Pages

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Oldest House

About a year ago I posted a picture of the front porch of this house. I did so because I loved the scruffy old door.

Scruffy no more. Same door, shined up nicely, with new old hardware from one of my favorite stores, Gayle's Pasadena Architectural Salvage.

The whole place looks a bit more dapper, doesn't it? What a difference a year makes.

I met the homeowners and they gave me a tour. They may not realize how much progress they've made in a year, but I hope they can see it here. There's much work still to be done yet much worth to be had in this house. It's one of Pasadena's oldest homes, circa 1896, though no one's exactly sure what year it was built.

Over the next few days I'll tell you more, with pictures.

35 comments:

dive said...

Gorgeous, Petrea. Well worth the effort they've put into it. I love the wavy shingles on the gable.
1896 isn't that long ago; surely there must be some much older Spanish houses in the area? I'm curious, as Europeans have been hanging around your area since the early 1500s.

Margaret said...

It's a beautiful house. I'm glad it's getting the love and attention it deserves.

Petrea Burchard said...

There are a couple of old adobes, Dive, but most haven't survived. There's one near the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles (still owned by the original family) and another downtown across from Union Station (it's now part of the tourist/fun Olvera Street). In South Pasadena there's the historic Adobe Flores, where an historic treaty was signed: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt6d5nd540/. And in San Marino, the Michael White Adobe, on the grounds of the High School: http://sites.google.com/site/michaelwhiteadobe/.

But while there should be one of these on every block, unfortunately that's not the case. Apparently mud (adobe) is even more subject to erosion than is wood, and Americans didn't get the preservation bug until many adobes were long gone.

I am, too, Margaret. Apparently it was in bad shape when the owner bought it. He definitely loves it and it shows.

Bellis said...

I'll have to take a look around Gayle's, but I know it'll make me wish we had a historic house to restore. In the 80s, we bought an 1849 terraced house in England, and I was always buying old doors and stained glass to put in it - so much fun. Hopefully, the young owners of this graceful old lady of Pasadena are enjoying their labor of love. I wonder if they can get the house listed and qualify to pay lower property taxes?

Speedway said...

People who save their money to buy a new house must have an emotional connection to them, but I somehow think that attachment is increased for those who buy and invest their time, money and efforts into restoring an old home. This would be due to the research and understanding of the people who built it, the neighborhood, the aesthetic, etc. Such an involvement would, over time, improve the entire area, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Does the balcony, shown on the left, face North? If so....Wow, a mountain view...

Pascaljm

dive said...

Thank you for the cool links, Petrea. I particularly like Adobe Flores; such beautiful simplicity. Long may it survive and be cared for.

Thal Armathura said...

Petrea,
The oldest house in Pasadena is in our area:
The Hermitage Adobe
The Hermitage Adobe was built in 1869 for James Craig. It is the oldest adobe house in Pasadena. It is a private residence and not open to the public.

The Hermitage Adobe
2121 Monte Vista Street, Pasadena, CA 91107 Map
(Private residence)

The Craig Ranch encompassed most of our area as far west as Bungalow Heaven (Lake Avenue), north property line is the Sphinx Ranch (East Washington Blvd.) and East some where near the west boundary of Baldwin's Ranch (Michilinda?), south boundary Colorado? (Old Foothill Road).
The old ranches made up most of our area, with Benjamin Wilson owning all of Rancho San Pascual, and various other Europeans and Yankees coming here later and buying portions of it from him, including Irishman James Craig, and of course the Indiana Colony.

Thal Armathura said...

It appears James Craig bought 5000 acres east of North Lake (Lake Vineyard Road) in 1869.
(from a real estate site) The Hermitage or James Craig Adobe, the oldest standing structure in Pasadena. City of Pasadena Local Treasure and listed on National Register of Historic Places. The Ranch home served as main ranch house for 5000-acre citrus ranch (1869-1911). The adobe predates back before 1850, James Craig, a prominent Southern California citrus grower and water system engineer, raised his family there through the development of Pasadena. Once owned by Lenore Shanewise, an actress and associate director at the Pasadena Playhouse, hosting several large parties for the Hollywood and Pasadena acting community, Ms. Shanewise sold the home to the current owners who have restored and cherished the history. This home retains all the architecturally significant features of James Craig's 1869 home, which fully encourage a relaxed and artistic lifestyle. There is a 500 sqft Studio that serves as a great home office. Property has undergone complete seismic retrofit, recent painting and upgrades.

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis, I believe they told me it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

I agree, Speedway. That devotion to history and restoration is part of Pasadena's character--it's an industry here, it brings tourism to cities all over the world. Who goes to Paris to see skyscrapers?

Good eye, Pascal Jim. That is a north-facing sleeping porch.

Glad you like the links, Dive. I hope you come back to read Thal's contribution. He's our neighborhood encyclopaedia.

Thal, I can't thank you enough. So if I understand it, Craig bought the property in 1869 and the adobe was already there, presumably built before 1850. And that's the oldest structure we've got in Pasadena.

Mission San Gabriel (in San Gabriel) is a good deal older (late 1700s) but white people apparently weren't settling up here then, or if they were, their structures haven't survived. And the Tongva structures are long gone.

Thal Armathura said...

The Hugo Reid Adobe at the Arboretum dates from 1839...
from the Internet:
Then, there is a simple single-story adobe building which dates back to 1839, a time when Mexican rancheros were lords of vast land empires.

This low, flat roofed, rectangular adobe was built by a ranchero who was not of Spanish or Mexican origin, but a native of Scotland. His name was Hugo Reid. When Reid came to California he became a citizen of Mexico, thus being eligible to own Mexican land. He was granted Rancho Santa Anita, an area which now covers all or portions of the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena and San Marino. To comply with Mexican law, he built this plain adobe upon his rancho and lived here with his wife, Victoria. From here, Reid managed the affairs of his 13,000-acre rancho.
http://www.laokay.com/halac/HugoReidAdobe.htm

Hugo Reid later sold to Lucky Baldwin, and this rancho was the eastern neighbor to the Craig Ranch.

Petrea, I hope you will take a photo of the Craig Adobe, that's why I included the address.

Regards,
Thal

Speedway said...

A few weeks ago, when I went downtown to watch the restored statue of Victory reinstalled on her Monument, I chatted with quite a few people who, like me, enjoy being downtown. We agreed we liked the area not because of the skyscrapers but because of the older buildings which have been restored in recent years. We felt they give the area a warmth and beauty that the gray limestone did not.

Steven said...

That house is a beauty. They just don't include a sleeping porch on these new houses. Life was better when houses had a sleeping porch or even a porch for that matter.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thal, I didn't include the Hugo Reid adobe because of the recent questions about whether or not it's the original or a restored copy.

I'm going to have to go find to the Clark Adobe. Google Maps is confused as to the location.

Exactly, Speedway. The downtowns of many cities, small and large, are revitalized when old buildings are reused and repurposed instead of being torn down.

Petrea Burchard said...

Steven, I've got an old house. It was well built but it doesn't have a sleeping porch. It does, however, have two nice porches. I suppose I could sleep on them.

Thal Armathura said...

Petrea,
The Craig Adobe is near the NW corner of Monte Vista and Craig, north of the 210 and between Allen and North Altadena Drive. I believe something newer is right on the corner and the adobe is just to the west of that. Don't be suprised it looks Victorian, that was done somewhat later, also nice gardens in front. You can see all this on Google maps street view.

John Sandel said...

Old houses are haunted, but not every haunt is a ghost. Every fiber of every beam—every threshold, hinge & lintel—staircase & casement—floorboard, soffit & lath is soaked in bygone presences. We are just too dense, in our daily plod, to feel it. But late at night, when my wife is asleep, if I lie quietlyin bed … I can hear our house talk. It speaks softly, in creaks and sighs, or the occasional crack, of the lives it's contained. Only the wee hours know its story. Whispers drift from room to room, heard by inanimate things: doorways, chairs, vases and bottles of wine—stolid, unresponding—but listening …

Michael Coppess said...

Tough to top Thal. But, I have to add that, unlike most of the city's historic structures, the Hermitage is East of Allen.

Petrea Burchard said...

JS, those ghosts are why we bought the place.

Michael, you should have included your link.

Thal Armathura said...

Michael,
Looking forward to your post on the Craig Adobe, East of Allen!

Michael Coppess said...

Thanks Thal. You're right. And we not only have the oldest landmark here on the eastern frontier, but also the second oldest landmark. I'll have to get a couple of posts going.

Petrea, thanks for the link. I am afraid I don't know how to link in a comment.

Laurie said...

LOVE!

Ms M said...

What a wonderful house! Glad to hear they are treating it with love and care.
Fascinating history, too. And I loved JS's comment about "haunted" houses.

Latino Heritage said...

What a great conversation you've started here Petrea. I have to stick "my cucara" (put my two cents in).

In the greater Los Angeles County there are several noted in Kielbasa's amazing work "Historic Adobe's of Los Angeles County". http://www.laokay.com/halac/Introduction.htm

The first U.S. patentee of Rancho San Pascual was Manuel Garfias. The Los Angeles Avila adobe you mention Petrea has a Pasadena connection. Sra. Avila was the mother-in-law of Manuel Garfias. She is credited with fulfilling necessary obligations to keep Rancho San Pascual in the family.

Hugo "Don Perfecto" Reid and his wife Victoria Reid lived on land that was reserved for her. She, and her family lived at the San Gabriel Mission before secularization.

Oldest becomes an interesting question since the nature of adobes here in eq country is that they have to be redone with some frequency. When you do any re-do it's really hard to ignore the creative urge.

Anyway you slice it, the adobes that we have are precious and I'm glad that they are so highly valued.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you all. And to clarify, I said this is "one of Pasadena's oldest homes." It's not the oldest but it was one of the first, perched on the rise above town, with land stretched around it--land that's now filled with houses.

Desiree said...

Great! Old homes, restored homes, fall-- time to write a ghost story.

Susan Campisi said...

That looks like a house with a lot of stories, haunted or otherwise. It's beautiful.

Petrea Burchard said...

Desiree, I believe you might have a few good ghost stories in you.

Susan, I look at the photo and see how it gives a glimpse of what Pasadena looks like. We have so many pretty old homes.

Cybele said...

So glad people appreciate the house! It is a labor of love but I am grateful for my husband's vision in buying it everyday. Well maybe every other day... :} I'm presently doing some historical research on the house. And to set the record straight, we do have ghosts (GHOULA has been here). Thankfully, they don't mind us sharing the house with them.

PS GHOULA is the Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles

Petrea Burchard said...

Hi Cybele!
Goody! Now I can use your names. I wasn't sure if you wanted me to.
Now I must go see if GHOULA has a website.

Petrea Burchard said...

They do. It's a blog, with pictures.
http://ghoula.blogspot.com/

TheChieftess said...

For Adobe enthusiasts...in the Verdugo Woodlands in Glendale is the Catalina Verdugo Adobe...a treaty was signed there under one of the old oaks (which is no longer there as it died...) Presumably built in the very early 1800's...by the Verdugo family...eventually it was owned by Dr. Ernest Bashor, my girl scout leader's father!!! When we were in girl scouts, her family still owned the adobe and we would go there and have overnights in the adobe...it was a fabulous experience that I'm sure I didn't appreciate as much then as I do now!!! The adobe was sold to the City of Glendale in the 1989 and Doris is still a docent taking people on tours through her beloved adobe...I think she just turned 91!!! If you go there...tell her Kathy Murman sent you!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Chieftess, I never knew!
http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/parks/verdugo_adobe.asp

Anonymous said...

Technically, it is one of the oldest in the city of Pasadena.
The Garfias Adobe is older, but this was built during the early American period (1852); way before Pasadena, or the Indiana Colony for that matter, existed. Either way, its great to see continued interest in the area's history. So few know how historic Pasadena is; it's so much more than 'old town.' :)

Petrea Burchard said...

1852, you think? Wow, that is old, at least for Pasadena. Yes, so much more than "old town." I'll never run out of things to photograph.