The James Craig Adobe The James Craig Adobe, circa 1869 as it is today

Tour treasures

Pasadena Heritage kicks off another big year of events spotlighting the city’s architecture with ‘Before the Bungalow’

By Carl Kozlowski 03/21/2013

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It’s all too easy to rush through life and miss the wonders that are all around us, especially in the traffic-clogged LA area. But the hard-working team at Pasadena Heritage is always striving to make us cherish the architectural jewels to be found in our Crown City. 
On Saturday, they’ll be hosting “Before the Bungalow,” a two-staged event which will begin with an illustrated lecture from 10 to 11:30 a.m. about Pasadena’s oldest residential architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The lecture will be followed by an additional event: An afternoon drive-yourself tour of four significant homes of the period, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. 
The lecture will be held at Pasadena Heritage and be conducted by Teresa Grimes of Galvin Preservation Associates, who is an architectural historian, preservationist and recent chair of the Pasadena Heritage board. She’ll be joined by Kevin Johnson of the Design and Historic Preservation Section from the City of Pasadena Planning and Community Development Department. 
“This is our spring walking tour, and for this one we looked at the city of Pasadena’s survey of the best bungalows,” explains Patty Judy, education chair for Pasadena Heritage. “We then drove and explored from the outside which ones were best to accommodate tours, then wrote letters to the home owners thanking them for preserving their homes and asking if we could tour them. It’s a big process, but many people love to share.” 
Indeed, the four homes that agreed to open their doors to the public include the Frank Warner House, which was designed in 1901 by Frederick L. Roehrig. Also participating are  an 1890 Queen Anne home with a three-story open tower, a restored Victorian home from the 1890s and the James Craig Adobe, which was built in 1869 and is Pasadena’s earliest existing home, placing it on the National Register of Historic Places.  All will be open from noon to 4 p.m. for docent-led tours. 
“Before the Bungalow” is the first major event of the year for Pasadena Heritage, but it’s certainly not the last. While the preservationists will skip hosting the Pasadena Bridge Party this year (it alternates years, and was last held in 2012), they will host a colorful and informative walking tour of Old Pasadena at 9 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. 
The next major event after this weekend, however, is on May 16 and 19, when Pasadena Heritage hosts a similar two-part event in association with the “Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.” series. That Getty Museum-initiated celebration of LA’s modern architectural heritage will include “Pasadena 1940 Forward: Three Views of the Recent Past,” by noted architectural historians Alan Hess, Barbara Lamprecht and Daniel Paul and will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, which was designed by Pasadena architect John Gougeon and was opened in 1975. 
Three days later, on Sunday, May 19, the event will pick up with another drive-yourself tour, called “Pasadena 1940 Forward: Residential Architecture of the Recent Past,” this time comprised of six homes, including the recently restored domicile of Pasadena architect Lawrence Test. Pasadena Heritage also hosts its annual gala in July, with the theme of “Pillars of South Orange Grove,” honoring homes and businesses that have lasted in that area of the city for decades. And wrapping up the year’s activities will be the annual Craftsman Tour, which is held on the third weekend of October and features more of the city’s landmark bungalows.

Pasadena Heritage will host the two-part event “Before the Bungalow” on Sunday, with an illustrated lecture from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 651 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena. Admission is $10 for Pasadena Heritage members and $15 for nonmembers. A separate drive-yourself tour is from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $25 for Pasadena Heritage members and $30 for nonmembers. Call (626) 441-6333 or visit


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