North Pasadena Heights Neighborhood Association About Us
North Pasadena Heights Neighborhood
This segment of Pasadena Heights was originally part of the Rancho San Pasqual, and passed a sleepy existence until the late 1870's. Development of this neighborhood began with the sale, in the late 1860's, of 5,000 acres of land to James Craig, agent for Alexander Grogan of San Francisco. This subdivision became known as the Grogan Tract; it stretched from what is today Altadena Drive west past Lake Avenue, with Villa Street serving as the southern boundary. Craig created a 150-acre homestead for himself in the far southeast corner of the tract on land bordering North Pasadena Heights; he dubbed it "L'Hermitage." His Queen Anne style residence, which dates from the 1870's, still stands today at 2121 Monte Vista Street. It is generally believed to be the oldest standing residence in the City of Pasadena.
Establishment of "Hillmont" (1888) (attributed to Pasadena architect, Harry Ridgway), the elegant Eastlake Style home of Pasadena saloon keeper Barney Williams, was the next significant event in the settlement of North Pasadena Heights. Hillmont stands today on a large parcel at the northwest corner of Hill Avenue and Mountain Street adjoining the gateway into the heart of the neighborhood.
Across the street from Hillmont, at the southwest corner of Mountain and Hill, lived the family of retired Royal British Naval Captain A.D.G. Sutton during the early 1900's. On this 10-acre ranch the two daughters Florence and May are said to have perfected their tennis technique. May G. Sutton Bundy (1887-1975) won the California Women's Championship at age 13, and in 1905 and 1907 she won the Wimbledon Cup, the first American woman to do so.
The land stretching between Hill and Allen Avenues along Casa Grande, Mountain, and Loma Vista was utilized as ranch land during the 1890's and early 1900's period. The Hugus Ranch extended from north of Washington Boulevard southward to Mountain Street to encompass the north side of Mountain and Casa Grande. Descriptions of the neighborhood in 1909 suggest that it was developed as apricot and peach orchards as well as vineyards. At or just preceding the turn of the century, J.D. Yocum carved out a roughly 40-acre subdivision named for him. It was loosely bounded by Hill on the west, Mountain on the north, "Hugus Avenue" (a vacated road which originally existed almost midway between present-day Hamilton Street and Sierra Bonita Avenue) on the east, and the northern boundary of the Fairmount Tract on the south (a line parallel to Mountain roughly 250 feet north of East Orange Grove Boulevard). Yocum's subdivision consisted of large acreage clearly intended for ranching or farming purposes. Five 164' x 529.9' lots went along the south side of Mountain, extending across what is now Loma Vista. East of these lots on Mountain was a 10 acre parcel stretching (from midblock between Sierra Bonita and Hamilton) to Allen. Below Loma Vista were five 106' x 827.7' lots and another large 10 acre parcel stretching to Allen.
Despite the intention to develop Pasadena Heights area into small ranches and homesteads, County Assessor records show only one improved lot within Yocum's Subdivision in the period between 1902 and 1906 — the aforementioned ten acre parcel at Allen and Mountain owned by T. and Harold Ingvaldsen for some ranching purpose, and improved only with simple farm buildings, but not used as a residence.
All this changed abruptly in early 1906 when the Pasadena Park Improvement Company filed a subdivision map for the Pasadena Heights Tract. The tract covered the entire area from Casa Grande on the north to the north side of Villa Street on the south. These developers, wanting to insure the success of their venture, made many improvements, including typical ones, such as curbs, gutters, and stone pylons and wrought ironwork to mark subdivision entrances. More unusual improvements included the planting of shade trees, installing a system of 20-foot wide alleys, and making provisions for electric lighting by placing the ultility poles along the alleys. This was very unusual amenity planning for a residential neighborhood in the unincorporated county area.
The Pasadena Daily News dated December 15, 1906 informs us that at that time 50 lots had been sold in the subdivision (most of these probably south of Loma Vista, where smaller less expensive lots had been created), that 12 to 15 cottages were to be constructed during early 1907, and that there were building restrictions of some kind regulating design. The writer also informs us that the availability of water from the Lake Vineyard Water Company through a costly system of modern pipelines (inspected by none other than William Mulholland) was apparently an important marketing asset.
In the period between July, 1908 and April, 1909, 30 homes were constructed along Hill Avenue and south of Loma Vista ranging from $3500 (a comforatble middle class home for the period) to $12,000 (an upper middle-income luxury home for the period) showing that the development was intended to accommodate a range of incomes from the beginning, a fact physically manifest in the varied lot and building sizes. The somewhat undervalued lots (usually in the $400-500 range) further insured brisk sales activity in the neighborhood below Loma Vista.
It was only in 1910 however that the first homes were constructed along Casa Grande, Mountain, and Loma Vista. These early homes, all constructed in 1910, included:
1677 Mountain (Sarah Cherington/William Durbin House)
1457 Casa Grande
1645 Casa Grande (Babbitt House)
1445 Loma Vista (Schafer House)
1455 Loma Vista
1497 Loma Vista (Hill-Tomaschke House)
The subscriber lists to the Pasadena Star News dated January 6, 1914, and building contract references in the Builder and Contractor give the other early residents in Pasadena Heights for the 1911 and early 1912 period, though records after this time virtually disappear until the area is annexed into the City of Pasadena on August 30, 1916. This next group of residences include:
1437 Casa Grande (Rhodes-Elwell House; 1912)
1441 Casa Grande (Holland House; 1912-13)
1461 Casa Grande (Langden House; 1912)
1519 Casa Grande (Braden-Allen House; 1911)
1620 Casa Grande (Coleman House; 1911)
1625 Casa Grande (1911)
1690 Casa Grande (Hutton House; 1911)
1634 Casa Grande (Krollpfeiller House; 1911)
1485 Loma Vista (Black House; 1914)
The early owners included many persons whose occupations were not listed, and who were presumably retired, as well as many professional people such as notaries (Clarence Babbitt), real estate brokers (Joy T. Hutton), teachers (William R. Flint; A Claude Braden), attorneys (Harry Krollpfeiller; Alfred Allen), insurance representatives (Langden), dentists, physicians, bankers (Edward J. Pyle), and business executives. There were also contractors, skilled workers, and several persons listed as "ranchers."
Previously mentioned contruction between 1910 through 1914 occurred on less than ten percent of the 235 lots in North Pasadena Heights. Roughly the same number of homes were constructed between 1915 and 1920 in the period preceeding and following annexation. The overwhelming majority of the homes in North Pasadena Heights — more than 70% — were constructed between 1921 and 1930 — a period of enormous growth in Pasadena as well as throughout Southern California.
ARCHITECTS AND BUILDERS:
Because it was an unincorporated community until 1916, there are few building records to which we can turn to obtain the names of the architects and builders at work in Pasadena Heights. The scattered records suggest that only a small portion of the buildings were designed by prominent architects and builders. Of those documented practitioners at work here, the most distinguished ones include:
Sylvanus B. Marston (architect) 1620 Casa Grande (1911)
B. Marshall Wotkyns (designer) 1677 Mountain (1910-11)
(much of Wotkyns distinguished work is along the Arroyo. All documented buildings are of Craftsman design.)
Guy S. Bliss (builder)
An unidentified building (1441 Casa Grande ?
1721 Mountain ?) 1437 Casa Grande
(Bliss did several homes in the surrounding neighborhood, including the handsome Chalet Craftsman at the southwest corner of Mountain and Holliston; 1910)
Foss Designing & Building Company (builders) 1519 Casa Grande (1911)
J. Cyril Bennett/Bennett & Haskell (architect)
1447 Casa Grande (1922)
1778 Casa Grande (1928)
1702 Loma Vista (1923)
(Bennett also did a number of homes during this period in the Bungalow Heaven neighborhood to the west, including 1025, 1036 and 1053 Chester, among others)
Leon Brockway/ Buchanan & Brockwav (architect) 1760 Loma Vista (1923) 1745 Mountain
Glen Elwood Smith (architect) 1542 Loma Vista (1923) 1550 Mountain (1926)
Fred P. Telling (architect) 1532 Mountain 1572 Mountain
George Cave11 (designer)
1650 Mountain (1927?) 1750 Mountain (1926?) 1760 Mountain (1930)
Wallace Neff (architect)
1800 Mountain (1928?)(altered)
Henry M. Greene (architect) 1507 Mountain (1925)
John Paul Jones (architect)
945 & 951 Sinaloa (1928 and 1927 respectively)
Theodore H. Pletsch (architect) 965 Sinaloa (1927)(altered)
Kenneth A. Gordon (designer/architect) 1653 Mountain 1425 Mountain (J.H. Woodworth & Son, builders)(1916)
George A. Clark (designer) 1575 Mountain (1916)
A. B. Terrill (designer)
1660 Loma Vista (1921)
McCune & Spindt (builders)
1720 Casa Grande (1923) 1768 Casa Grande (1922-23) 1711 Loma Vista (1921)
Lesser known and poorly documented architects and designers also worked in North Pasadena Heights. Noteworthy among them is Fred Petrequin, the most proflific architect at work in the neighborhood. There are no less than seven documented works here by Petrequin, all constructed during the 1920's, including:
1425 Loma Vista (1921)
848 Hill (1921)
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