Exploring Victorian Neighborhoods: Pasadena, California

In this series, we’ll explore Victorian neighborhoods across the country and around the world to learn about regional period architecture and local communities’ restoration and preservation efforts. First up is one of Southern California’s oldest communities:  Pasadena.

 

The city hall courtyard in Pasadena

The city hall courtyard in Pasadena, California. (Photo: Thinkstock)

 

The Pasadena area has been continuously occupied for centuries, first by Native Americans and then by Mexican explorers who settled around the San Gabriel Mission in the 1770s. Three decades after California entered the Union as the 31st state in 1850, the city of Pasadena incorporated in the midst of a building boom: railways, a grand hotel, an opera house and several grand homes were constructed from about 1880 to 1910.

 

In 2011, locals successfully petitioned for three of northwest Pasadena’s their pre-Craftsman neighborhoods–Raymond-Summit, Bristol-Cypress and New Fair Oaks–to be recognized by the National Historic Register. Today, Pasadena has 18 designated historic districts, several of which we’ll visit today.

 

The Charles Elliot Langford House

 

The Charles Elliot Langford House

The Charles Elliot Langford House (Photo: Patty Judy)

 

Fact File:

  • Built in 1886
  • Located in the Madison Heights Historic District
  • Queen-Anne style
  • Standout features: A two-story polygonal bay window and half-round shingles on the facade
  • That’s fun: There’s another Victorian home called “The Charles Elliot Langford House,” built it appears by this Langford’s father, in Fulton, Illinois. Another fun fact: John McWilliams, who became the house’s third owner in 1912, also became grandfather years later to a famous chef–Julia Child, who lived here from 1912 to 1914.
The Renovation:  The house has undergone three periods of remodeling, in about 1910, 1930 and 1970. More recently, the exterior, foundation and landscaping were restored in 2005.

 

 

 

 

The Ingrid Adams James House

 

The Ingrid Adams James House

The Ingrid Adams James House (Photo: Patty Judy)

 

Fact File: 

  • Built in circa-1890
  • Located in East Pasadena on what was once the Craig Ranch
  • Queen-Anne style
  • Standout features: Unlike most century-old homes, this house’s front and side entry doors retain their original screens. The most notable feature, however, is the three-story tower with its open turret.
The Renovation: Transformed into a duplex after World War II, the house was badly neglected throughout the 20th century–the roof, windows, molding and flooring all needed to be replaced. The present owner has almost completed this restoration work, having restored 11 of the 19 original windows and re-floored the front porch.

The Frank Warner House

 

The Frank Warner House

The Frank Warner House (Photo: Patty Judy)

 

Fact File: 

  • Designed and built in 1901 by architect Frederick L. Roehrig, whose notable local work also included the Hotel Green and Castle Green
  • Post-Victorian shingle-style
  • Part of the Governor Markham National Register Historic District
  • Standout features: The house still possesses its original windows; roofline sawtooth shingles; dentil, egg and dart motif; strap-hinged front door and central finial.
The Renovation: As the house has been well-kept over the last century, it has not required a massive restoration project to return it to its former glory. Previous owners added a garage, built to resemble the main house; others have replaced an old, damaged fireplace and the restored the chimneys with authentic arroyo stone.
To learn more about these homes, consider attending “Before the Bungalow,” the 2013 Spring Home Tour offered by Pasadena Heritage
Have you visited Old Town Pasadena? If so, tell us about the old homes you spotted in the area. Do you have a favorite? Share your stories and photos in the comments below.
By Elaine K. Phillips
Source: Patty Judy, Education Director of Pasadena Heritage

 

 

 

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