Thursday, August 18, 2011

Victorian Pile

Someone once asked me for a photo of a Victorian mansion, as opposed to the usual Pasadena Craftsman. A "Victorian pile," I think she said. Pasadena has them, but the fanciest ones are behind fences and foliage, hard to photograph without trespassing or at least being downright rude.

But wait. How many times have I driven by this place on Marengo? Not fancy but huge, and gorgeous in the way a tattered, vintage nightgown might be. It's got "former glory" written all over it. Nathaniel Hawthorne himself would have drooled.

At first I thought no one lived in it.

I was wrong.

31 comments:

dive said...

What a shame to see a beautiful house in such a pitiful state.
Those tiny wooden people need to get their tiny wooden asses into gear and do some serious restoration work.

jb said...

Richard Brautigan - The Hawkline Monster.
Dead ringer (apart from the spire, the chimneys,....

Book Dragon said...

I'm ready to move in and get to work!

Gina said...

We used to live in that neighborhood and I have always slightly coveted that house. I have a passion of for houses that are almost ruins.

(And if Craftsman is more your style there is an absolutely stunning Craftsman in our current neighborhood at the SW corner of Mountain and Holliston that clearly needs a lot of work - but oh it is a beautiful house.)

Diana said...

One of Pasadena's few remaining examples of the Queen Anne Victorian style, this is the former Evanston Inn, a lovely old pile built in 1887. There is some reason to hope that Heritage Housing Partners will yet purchase it and an adjacent property and return it, as affordable housing, to its former glory.

Speedway said...

Looking at this place, I can see how one can become overwhelmed in tending it, or any place. One missed task and it just becomes impossible to catch up without help. But who wants to a leave refuge of many years?

Petrea Burchard said...

You've all said something with which I agree:
Get in gear, fix it up or the the likes of Brautigan will immortalize it!
But mostly, I WANT IT. I think it's beautiful and would love to give it a loving touch. Like Gina, I have a passion for almost-ruins. (Thanks for the tip, Gina, I'll take my camera by that corner.)

Diana, thanks for the info. A quick Google search tells us the Evanston Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now apartments. Here are some stats:
385 S Marengo Avenue
Property Type:Hospitality
Number of Rooms:29
Year Built:1887
Stories:2
Building Size:11,776 SF
Land Area:.64 AC (27,770 SF)
For Sale Price:$1,850,000 (don't know if that's still the case)
Price/Room:$63,793

Steven said...

I think the restoration work better start soon. Looks like some serious water damage and the roof needs to be replaced. A $500,000. budget would get spent in a hurry. I hope someone saves it, and soon.

Virginia said...

Thanks for the smile! I think we need to do some nosing around this next visit. You know wh at I mean. Toy with trespassing and getting thrown in the pokey???
V

Bellis said...

The venerable old lady could do with some surgery, and not just cosmetic, so I'll pass on owning it - the price tag is surprisingly high, and I'm too lazy to clean 29 rooms. But there's something romantic about a building with age on it, isnt there? How fascinating to learn its history.

Petrea Burchard said...

Of course I'm only fantasizing and in my fantasy, money is no object and I have all the time in the world to lavish attention on every beam and shingle.

Virginia, you may trespass if you dare, but I'm not going with you! The place is fully occupied, on a main street and on the National Register. I don't think you'll get very far. I will visit you in the pokey, however.

mainzdailyphoto.com said...

Zillow says $803k.
Virginia will talk her way in and talk her way out and the people will for years be talking about the strange silver-blond speaking in tongues who had an overpowering aura and left everyone dumbfounded in her wake

altadenahiker said...

There's someone I know rather well who did a really timid B and E at this place. It's strangely alluring, isn't it?

Petrea Burchard said...

Down from over a million, JB. But what isn't down, these days? And you're right about Virginia, of course. For the love!

It is alluring, Hiker. I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before but when I saw it yesterday I practically caused an accident getting my car to the curb so I could take a picture.
I don't know any B&E types who are timid. My trespassing friends are all or nothing. I'm the timid one.

Ms M said...

Looks like a wonderful building -- but I hope it gets some TLC soon. Interesting history!

John Sandel said...

Careful about invoking Brautigan—you're liable to wind up with a butler so big he fills the foyer, & a spiteful Shadow on the ceiling.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I mourned for two or three years over the house my parents did not buy (almost did) for its secret passage behind a bookshelf that moved and a round room (was to be mine) and the parlors and butler pantry. In high school at the time, I imagined descending the magnificent staircase for an awaiting date... le sigh

Yes, I understand the passion for a house such as this. They do not make them like that anymore.

Bises,
Genie

Petrea Burchard said...

I wish the economics of owning a home like this weren't so tough. Witness Britain's castles and stately mansions. Just too hard to keep up unless you sell tickets.

Hey. Idea.

jb said...

Just too hard to keep up unless you sell tickets

Put V on the door as a barker....

The stately homes in the UK hit the wall primarily due to death duties. Bill Bryson tells the story well

Karen said...

I have always loved this place and wondered about it!

But then I have a weak spot for romantic, old houses that are falling apart, too.

So much promise in them, I think.

Katie said...

That's a very charming Victorian, even in its less than glorious state. It would be cool to know more of its history. I bet there are all sorts of interesting rooms in those 11,000+ square feet and plenty of stories if the walls could talk.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'll bet the Pasadena Museum of History has info in its archives. I'd love to know more about this building's time as a hotel.

mainzdailyphoto.com said...

OK, pb, get toddled over to the Museum of History and do some hard yards for us...

Virginia said...

Moi a BARKER? I could do it you know, but I'd rather sweet talk my way in someplace I"m not suppose to be.
The thrill of the hunt! Petrea if not there.....where? Oh we'll find something fun!
V

Petrea Burchard said...

V, there's a never ending list.

JB, as soon as I have a free day. I have so many.

Bill said...

I currently have an art studio in what was once the Evanston Inn's ballroom and kitchen (I also have the two bedroom apartment above the ballroom). The place has been sold and all tenants (including Yours Truly) need to vacate by October 1, 2012. I've been there for over 25 years and, ironically, have just spent $6000 fixing up and cleaning my space there for a private tour by the California Art Club's Collectors Circle. I am really going to miss this place, despite its dilapidated state (although, because of its sorry state, my rent has been kept extremely low through the years).

With a friend as business partner, we wanted to purchase the place and restore it one room at a time but at the time I had the dough the owners wanted far too much for the place. I'm sorry I couldn't have been the guy to save this place.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hi Bill,
I'm sorry, too. It sounds like you have a place in your heart for the Evanston Inn. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I hope the new owner plans to renovate kindly and historically, and that the tenants being displaced find the right homes.

Starbuck said...

Hey All,
Looks like I'ma year late to this party, but just found out about the Evanston yesterday! My sister has a private practice therapy office right across the street and it hit her that I would die a little when I saw this place. I died a little. Is there any more current info on what's happening to this dilapidated damsel in distress? It just breaks my heart. Then, it also makes me want to explore a bit and take some photos. Unbelievable that a house like that is just going to seed. In Pas, no less!

Petrea Burchard said...

Hi Starbuck,

Karin Bugge, the Altadena Hiker, recently posted photos
http://altadenahiker.blogspot.com/2013/04/pasadenas-evanston-inn-and-friends.html

I heard the Inn has been purchased and is to be renovated. Of course now that I say that, I can't find the reference. Maybe it was in the comments on Karin's blog.

Gina said...

I saw a sign for a public hearing today on the corner of Marengo and Del Mar. I see this gorgeous house every day when I come out of the underground garage across this street, so I decided to google what's going on. Here's the proposed project.

http://www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/Planning/evanstonscourt/

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Gina. I'm going to share your link with AltadenaHiker because she posted about the Evanston, too.