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Castle Green for Mother’s Day

Apr 27, 2015

-3Pasadena’s Castle Green, that looming, iconic mix of Moroccan, Moorish, and Victorian styles built in 1898 opens its doors to the public—especially Mom!—on Mother’s Day, May 10th.

Guests may roam the main salon, ballroom, library, sun room, original elevator, and over 20 private apartments, “each unique in layout and design plus the exquisite penthouse.” This self-guided tour allows people to visit the basement, ground floor, as well as enjoy the wonderful rooftop view.

 

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Light refreshments will be available on the veranda.

 

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Mother’s Day at Castle Green Tour
Sunday, May 10th, 1-5 p.m.
Castle Green, 99 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 91105
Cost: $30, purchase here
For complete info, visit FriendsoftheCastleGreen.org

 

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Architect Frederick Louis Roehrig was a native New Yorker born in LeRoy in 1857. After graduating from Cornell University in 1883, he took several years to travel and study architecture in England and France. Roehrig moved to L.A. with a new wife and his father, then opened his first office in Pasadena in 1886.

 

Frederick Louis Roehrig ; date and photographer unknown

Frederick Louis Roehrig ; date and photographer unknown

 

The completion of the Santa Fe Railroad opened up the entire region to land speculation and development by a flood of East Coast and Midwestern industrialists who quickly visited the area on their winter vacations in their private Pullman cars. Liking what they saw, they purchased vast tracts of land, built their private mansions and embarked on various development schemes. Roehrig was clearly in the right place at the right time with the right connections to the vast amounts of development wealth that was pouring into Southern California. The health-seeking and retiring industrialists needed fitting showplaces to hold court, entertain and conduct business and Roehrig was clearly up to the task. (SoCalArchHistory)

Roehrig’s leaned towards Victorian, Queen Anne, American Craftsman, California Mission, and Neo-Classical styles regarding his residential building. For institutional work, he favored Art Deco and Moderne. One of his early commissions that is considered one of his “most fortuitous” was for client Andrew McNally of the Rand-McNally publishing company. The Queen Anne, Shingle-style house Roehrig designed is at 654 E. Mariposa Street, Altadena and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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Andrew McNally House, Altadena, CA

 

McNally’s enthusiastic endorsement of Altadena and its agrarian and esthetic charms led wealthy families from the Midwest and East to built their winter homes in Altadena. (OHP.parks.ca.gov)

Originally at the corner of Raymond Avenue and then Kansas Street (now Green), E. C. Webster and then George Gill Green constructed Hotel Webster, designed by Strange and Carnicle, which opened on New Year’s Eve 1889. Green and his family resided at the hotel for some time while Roehrig completed Green’s Craftsman-style 3,500 sq. ft. home at 569 S. Marengo Avenue. At the beginning of 1891, Green replaced Webster as the hotel manager and renamed it Hotel Green.

 

Central Park, Hotel Green, and Santa Fe RR Depot circa 1896; photo source, Public Library Photo Collection

Central Park, Hotel Green, and Santa Fe RR Depot circa 1896; photo source, Public Library Photo Collection

 

In 1897, Green commissioned Roehrig to design an even more impressive addition coined The Annex (later Castle Green) on the opposite side of Raymond which was completed the following year. (“New Hotel Aglow,” Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1898, p. 15). Roehrig drew on Moorish, Spanish, Victorian, and other stylistic elements to produce what was then Pasadena’s most stunningly original building. He blended domes, arches, pillars, balconies, and verandas in a building of structural steel with brick walls and concrete floors, also making it Pasadena’s first fireproof building. Roehrig tied the original building, designed by architects Strange and Carnicle on the east side of the street, to his piece de resistance by an ornate enclosed bridge crossing Raymond Avenue. (John Crosse, “Frederick L. Roehrig, The Millionaire Architect,” 2011, SoCalArchHistory)

 

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Roehrig’s rendering of Hotel Green, 1902, from Pasadena Illustrated Souvenir Book, owned by John Crosse

 

Castle Green, circa 1904

Castle Green, circa 1904; L.A. Public Library Photo Collection

 

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Proceeds from the Mother’s Day at Castle Green Tour will benefit Friends of the Castle Green restoration projects.

The residents of the Castle Green rent or independently own their apartments. The fees they pay (HOA)  in combination with the revenues raised from events and tours provide for the cost of its restoration. It is not easy to live at a place that must ask its residents to sacrifice privacy at times to enable fundraising events, but the public is grateful and that, for many, is worth the effort.

Preservation of the Castle Green is appreciated in the present and sets an example for generations to come. (Friends of the Castle Green)

 

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