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.1886Acclaimed 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.