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Lower Arroyo Seco Architectural Walk

Apr 3, 2009

Here’s another architectural walk from the pages of Hometown Pasadena, just in time for the weekend.

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One of three Victorians on Locke Haven, built in 1887

Lower Arroyo Seco & San Rafael
This pastoral residential area has retained many of its lovely homes, though the elaborate and fanciful Busch Gardens closed in 1937, its 30 acres subdivided and developed with California ranch houses. The famed “Millionaire’s Row” on Orange Grove has given way to meticulously maintained condominium complexes, but just to the west, the many stately homes on Grand Avenue are well worth a walking tour. Start on the north end of Grand, at Green Street, walk south to Arbor Street, head west down Arbor and then left (south) on Arroyo Boulevard. Arbor is a steep slope, so some may prefer to drive down the hill before getting back on foot to see the many Arts & Crafts homes along the Arroyo.

To get to the San Rafael area, drive across the pretty La Loma Bridge at Arroyo and La Loma. Because the grandest of San Rafael’s homes are, for the most part, hidden behind gates and long driveways, it’s best to drive through the area with only occasional stops. The brilliant landscaping visible from the street inspires all home gardeners. On your way out of San Rafael, detour south on Avenue 64 to see the Church of the Angels.

Colorado Street Bridge (1912-1913)
Pasadenans love this graceful, curving bridge made of reinforced concrete, and they supported its restoration in the 1990s. The almost-1,500-foot span connects Old Pasadena to the San Rafael hills and Eagle Rock.

Vista del Arroyo Hotel (1920)
125 S. Grand Ave.
This Sylvanus Marston-designed resort hotel was taken over by the federal government in the 1940s for use as a military hospital and is now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

La Casita del Arroyo (1933)
177 S. Arroyo Blvd.     
This modest structure, designed by Myron Hunt at no charge, was built using Arroyo stone and lumber from bicycle tracks built at the Rose Bowl for the 1932 Olympics.

Batchelder House (1909)
626 S. Arroyo Blvd.
Ernest Batchelder was a famed artisan, producing decorative tiles that became emblematic of the Arts & Crafts movement. Batchelder’s kiln remains in the backyard of this lovely home, and the discerning viewer can see examples of his tile work from the street. 

Pergola House (1910)
1025 S. Arroyo Blvd.
Remnants of Busch Gardens are incorporated into a home built considerably later.

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Wrigley House

Wrigley Mansion (1911)
391 S. Orange Grove Ave.
This ornate mansion built for chewing-gum mogul William Wrigley is now home to Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses. 

Perkins House (1955)
1540 Poppy Peek Dr.
Sited above street level, this small Richard Neutra home is modest, but it’s all about the expansive view from inside the house.

Church of the Angels (1889)
1100 Ave. 64
British architect Arthur Edmund Street designed this beautiful church as a memorial to Alexander Campbell-Johnson, the developer of Rancho San Rafael.




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