpasadena.net/permitcenter/propinfo/homepinf.asp

Petrea said...

Rent control, Mr. Earl? After 50 years...

De rien, mon ami Mark.

Good thinking, Greg. If we really, really want to know we can go to the Permit Center and see the plans.

Dina said...

Tipster shmipster. YOU went back to get the update pics.

Love that Deja View title.

Petrea said...

For those still subscribed to the post about updating the Pawn Shop at the corner of Colorado and Raymond, I've updated today with information from the Project Manager at Pasadena's
Economic Development Division.