Stand at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and East Colorado Boulevard. Now face south looking into the Paseo Colorado toward the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The shopping lane before you, which leads to a sunny plaza and proceeds to an impressively wide Green Street crosswalk, is the Garfield Promenade.
In the early 20th century this relatively narrow swath of land extending from East Colorado Street to Green Street was called Cabrillo Place¹ and it was owned by Eva Fenyes.
Eva Fenyes bought the property in 1904 because she and her husband Adalbert needed a place to live while building their mansion on North Orange Grove Avenue. Actually, her plan for the property reached far beyond a simple temporary residence and Agnes, her housekeeper, personal maid and masseuse, was worried. Agnes confided her concerns in a letter to Eva’s daughter Leonora. “I am going to tell you somethings [sic] which I think your mother has not told you. Your mother has bought old Dr McCumber’s [sic] house² and empty lot next to it on E. Colorado St. and then the house and lot back of it to Green St. She is building 7 nice new bungalows on it, one large one of ten rooms for herself and six small ones of six rooms each to rent and Dr. McCumbers [sic] house and the house on Green St. she [is] going to rent also. The[y] are going to look nice when the[y] are finished which will be the first of January. I do not like the idea of your mother living there. I hope something will turn up to prevent her…”³
Despite Agnes’s worry and resistance, Eva and Adalbert moved into the big, newly built, ten room bungalow. After using it for a few years as their temporary residence, Eva leased the house along with the other rentals she had built on the property. Her ambitious plan was taking shape, and it was indicative of East Colorado’s changing landscape at the turn of the 20th century.
The development of this Pasadena property can be followed on the historic Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Between 1887 and 1894, with the exception of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, the maps show the outlines of family homes lining the south side of Colorado Street between Marengo and Euclid Avenues. Among others, the Janes, Rigg, Macomber, and Arthur families all lived in large homes built along the dusty street. What we know as Green Street was called Concord Court; and Worcester Avenue, while not shown on the map below, intersects from the north at 292 East Colorado between the Macomber and Janes houses, and eventually it will be renamed Garfield Avenue.
The 1903 Sanborn map shows the neighborhood converting from single to multi-family dwellings. It locates the Hotel Guirnalda just east of the First M.E. Church. The Janes home has become a boarding house and next to it lies a vacant lot that Eva will buy the following year. The Macomber house is still shown at 282 East Colorado, but the south side properties have new East Green Street addresses.
The next Sanborn revision was not until 1910. This map shows Cabrillo Place extending from East Colorado to Green Street, and there, as Eva had planned, are her houses and bungalows.⁴
Other updates on this map reveal the changing character of the neighborhood. Shops line the corner of Colorado and Euclid. The Janes property is a vacant lot. The large bungalow where Eva and Adalbert had lived is marked “Club Ho. [House],” but its affiliation remains a mystery. The 293 East Green Street house has become a photography studio occupied by portrait photographer Margaret Craig and her sister Alice Craig, a teacher. The Macomber house is simply marked “Boarding,” but we know it was owned by Eva as the Lenox Hotel. Its proprietress, Miss Harriet Chapman, lived there with her father Carlos⁵ and managed the establishment until Eva started to consider something new, a kind of mixed-use development.
In 1910, ever alert to change and opportunity, Eva hired the Richards-Neustadt Construction Company of Los Angeles to draw plans for eight retail shops.⁶ The blueprints show a single story brick structure with frontage along East Colorado Street. The building’s size meant razing the Macomber house, as well as the large “Club” bungalow, but the rest of the residential rentals would remain.
The names of some of the bungalow residents can be found in Eva’s financial papers at Pasadena Museum of History, and they lend a bit of life to Cabrillo Place. In 1914, the seven bungalows were rented to the following people.⁷ Their rents ranged from $21 to $26 per month.
#1 Richard Luckey (salesman, H.F. Brown), Anna Luckey (secretary, Pasadena Charitable League), and Gertrude Luckey.
#2 Emma Waldvogel (embroidery)
#3 Margaret Came (toilet parlors)
#4 Blanche Goudy (teacher)
#5 Anna Jenkins (director, Roosevelt Kindergarten), Mary Jenkins (clerk, Pasadena National Bank), and Minnie Jenkins (music teacher)
#6 Joseph Collins (electrician) and Lillian Collins (contralto soloist)
#7 Frederick Stains
By 1921, Eva was making plans again. This time she envisioned the addition of a motion picture theater running north and south along the eastern boundary of Cabrillo Place. Preliminary sketches for her Mission Theatre were made, but it would not be built. Instead, the City of Pasadena’s Civic Center development project, with the proposed extension of Garfield Avenue through Cabrillo Place, soon came under consideration. Protests and lawsuits ensued and Eva was actively involved. She appeared and testified at City Hall hearings and filed protests regarding proposed assessments to affected landowners. Closely following the proceedings, she compiled three notebooks of local newspaper articles between 1924 and 1928, all regarding the complicated downtown development project.
Eva Fenyes would not live to see the completion of Pasadena’s Civic Center. On February 3, 1930 at the age of 80 she passed away, and Pasadena’s future passed to another generation of developers. Today, when you stroll through Garfield Promenade at Paseo Colorado, remember Eva Fenyes who built the first mix of shops and homes on that very spot more than 100 years ago.
On the Hometown Pasadena website, Matt Hormann’s popular 2009 article “Ghosts of Malls Past: The Plaza Pasadena” looks at more recent Pasadena mall developments and controversies.
Julie Stires is Project Archivist at Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103
Many thanks to Bob Bennett, Pasadena Museum of History volunteer, for his invaluable research into the history of East Colorado Street and Cabrillo Place.
¹ Cabrillo Place was also known as Cabrillo Court.
² The Macomber family lived at 282 East Colorado Street. Henry K. and Harry J. were both physicians and surgeons
³Agnes Quetu to Leonora Curtin, 29 November 1904, Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, Acequia Madre House Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
⁴ Cabrillo Place extended from 282 to 296 East Colorado and included the house and lot at 293 East Green St. No photographs have been found of Cabrillo Place.
⁵ 1910 United States Federal Census
⁶ The 1919 Thurston Pasadena Civic Directory lists the shops occupying this East Colorado building: Maryland Sweet Shop; C. H. Schroeder, jewelry; R. H. Mattoon & Co., blouses; E. C. Bull, optometrist; L. D. Ely, art goods; Howarter & Howarter, millinery; The Gift Shop; Peggy Anne Shoppe; Book Shop.
⁷ The occupations of these residents are listed in Thurston’s Pasadena City Directory, 1914-1915.