Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mansion Adena

Walk north from Orange Grove Blvd. along Garfield Avenue and for the first few blocks you won't be impressed.

Let me rephrase that. You might be impressed, but your impression will be of an area not so much downtrodden as disinterested. Nothing awful, nothing particularly fine. A few small houses, an apartment building of no style, potted plants on porches fitted out with plastic chairs. Nobody's rich along this stretch of road. Some might even be struggling.

Then you come to the corner of Adena Street and this grand, Victorian mansion looms on a hillock. It's out of place, or rather, everything else is out of place. The mansion is what belongs here. It was here first and everything else has invaded its space.

The Adena Mansion was built circa 1885, which makes it one of Pasadena's oldest homes, seeing as how Pasadena wasn't even officially a city until 1886. The home is on Pasadena's list of designated historic properties (the City Council designated it as a landmark in 2006) and its design is attributed to Architect Eugene Getschell.

Sneak up to the gate for a peek and the house recedes, blushing. You can never see the whole house because it hides its genteel self behind bushes and trees. I've been trying to get a good shot for ages.

I don't know if the place is still available as a vacation rental but until recently it was, which explains why one lucky photographer, who is, unfortunately, not me, was able to get onto the property and take these photos.

Update: Thanks to my sister, Ginab. I had found this link to Silverlake, Treasures of Los Angeles Architecture, which is a treasure trove, but couldn't find Mansion Adena on it. Gina figured it out. The entries are in reverse alphabetical order, so Mansion Adena is somewhat in the middle. In case you don't want to search, here's what they say:

Mansion Adena (Lewis Cottage), attributed to Eugene Getschell c.1886
Acclaimed by Architectural Digest Editor Elizabeth McMillan as 'the finest example of Victorian architecture in Southern California', Lewis Cottage was owned by Anna and Henry Lewis, a prominent founding family of Pasadena.

As of 1900, the property was the residence of Anna Luckey, an early advocate for social welfare services and author of children's books. Mrs. Luckey started the first social sevice agency for Pasadena's poor, and as a result, Pasadena became one of the first cities in the nation to have its own welfare department.


The firm CM Design has completed a recent extensive restoration. The house is located at 361 Adena Street in north Pasadena. 


MORE NEW STUFF FROM THAL ARMATHURA. Thank you, Thal!





I've posted these as large and clear as possible. If you have trouble reading them you can see the originals for yourself; Thal said he copied these from the Biography Files in the Centennial Room of the Pasadena Main Library.

27 comments:

mark said...

That looks like a real jem. I would love to take a tour. It reminds me of the main house at the Spring Mountain Winery in Napa Valley.

Petrea said...

http://www.springmountainvineyard.com/

Thanks, mark. Sorry for the late posting today. Asleep at the wheel, apparently.

Pedro D. H. said...

I would like to go the there on my vacation...

Not the luck photographer, but as always great explanation.

Desiree said...

Nice--

Susan Campisi said...

You are a veritable Pasadena tour guide. I love how I learn so much about the city where I live from you. I'm going to make a point of walking Tommy past this place. The photos on the other site are impressive, but I love how yours makes the mansion a beacon of light shining through the trees.

Petrea said...

Hi Pedro, welcome! And thank you.

Interesting place, huh Desiree?

Susan, you and Tommy will do fine in this neighborhood. If you come this way let me know and I'll go with you.

altadenahiker said...

Funny old gingerbread place, isn't it. I guess I always assumed it was a school; certainly not a rental.

Petrea said...

Yeah. It's just been fixed up, looks all spiffy.

My sister found a great link. I just updated the post.

Virginia said...

I"m a dena, you're a dena..... It's stuck in my head. Oh and I just want to add that I think I've been on Garfield Ave......haven't I???
V

Margaret said...

Sounds like it's full of stories.

Speedway said...

There she was, tantalizingly close, just visible beyond the trees, making all who gazed upon her wonder just what luxurious delights lay beneath her laced-covered domes.

Katie said...

That is an amazingly gorgeous house, even just seeing the top part in your photo. I guess this was a late 19th century version of a McMansion, but I'd take it. The interior is quite something too. Although at $13,000/month I'd like a real mink throw in the Fantasy Suite instead a faux one.

J+P said...

… if gingerbread could talk or gewgaws gossip …

Petrea said...

Virginia, you may have been on Garfield--our City Hall opens onto it south of the 210 freeway.

I think it must be, Margaret. Our local historian Thal Armathura sent me some articles to post, which I will--waiting for word from him on the order to post them in.

Speedway, your paragraph is very suggestive.

Katie, I shudder to think. No, this is the real thing. It was probably the only house around, commanding a view and some acreage.

Glad they can't, J. That would be weird.

Latino Heritage said...

Good to see it's been refurbished. I once helped the previous owner with a fundraiser at the house. It was charming and much more rustic at that time.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Nope, never saw this place before and I know I've been up that street. That walking is really paying off, Petrea.

Gina said...

Wow! I don't think I've ever noticed that house, perhaps I've never driven or walked up that stretch of Garfield.

Makes me want to take a "vacation" in our own city (if I had that amount of money!)

Vanda said...

I want that house!

Petrea said...

Roberta, Thal tells me he believes the owners may be successful television people. Perhaps the previous owner didn't have the money to fix it up so much.

Steve, Gina, I think one reason this one goes unseen is the neighborhood. It's just on the edge of northwest Pasadena and the area doesn't have a great reputation. It's not exactly touristy.

Vanda, I would never have guessed this was your type of spot. I'll see if I can find some more gingerbread for you.

Petrea said...

For those subscribed to this post about Mansion Adena, I've just added some historical newspaper clippings contributed by Thal Armathura.

Diana said...

Pasadena Heritage may have some more information for you, as they had this house on tour a few years ago.

Petrea said...

Yeah, PMH always has the goods, thanks Diana.

I was talking to a friend this evening who said she saw inside the place a couple of years ago when int was on the market. At that time it needed fixing up. Apparently it's been fixed! Looks like the new owners have done a beautiful job.

Irina said...

Can you imagine the history of this place? It is sooo gorgeous... the stories it could tell. :)

Petrea said...

Irina, My friend said the foundation is made of river rock. Just that little detail helped me to picture another time.

Amy said...

Oddly enough, we had a mansion named Adena near my hometown (also the name of my high school). It was Thomas Worthington's estate. I think this place might be bigger though!

Christie said...

Oh, that is just lovely. Can you imagine sitting on that upstairs porch sipping tea and reading a book? Thank you so much, Petrea!

Petrea said...

You're welcome, Christie. Every time I pass this place I think of you!