Pasadena: a Glimpse

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Chandler Banner

I was gone last weekend. Gone to Southern California. I made a somewhat last minute decision to drive down to Pasadena for a reunion at the school I called home from kindergarten through my Sophomore year in High School. Chandler was a relatively small school, private...and a new High School was added to the campus when I was in 7 th grade. There was one class in the High School ahead of mine and one class after when it was decided the High School part of the campus didn't pencil out. It was closed after three years.

Sometimes, what starts as a bright and exciting new venture must change into another thing that is more viable. We students all moved on to other schools, graduated and went on to college and to our lives. But there was an attachment to this place where I had spent a majority of my childhood life. It played a large part in who I am.

Chandler has changed over the years, but still maintains it's dedication to excellence in education. In so doing, it will be replacing the High School buildings with a bigger Middle School campus. So it was a last hurrah for the students of Chandler High School to come together and say a last goodbye. How could I miss it?

So....there we were in '75. You will just have to figure out which one was me on your own. And here we are now....many if not all.....with almost all of the original faculty.

The Reunion

Reunions are funny things. People change so much over the years. Some people looked exactly the same. Others didn't and it took a few minutes to figure out who they were. They were attorneys, and entrepreneurs, teachers, Realtors, movie directors and artists. Some moved far away...some stayed put in Pasadena. It took all evening to sort it out....and then not really. It was just a glimpse.

But I am glad to have gone. Connections were renewed. Friendships rekindled.


I brought my Mom and my oldest daughter with me to Pasadena so we could explore and see old family friends. I wanted to show my daughter where I came from. She had not been here since she was about 5 .

The Langham Huntington Hotel

We stayed at the Langham Huntington Hotel, which was a treat. We just hit the end of the Winter rates, and this was sort of a special three generational girls trip after all.

The Langham Huntington Hotel

The Huntington Hotel, named for Henry Huntington, was originally built in 1910. It was called the Huntington Sheraton when I was little. My best friend and I would walk there from home and swim in the pool in the summer. During an exceptionally raucous game of Marco Polo, I ran into the side of that pool and chipped my front tooth.

Sketch of the original Huntington Hotel

It was bought out in the 1980's and redone, due to it's unreinforced concrete construction. It happened to be sitting on a earthquake fault line. It was then a Ritz Cartlon....now a Langham Hotel. It looks just the same and has much of the same features it had originally, like the Picture Bridge, which showed murals by artist Frank M. Moore of notable California points of interest.

We had a garden room with a patio out to the grounds. A little bit of heaven.

View from our Room

We explored a bit on Sunday. My daughter and I snuck into the Viennese Ballroom to take a peak. Can't you just imagine the ladies in their turn of the century ballgowns swirling through this room?

Viennese Ballroom

Much of the hotel is redecorated in a much more current style. This is just one of the many seating areas in the lounge. It was Sunday evening, and we were all alone. It was a little eerie, and the ballroom felt like we had traveled back in time.

Earlier on Sunday, we had lunch with my godparents who still live next door to the house where I grew up. I still love this street with it's Camphor tree tunnel.

My Childhood Street

It was a stunningly gorgeous day. Quite a change from the torrents of rain we had on the drive down from Northern Cal. The Magnolias were in their prime, and my godparents home was as lovely as I remembered. It is a shingled bungalow style home...there are many in Pasadena.


After lunch I took Mom and daughter to the Huntington Library Gardens. We were lucky to have such a great day and I took so many pictures, I will be showing them to you in another post.
We hiked around for quite awhile, and were ready for a rest. Back to the hotel, room service and a movie ( An Education....it is wonderful by the way! Carey Mulligan certainly deserved her nomination!)
The next day we drove around town to look at houses (aka... mansions) and other well known architectural treasures. It was funny. I thought I would be able to take more photos, but many of the streets in Pasadena were built long before traffic became an issue. As a result, there are many, many "No Stopping Anytime" signs in spots where I would have loved to take pictures. I was wondering if the signs were also posted to keep tourists (like me) from interrupting the bucolic settings with obnoxious photo taking. But I was able to get a few.

The Wrigley Mansion

The Wrigley Mansion is just one of the beautiful mansions built in the early 1900's by the wealthy who came to Pasadena for the sun and moderate climes. Built in 1906-1914 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., the mansion was willed to the city of Pasadena in 1958 to become the permanent home of the Tournament of Roses Association. My family never missed the parade each year on New Years Day. We would get up before dawn and take our ladders to the parade route to get a good spot. Often it was right in front of the mansion.

The Wrigley Mansion

We also visited the Gamble House built by Greene and Greene for a quick once over. One of the most notable examples of Arts and Crafts architecture in the world, it was built in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company. It is a "must see" if you ever visit Pasadena. More info HERE.

The Gamble House by Greene and Greene

We passed by what was once the Vista del Arroyo Hotel which overlooks the Arroyo in Pasadena. My mother said this is where she learned ballroom dancing. It now houses the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

Vista del Arroyo Hotel

I wanted to show my daughter the Millard House by Frank Lloyd Wright, and we were able to catch a small glimpse of the entryway. It is Mr. Wright's first use of his textile block building system. If you want to see more photos click HERE. For more info click HERE. Architectural Digest had a great article on this house in their October 2007 issue HERE.

Frank Lloyd Wright Millard House

After the bigger iconic homes, we drove around looking at some of the other houses in Pasadena. Typical vernaculars range from the Arts and Crafts Bungalow, like this one:

An artist friend of my mother lived here, and I remember going to very artsy parties here.

Then there are the storybook-like "cottages" along the lines of the bungalow, but a little more English in feeling:

There are many Italianate style homes in Pasadena and versions of the same:

Many homes took parts of Federal, Italianate, Georgian and just mixed things up a bit.

We went by another Greene and Greene house on our little tour. This one was a few blocks from where I lived. Many a carpool drove down this street.

Greene and Greene House

One more I thought you might like is the "Father of the Bride" house. For a great article on movie, click on over to Hooked on Houses blog. There is a photo of the movie version of the house. It is exactly the same except for the much enhanced ivy on the house.

"Father of the Bride" House

Our trip was coming to and end, but first I wanted to take my daughter through downtown to show her City Hall.


Pasadena City Hall

Designed by John Blackwell Jr. and Arther Brown Jr., City Hall was built in 1927 after the Italian style of Palladio. It is considered one of the most distinctive public buildings in the United States. More info HERE.

Pasadena City Hall from the Courtyard

Directly across the street is the church where I family went. All Saints Episcopal Church has had it's share of controversy over the years. That is part of what makes it so intersting and perhaps has contributed to it's popularity. I will never forget the standing room only Christmas Midnight Masses we went to every year. Glorious.

I almost was married here, but my husband had no connection to Pasadena, so we got married HERE by the sea instead.

All Saints Episcopal Church

It is still lovely and serene.

And with that, we almost left town.

But I couldn't leave without checking out the Pasadena Antique Center after seeing Christian's post about it HERE. There was a lot to see there too!....so another post about that will be forthcoming. Thanks Christian!!

The drive back North in the middle of a Monday wasn't too bad. More on Pasadena soon!