Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas at Heritage Square

Here's something Christmasy to do this weekend:

The holidays are a good time to visit Heritage Square Museum, a whole neighborhood of preserved buildings straight out of the history of Los Angeles. This time of year they deck the place out to do Charles Dickens proud.

This picture was sent to me by Brian Sheridan, Director of Development and Communications at Heritage Square. Brian will soon be leaving to take a new position with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council. (I don't think I'll lose track of him there.)

Brian has invited me to Heritage Square many times in hopes that I'll blog about it, and I've done so because it's my kind of place. I'm so compelled by architecture, especially of old places. There's something about the buildings people used and lived in before us. Heritage Square preserves some unique specimens. The top photo is of the Ford House, where the exquisite woodwork was all carved by hand.

Of Heritage Square Brian says, "before the museum’s existence, few people thought twice about tearing down historic structures. In 1969, long before the LA Conservancy, Pasadena Heritage and others would begin making an impact, a group of concerned citizens moved the Castle and the Saltbox from Bunker Hill to Heritage Square, signaling a tremendous shift in the way we thought about old buildings."

Of course the Museum is more than just a collection of old buildings. They've constantly got something new going on, from movies to school programs. You can even get married there. Heritage Square is a place where, as Brian says, "you can learn about history...where you can see, smell and feel the past. Where you can experience a history often forgotten in the textbooks."

Right around now you can experience Christmas past. But although I mentioned Charles Dickens, I don't think the Ghost of Christmas Past will be in evidence. If you want to see ghosts, you should go at Halloween.

23 comments:

Turquoise Diaries said...

Looks like a wonderful place.. I always like living museums..

Shell Sherree said...

Those carvings are gorgeous! And ghosts give me the heebie-geebies, so their absence suits me just fine.

Birdman said...

What a trip during this season. I do agree. I want more!

Joanne said...

Beautiful. Places like this are so rich with atmosphere, it's almost tangible.

Petrea said...

It's really a fun place if you like history as much as I do. I like to find a quiet spot, to sit and soak it in and imagine life as it once was.

Bellis said...

I guess it's a no-kill shelter for old houses? I like those kinds of places, but have never made the effort to find my way there. Today would be a perfect day to go, wouldn't it?

TheChieftess said...

Bellis...priceless comment!!! I love it...and it definitely fits!!!

I love Heritage Square...my friend Natalie was featured in the last post you did of the Square...she's been designing and making costumes for them for years as well as volunteering as a docent.

altadenahiker said...

Bellis, copyright that line before I steal it.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've always liked those colored glass squares that ring the window. I did a poor man's version of that to my back door.

Petrea said...

Bellis, maybe you could donate the line to Heritage Square. I envision cross-promotions with the Humane Society.

PA, I'm trying to imagine your "poor man's version."

Jack said...

I enjoy historic homes like this one. I especially like your first photo of the architectural details.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Yeah, Thanks for reminding me of this place. Right off the Pasadena Freeway, right? I think I rode my bicycle down there (down the Arroyo) one day about 6 years ago. I think we took the train (Gold Line) back to Pasadena. Haven't seen it at Christmas, though. Nice shots.

Bellis said...

I like that it's on Homer Street.

I've just been on a tour and it's well worth the trip - though it was a nightmare as the Arroyo Seco Parkway is partially closed all weekend. Next year, I'm going to try to remember to go on their special Xmas tour, which was last week. Only one costumed docent on today, Helen, who bravely took small groups of visitors round and round and round.

Susan Campisi said...

I'm adding this to my long list of local treasures I need to visit. It would be nice to see it in its Christmas glory, but oh my: only two weeks left!

Petrea said...

Thank you, Jack.

I should also be clear that the second photo is not mine, but the property of Heritage Square Museum.

Steve, that's the place. Exit the 110 at Avenue 43 Get yourself to the east side of the freeway and head south on Homer, which parallels the fwy. Homer dead-ends at the museum.

Bellis the adventuress! I'm glad you got to go. And a heads up for next year's special Christmas event: it sells out REALLY fast, so be watching for it.

Susan, I think the decorations will be up 'til New Year's at least. You could call and check to make sure. With or without the decorations, it's a sweet place. Not fancy. Just so charming.

Steven said...

Nice photo angle on the first one. Nice definition. Great lighting. Really. What's not to like?

Katie said...

What a lovely room (and glimpse back in time). Instead of going to work next week I'd much rather put on a period costume and sit in that chair by the fireplace all day eating Christmas cookies and drinking wassail.

Petrea said...

Well thank you, Steven. Come by anytime.

Katie, I think you would. When I met Chieftess's friend Natalie (before I realized I knew them both) she was decked out in a gorgeous period dress she had made. The costumed docents at Heritage Square are dedicated.

Su_Tune said...

One of my favorite places when I was young, was there many times in between around 1979-1999. I was enchanted by the unique Octogon house.

Margaret said...

It makes me hungry for something old fashioned, like roasted chestnuts or figgy pudding.

Petrea said...

I don't know if you could go inside the Octagon House then, Su_Tune, but it's often open now, and nicely furnished.

What is figgy pudding, Margaret? Is it good?

Su_Tune said...

Yes! We went in the Octogon house, perhaps right after they moved it there. It was very interesting as it was in the same condition it'd been in when the owner had died or whatever. Peeling, paper, crumbling plaster, etc. I should've taken photos!

Petrea said...

Some of that's still there. It's really a special house.