Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Allendale Branch Library

Ha! Library!

Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Allendale Branch library was a surprise to me. It's across the street from the Blair school complex, which is imposing enough that I drove around the block twice before I found the library hiding in plain sight.

If you're in need of a fiction fix and you're on the almost-South-Pasadena side of town, you might want to check out Allendale's collection, which includes many Young Adult titles (appropriately, considering its proximity to Blair High School).

I love this architectural/historical note on the website: "The remodeled Allendale Branch building, created as an isolation hospital in the twenties, opened for library business in 1951. Allendale Branch Library is a unique and exemplary neighborhood center, combining school, library, park and recreational resources."

Isolation hospital! Wouldn't you love to know some of that history?

16 comments:

dive said...

So are we going to see 'Petrea's Pasadena Library Photo Calendar' coming out at Christmas? I'd be happy to have one of those on the wall.
This one's a sweet and simple little 1920s building. I like it.

Shell Sherree said...

It's an honest building. And yes, I'm curious about the isolation hospital!

Speedway said...

ironic perhaps that a former "isolation" hospital has become a community center and library. Cure boredom: meet people and read a book!

Petrea Burchard said...

There are a number of these interesting 20's and 30's buildings tucked away in corners around the Los Angeles area. I can see Sam Spade ducking inside their doors in the rain.

I do plan to make some calendars on RedBubble. Must get to it this week! I hadn't thought of a library calendar but that's not a bad idea. Thanks, Dive.

Bellis said...

I had no idea Allendale wasn't near Allen! or that there was a library near Blair. It's always fun to learn something new about Pasadena. I wonder if it was a TB hospital or one for leprosy? Before antibiotics, isolation to stop others catching the bug was all they could do for people with bacterial infections. I'm really glad I didn't live in the past.

Petrea Burchard said...

I suppose that's what they'll say about our era in the future. "They drove automobiles rather than hovercraft!" "They slept on mattresses, how gauche!" "They flushed their drinking water down the toilet!" I'm sure they'll find us silly and astonishing.

I hadn't known this branch was here either, Bellis. When I saw it on the list of branches I thought, "Allendale? What's that?"

Susan Campisi said...

I hope they don't say, "They built a soccer field in our watershed!"

I like the palm tree, the pink and the benches. It gives off a laid-back Southern California vibe.

altadenahiker said...

Isolation hospital? Yes, more please.

Ms M said...

I like this building too. And it sounds like it has a "storied" history.

Petrea Burchard said...

Everything here has to have a palm tree. It's the law.

Julie said...

Isolation hospital? Bellis is probably right, but I'm hoping for something more along the lines of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Dina said...

Do library patrons know the history of the building? Are they not afraid?

Jerusalem has an old hospital and gardens, once used to isolate leprosy patients. Called Jesus Hilfe or Hansen's Hospital.
There were plans to convert this architectural treasure into an art center. But I suspect many people are superstitious about the germs living on inside it.

Petrea Burchard said...

Ha, Julie, the more sinister the more interesting, yes.

Dina, I don't know if people around here are superstitious or not. I don't get that feeling. But because the building is plain and simple and especially because it's remodeled and used, I doubt anyone thinks much about its history. If it were abandoned and in disrepair, that would make it spookier.

Anonymous said...

It was undoubtedly a "sanitorium" for the isolation of TB patients. As I recall Olive View was another one.

Allendale can be handy (not in my neighborhood but near Huntington Hospital and Paadena's medical center), but don't go there around the time school lets out. The parking lot and little street adjacent are a chaotic nightmare!

Native Pasadenan

Anonymous said...

Well, here we go! Curiosity whetted, I searched and found this information:

Allendale, founded in 1923, was an isolation hospital for smallpox patients, a research lab for the study of parrot fever, a lab for rodent control, and emergency living quarters for the families of veterans. It was converted to a library in 1949 as part of a new complex that included Allendale Elementary School.

Found this in a pamphlet published in 2006 by the Friends of the Pasadena Library "Portrait of a Library: Inside Pasadena's Public Libraries".

The Hill Avenue Branch is the oldest in our system and was the beginning of my love affair with the printed word. My classes at Jefferson Elementary School walked there once a month starting in first grade. Except for the computer area, the copier, and the absence of the comfy arm chairs and reading lamps in the adult area to the left of the entrance, this lovely library is pretty much as it was then. The small furniture in the children's area is charming - the green tinted stain on all the oak throughout the library is the same as it was then.

Native Pasadenan

Petrea Burchard said...

Love your input, Native! Thank you!