Sunday, March 11, 2012

Building Materialize

It's amazing how often I can pass a place and not notice it. I have no idea how many times I've driven down Raymond Avenue in Old Town, how many times I've walked there, how many times I've passed 182 South Raymond.

Yesterday I noticed this building, plopped charmingly between Fishbeck's and Del Mar Station, directly across the street from Central Park. I've never seen it before. (Yesterday was a beautiful day to be at the park; I was there to attend a meeting of the volunteers who'll be helping out at LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, March 17th. We're ready! Come on down!)

I was able to discover the current inhabitants of 182: Hamlett Benefits Group (no website) and J. Bullock and Associates, an Architectural Presentation firm (new term for me, but they have a website so now I get it).

In a sales blurb the structure is described as "historical" but that history itself isn't mentioned. The place looks historical, but one of the things the blurb doesn't say is when the building was built. It says the building has been called the Wilkinson Building as well as the Casablanca Building. I had no luck finding them on the web either.

If you've got info, please share! Otherwise, I'm happy to believe that I never saw 182 before yesterday because it just now materialized.

Update, 3/12/12:
Brilliant (and diligent) reader Betsy found information linking designer Bernarr Judson Garnett to the Wilkinson Building and the Wilkinson Building to the Pasadena Public Library. 182 S. Raymond was built in 1931 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Thank you, Betsy!

Another update, 3/12:
Another brilliant reader, Diana, sends this information from the National Register of Historic Places, the records of which differ from those of Pasadena Public Library where Betsy got her info: 

The National Register nomination ( says this is a vernacular masonry building built by William T. Loesch. The descriptive paragraph, which is pretty terse, reads:
"Known historically as the Wilkinson Building, this one-story brick building with a stuccoed façade sits well back from the street. Brick trim enhances the building by outlining the edges of the façade, doorways, and windows as well as by creating a frieze-like panel across the front. The rear entrance fronts on the railroad tracks."

The record also says the building was built in 1922, not 1931. It's a "contributing building" to the Old Pasadena historic district, but there's no further description of it in the National Register nomination for the historic district\ other than the one quoted above.

By the way, if you're experiencing difficulty commenting as Diana did, I'm sorry and I've notified Blogger. I'm not the only one with this problem. Many who use Blogger are complaining about this ongoing difficulty but we've received no response. I welcome your suggestions. My immediate thought is, "Wordpress."


Lochinver Daily Photo said...

It is what you might call an historical enigma.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I found this in Google-

Petrea Burchard said...

Ha ha, Lochinver, I believe you're right, a little enigma of our own.

Kalei, (Blogger is having trouble with apostrophes! What century is this?) thank you. Looks like it might be a small company, which is appropriate, because it's a small building.

Bellis said...

You're right, that building must be a pop-up! I've walked along there, and driven along there, countless times and have never seen it before. You've done well with your detective work to find out more about it. From the leasing information, it appears to be three times as big inside as it looks on the outside. Another enigma.

Lance said...

Petrea, i think this is a space I stuck my head in a couple of years ago when looking for a theater for Parsons Nose. It was at that time occupied bu Casablanca fans which were everywhere and had long lines of ceiling fans that looked like a Rube Goldberg display. Cool building, no pun intended.

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis, I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Hi Lance! You've solved one mystery: that of why it was called the Casablanca Building (not very historical). And Parsons Nose ended up just across the park, I believe.

Loren A. Roberts said...

Petrea, I don't know the whole history, but in the 1990s the building was occupied by one of the best audio mastering houses in the business, CMS Mastering (you can see their old website here: ). I looked at the space to relocate my office several years ago, and was dismayed that all of the soundproofing and architectural design elements specific to sound use had been ripped out. Oh well...time marches on.

And Lance, I think the antique ceiling fans are still there.

Bellis said...

Lance, when I read it was occupied by Casablanca fans I had visions of lots of people watching endless reruns of the movie in a reconstructed Rick's bar, with the piano softly playing. It's just the sort of thing you'd expect to find here in Lala Land.

Petrea Burchard said...

hi Loren! Been thinking of you. Thank you for the link.

This is just down the street from Red White and Bluezz, Bellis, where I'll bet you can find the scene you imagine.

Susan Campisi said...

I like the red brick driveway, the awnings and the ivy. First time I'm seeing it too. Since it's a pop-up building I wonder how long it'll be there.

Shame the soundproofing has been torn out.

Petrea Burchard said...

Pop-up building! Kind of like a brick-and-mortar flash mob.

Petrea Burchard said...

I've updated the post thanks to information from reader Betsy. Thank you, Betsy!