Saturday, January 23, 2010


This is Earlham Street, looking west from Lake Avenue.

I did not take this photo on a windy day.

Any scientists out there? What is it about our trees? Is our sun always in the southern skies and if so, why isn't that true of everywhere in the northern hemisphere? Is it axis tilt? Magnets? Or is it just my medication?

And to think I once thought of majoring in astronomy for about five minutes.

I am so tempted to remove that street light.
I feel better. Just don't enlarge this, I don't have Photoshop. And if my medication's the problem you don't want to upset me.

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recession Religion

Lake Avenue Church is reflected here in the empty storefront across the road.

That's literal, not figurative. Though the stores may be empty these days, Lake Avenue Church seems full.

I wondered if the same is true of all churches. It's easy to make the assumption that, during a recession, church attendance would rise. So you know me. I Google.

The only thing I found was a Gallup Poll from March of 2009. It says no, attendance is the same as it was in 3/08. But last March people hadn't been unemployed for eight, nine, ten months yet. Stores weren't closed up and down the street. Prices hadn't been so high for so long.

This slump won't last forever. (I promise!) But while it's going on, let's take a completely unscientific poll. Have you been attending your house of worship more in the past year than before? If so, is it helping? In what way?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blah With a Past

Sometimes, when you learn a little history, the nondescript becomes, um, descript.

When I trekked up Lake Avenue last Satuday I took only a few shots of the Lighthouse Christian Bookstore. I didn't plan to post them. Why post more depressing shots of empty storefronts, especially when the building is so blah?

Then, in comments regarding my post about Gateway Plaza, Thal Armathura linked to his post about the complex of buildings just south of it across Locust Street. His post is about what Locust Street used to be (a rich man's driveway) and what the empty bookstore used to be--the Northlake Market. You have got to see the photo. Go look, then come back.

It's too bad about this tragic remodel. "Unmodel" is a better word. Ignorant of its history, I didn't bother to take a master shot of the structure. But you can see its blandness (and the photographer) reflected in the photos here.

I go by the Lukens estate regularly. I haven't gotten a shot that satisfies me but if you want to see what I've got, give me a shout in the comments and I'll put one up this weekend.

I pre-loaded pictures this week due to unusual computer circumstances but with any luck, iPhone Wednesday will be back next week because it's so much fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Ever Happened to the Sandwich Board?

This tough-chick mannequin is familiar to anyone who drives north of the freeway on Lake Avenue. She usually sits closer to the road, but when I walked by last Saturday she was almost inside the door of her regular hangout, Pro Boxing Equipment.

I stopped inside and met Abdul, the friendly sales rep you see behind Ms. Mannequin in the photo above, and on the left in this picture from Pro Boxing's gym. Abdul seems dedicated to the establishment and to martial arts, a vast variety of which they teach at Pro Boxing.

According to Abdul, Pro Boxing is offering a free fitness class during the month of January--Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 5-6 PM. This is your chance to check out their gym. Just show up. Can't beat free.

Abdul also told me the mannequin was moved closer to the door because neighbors have complained about her. I wonder why. Was she in the way? Did they object to her outfit? Were her sunglasses too tacky?

I hope the neighbors are happy. Two doors north they have this:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zen Monday: #81

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about. There's no right or wrong. It means what you think it means, or what you want it to mean.

I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. And I
stay out of the comments box for most of the day to avoid influencing the intellectual path of the (usually highly erudite) discussion.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo I add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I have no idea how long it takes me to walk a mile because it's impossible not to stop every few feet and take a picture. If I ever want to time myself I'll have to either go without a camera or take a friend who finds my photo habit annoying. So far I don't know if I have any friends like that. Nobody's had to ask me to stop shooting yet except security guards.

Yesterday I had my camera, my solitude and my walking shoes. I walked north on Lake Avenue from Walnut Street to Belvidere Street taking pictures. I'll mine the results here on the ol' blog for a few days, in no particular order.

Let's start with Gateway Plaza at Lake and Locust, just south of the 210 Freeway. If you have an office job, Gateway looks like a decent place to work. It's convenient to the Lake Avenue Metro stop, and at least from the upper floors you have good views of the mountains, the San Gabriel Valley and the city of Pasadena. Plus, a little over a block away there's the Walnut St. branch of Lovebird's Cafe and Bakery and you can't beat that.

I think Gateway is attractive, as modern buildings go. The outdoor plaza's well done. At the lower right of the picture (you can't see it here very well) there's a little patio where employees can have their coffee (and a taste of sin from Lovebirds) with a view across the Freeway to the mountains. I was taking photos there once when the security guard asked me to stop. He said they had a policy...yadda. But he asked nicely, and I was on Gateway property. Asking nicely makes all the difference.