Set Current Location
A brief visit here can give you a great sense of California's early history. 45 years after the Mission San Gabriel was constructed, Native Americans from the mission built this water-powered mill, the first of its kind in Southern California. Although the mill itself has largely been lost, the tile-roofed building that enclosed it is still in good condition. The location is very appealing, as the mill is set in a beautiful courtyard with fruit trees and other surrounding vegetation. Admission is free.
Considered by the Greene brothers as their best architectural achievement, the Robert R. Blacker House is a grand bungalow which was built in 1907 for 100,000 USD. In adjusted figures, that sum is even more impressive, especially since the owner of the house provided the lumber from his own company. In the 1980s, a Texan purchased the house and sold off a number of the furniture and other interior accoutrements designed by the Greene brothers, causing a scandal among Pasadena's preservationists. Although the home is a private residence, no tour of historic L.A. structures would be complete without catching at least a glimpse of it.
Tournament House, built between 1906 and 1914, was once owned by chewing-gum tycoon William Wrigley, Jr. After the death of Mrs. Wrigley in 1958, the house was donated to the city of Pasadena, provided they used it as a home for the Tournament of Roses Association. It is built in an Italian Renaissance style and has beautiful wood paneling, marble fireplaces, and crystal chandeliers. Free tours are available from February to August on Thursdays. From September on, the house closes to tourists for staff to prepare for the Rose Parade.
The Church of the Angels is one of the most historic churches in Southern California. It was erected by the wife of Alexander Robert Campbell-Johnson, a descendant of a pre-Revolutionary War leader. Campbell-Johnson and his wife Frances traveled to California in search of land to purchase, which they found through then-mayor of Los Angeles Prudent Beaudry. The Episcopalian church, which encompasses an area that was once part of the Rancho San Rafael property, was built by Frances to honor her husband after he became ill and died. Visitors are welcome at Sunday services.
Although legal buffs may find the Richard H. Chambers Courthouse, also the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, interesting for other reasons, the real attraction here is the building the court is housed in. That, of course, is the historic Vista Del Arroyo Hotel, constructed in 1903. This luxury resort hotel hosted wealthy easterners for many years before it closed down. Luckily, restoration of the hotel was completed in 1985 for its current use, and much of the original features are largely intact. Self-guided tours of the main floor are available by asking the marshal at the front desk for a tour brochure. For groups of 10 or more, please call the court clerk to make reservations.
One of the historic structures situated on the premises of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden, the Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn is considered to be a honeymoon present from Elias Jackson Baldwin to Lillie Bennett, built around 1885. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the Queen Anne abode includes beautiful stained-glass windows and doors of black walnut. The house is famous for having been featured in a scene of Fantasy Island.
Once the winter home of the Gamble family, Gamble House was designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908. Regarded as one of the masterpieces of the Craftsman style, the architects also contributed designs to many of the furnishings. The house is maintained by the USC School of Architecture, and is now used as a study center and a getaway for visiting scholars. The loop of Arroyo Terrace behind Westmoreland Place reveals several other similar bungalows designed by the Greene brothers, during the first decade of the 20th century. Tours last about an hour and require no reservation.
Charles F. Lummis built this small home over a period of twelve years around the turn of the 20th century. Constructed out of concrete and native materials such as boulders, the house provides an excellent glimpse of what many early California homes were like. However, the real attraction here is the story of Lummis himself. A Harvard graduate who started out as a poet, Lummis once walked all the way to California from Cincinnati, recording his observations as pieces for the L.A. Times. Cash only.