Storrier Stearns Transitions

Nov 16, 2015

Storrier-Stearns_1fKendall Brown, Professor of Asian Art History at Cal State Long Beach and Curator at Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, described the garden this way in his 2003 letter of Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places:

In its design and construction, the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden represents one of the best pre-war examples of a Japanese hill and pond style stroll garden outside of Japan. In its grand size, at almost two acres and with a 25-foot-high hill with waterfall, the garden was constructed on an unmatched scale. The design, with two large ponds, one spanned by a granite devil’s bridge more than 15 feet long, was unparalleled at the time.

“Conceived” in the 1930s, Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was initially part of a larger property owned by Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns. The garden was inspired by their travels in Japan and was designed by Kinzuchi Fujii. The entire construction took seven years to complete.

In 1949, the estate was sold to Gamelia Haddad Poulsen who had come to the Storrier Stearns estate auction in the hope of purchasing two Louis XV chairs. Over the years she sold various parcels of property and by the time Poulsen died in 1985, the teahouse had burned down (under mysterious circumstances) and the garden had been neglected. In 1990, Poulsen’s grandson and his wife, Jim and Connie Haddad began to restore the garden in honor of Gamelia.


Jim & Connie Haddad

Jim & Connie Haddad


Now, the garden has been restored and designated as a registered historic landmark, and currently Storrier Stearns is transitioning from private ownership to nonprofit status, about to become a permanent, accessible resource for the community. As such, financial support is more important than ever.

George A. Brumder, Connie and Jim Haddad, Carol A. Lind, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, Takeo Uesugi, Louise J. Wannier, and all of the Board of Directors welcome the public to come visit, learn about, and see the garden during one of these four events:

  • Saturday, November 21st, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 22nd, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Friday, December 11th, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 13th, 3:30-5 p.m.

For as little as $50, two people may receive membership cards and be admitted to the gardens free for one year. Other levels include invitations to exclusive events, discounts on public events and classes, gift certificates, a private photography session, and a private tour. Peruse the six levels of membership here. All contributions are tax-deductible.




There is something so special about this garden and the effect it seems to have on one’s soul. Besides being a significant cultural and educational resource, Storrier Stearns offers a unique intimacy for healing and well-being. I have been captivated by this garden and the opportunity to preserve it for the benefit of our community. The Haddad’s have given selflessly of themselves in its preservation and now simply stated, they need our help.

As a community, it is time for us to step forward and help with the transition to public management. The 501C3, which has now been established, is nascent and needs support. I hope that everyone will come and become a member.

—Louise Wannier of Louis Jane Studio




To visit during one of the above-mentioned times, RSVP to 1.626.399.1721 or email

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, 270 Arlington Dr., Pasadena.

Find membership information here.







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