We often hear good stories: quirky yarns, eccentric takes. We’d like to add this to the treasure chest. A gentleman in the early 20th century—perhaps so fearful, wary, and diligent in regard to the safety of his family—that he asks his architect to make his soon-to-be constructed new home fireproof.
The resulting bungalow is indeed fireproof, thanks to reinforced concrete. And perhaps because Dr. Roy Lanterman could breathe easier knowing that the hazard of fire could not creep indoors, the decision for gaiety was embraced—by way of a grand ballroom that fills the breadth and depth of the entire second floor.
As it turns out, Landerman treated victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. As the fire ended up burning for three days and three nights, destroyed a quarter of the city, and was actually “more catastrophic than the earthquake itself,” Landerman’s overcautiousness is not so surprising. He must have been haunted by what he witnessed, and the people and injuries he had to treat.
Architect A. L. Haley’s 1915 design of Lanterman House includes many Arts & Crafts elements and it “retains its exquisite original interiors and furnishings, including elaborate hand-painted wall and ceiling ornamentation.”
Sandi Hemmerlein has a first-rate photo essay of Lanterman House from 2015, which may be viewed at AvoidingRegret.com. She writes that the Lanterman’s weren’t “particularly wealthy, though they had a lot of stuff.”
In fact, they were relatively cost-conscious, having built a dining room floor of marble only where it would be visible. Under the rug, the floor is concrete. (AvoidingRegret.com)
On May 29th, Lanterman House opens its doors to the public for the “Summer Whites Picnic & Ukulele Rendezvous.”
This is a free event and people are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the Lanterman gardens while a tour of the house begins at 1 p.m. Work by local artists will be on view and live music in the ballroom hopes to lure you onto the dance floor. Cookies and lemonade will be available for refreshment, and an outdoor ukulele concert stars the Honey Lulus. All are welcome to bring their ukuleles!
Summer Whites & Ukulele Rendezvous
Sunday, May 29th, noon-4 p.m.
Lanterman House and Gardens, 4420 Encinas Dr., La Cañada Flintridge 91011
Parking is limited; overflow at Congregational Church at Foothill & Verdugo
For more info, visit LantermanFoundation.org
Or call 1.818.790.1421
The Lanterman family archives begins with the arrival in the La Canada Valley of Jacob and Amoretta Lanterman and their son Roy in the 1870s and ends in 1987 when Roy’s son Lloyd Lanterman, the last surviving member of the family, died and left the family home to the City of La Canada Flintridge. Since the Lanterman family tended never to throw anything away, the amount of material is tremendous, ranging from Dr. Roy Lanterman’s medical records and his wife Emily’s recipes and club activities to their son’s school work and adult interests in music and steam power. The family’s real estate and development business was managed by the Lanterman Estate Company, the records of which offer special insight into the community’s early development.
Of unique value is Frank Lanterman’s sheet-music collection which he amassed during his career as a theater organist in the 1920s and 30s. Consisting of over 4,700 works, mostly popular songs and piano/organ transcriptions, the collection is in very good condition and offers historians a sweeping view of the development of American musical tastes in the early 20th century. Also worth noting is the collection of song-lyric glass slides that were once projected on theater screens for audience sing-alongs.
Frank’s tenure as State assemblyman from 1951 to 1978 is documented in another special collection. He authored a number of important bills regarding water rights and reforms in the treatment of the developmentally disabled. These records complement other Lanterman collections found at USC and the California State Archives. (LantermanFoundation.org)
Here’s a fun, informative—and also sobering—read about the racier and accomplished side of the Lanterman men: “Lanterman House: The Enduring Legacy and Forgotten Scandals of La Cañada’s First Family,” by Hadley Meares at KCET.org.