Pasadena Heritage was incorporated in 1977 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit historic preservation organization. Since inception, we have grown from a grass-roots group of concerned citizens to the second largest preservation organization in the state. Our programs directly benefit the City of Pasadena and attract a broad regional audience. Pasadena Heritage holds more than 80 historic preservation easements (the largest easement program west of the Mississippi), and has a revolving Preservation Fund to assist with hands-on preservation projects. We are best known for the preservation of the Colorado Street Bridge and Old Pasadena, the commercially successful revitalization of the original downtown. Major focuses of the organization in the past two years have been working with the City to update Land-Use Element of the General Plan, mansionization and creating single-family residential design standards, and historic homes along the Caltrans 710 corridor.
Looking back, we chose one important issue or accomplishment from each year to illustrate the programs and projects undertaken through the years and provide a snapshot of the many and varied challenges Pasadena Heritage has faced.
The first place Pasadena Heritage nominated to the National Register of Historic Places was the Civic Center, which included City Hall, the Central Library, the Civic Auditorium, the former YMCA and YWCA, and several other buildings that were part of the 1923 Bennett Plan.
Pasadena Heritage spearheaded the effort to get the City to adopt a Landmark District Ordinance, allowing neighborhoods to apply for special status and design guidelines to protect neighborhood character.
An out-of-state buyer stripped the Robert Blacker House, considered one of the finest works by Greene & Greene, of its custom light fixtures and stunning art glass. Pasadena Heritage sounded the alarm and the issue received national press coverage. As a result, the city’s cultural heritage ordinance was strengthened and protections were added specifically for Greene & Greene-designed structures. A higher level of local designation – the Historic Treasure (now called Historic Monument) – was also created to protect interior features of these important landmarks.
The Parsons House, designed by Alfred and Arthur Heineman, was the first endangered house saved by Pasadena Heritage, which launched our revolving Preservation Fund. The house was moved to Altadena and restored.
The Main Post Office on Colorado Boulevard was threatened when the Lincoln Avenue postal facility was proposed and Pasadena Heritage lobbied to save the historic building.
Demolition of the Huntington Hotel on South Oak Knoll Avenue, dating from 1906, was being discussed. Pasadena Heritage nominated the historic hotel to the National Register of Historic Places; the hotel was declared eligible but not officially listed due to the owners’ objections
Pasadena Heritage purchased and carefully rehabilitated the first spec-house designed by architect Louis B. Easton on South Marengo Avenue using the Preservation Fund and several grants. We then nominated the South Marengo Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places and special zoning was adopted to protect the surrounding bungalows.
Pasadena Heritage nominated 27 bungalow courts to the National Register of Historic Places. The designation took effect in 1983.
One of Pasadena’s oldest bungalow courts, Gartz Court, was to be demolished when Pasadena Heritage stepped in, partnered with the City, and moved the six-unit court to a new location. The charming court, designed by Myron Hunt, was restored and updated and sold as affordable housing.