Archive for the ‘Heritage Home Awards’ Category

Emery Park SchoolAt a well-attended November 4 presentation and ceremony in the Alhambra Civic Center Library’s Reese Hall, Alhambra Preservation Group honored Emery Park Elementary School with a 2015 Heritage Award. This marked the first time that one of Alhambra’s public buildings has been a recipient of APG’s prestigious award, which celebrates the preservation of historic architecture.

Built in 1931 in the Georgian Revival Style, the school was designed by Alhambra-based architect, Richard Farrell, and built by a local construction firm, Steed Brothers Construction. “Emery Park Elementary School is an important local landmark, designed and built by members of our community during the Great Depression,” stated Christine Olson, President of the Alhambra Preservation Group, in making the presentation.  “APG is proud to recognize the Alhambra Unified School District for its careful stewardship of this impressive historic building.”

Built in the center of a 400-acre tract of land owned by a New York tobacco tycoon, Charles Goodwin Emery, Emery Park Elementary School was constructed to accommodate the school-aged children of families who had purchased homes in Emery Park during the 1920s, a boom time for real estate in Alhambra. “At the completion of construction, the community was justifiably proud of the two-story brick school building and its modern features,” continued Ms. Olson.  Opening day was September 14, 1931 with the Alhambra Post-Advocate boasting that the school was “the finest in the Southland, providing the most complete facilities and conveniences for an elementary education to be found anywhere.”

Emery.Park.Elementary“Emery Park Elementary School has changed a great deal in the 84 years since it was built, but its core educational mission has not changed and neither has its architectural character,” stated Adele Andrade-Stadler, President of the Alhambra Unified School District. “We thank Alhambra Preservation Group for recognizing Emery Park Elementary and for shining a spotlight upon its unique and remarkable history.”

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ImageA meticulously restored 1906 Victorian Transitional Bungalow, located in the Wuest tract of Alhambra, was recently honored with Alhambra Preservation Group’s 2014 Katherine Hildreth Memorial Heritage Home Award. In presenting the award, APG President Christine Olson remarked that in the three years since purchasing the home, its owner has done an extraordinary job of restoration, preparing this historic gem for another century of functional use.

This impressive home is located near the former Red Car line that carried passengers along Huntington Drive, to and from the business center in downtown Los Angeles. In 1906, the original owners, Fred and Emma Shuttleworth, purchased an unimproved lot from Samuel Wuest. Fred Shuttleworth, a Freemason, hired his fellow lodge member George W. May to build a five-room cottage for his family. Sixteen years later, in 1922, the Shuttleworths had a small guest house constructed at the rear of the property. It, too, was a one-story bungalow, which closely matched the style of the original home. As a rental unit, the additional income helped to ensure a comfortable retirement for the elderly owners.

The Shuttleworth home was designed as a Craftsman bungalow, incorporating elements of the earlier Victorian style in its window treatments and interior details, such as the Birdseye maple woodwork, dentil moldings, high ceilings and tall windows. The Craftsman style is characterized by the rustic texture of building materials, including shingles and redwood siding; a low-pitched roof with exposed rafter tails; and a covered front porch supported by substantial posts. There are two large bay windows – one in the front parlor, and another in the dining room. Most of the original double-hung windows are still present, featuring a distinctive diamond pattern in the upper section.

When the current owner first saw the home in 2011, she fell in love with its expansive dining room, which features a small Victorian fireplace and mantle, flanked by turned maple columns and detailed scrollwork. In restoration, instead of replacing the too-worn-to-be-refinished hardwood flooring with a less-expensive laminate material, the owner special-ordered maple floorboards to match the original. The beautiful grain of the new hardwood maple floors lends an elegant quality to the 108-year-old home.

Helping to transform the social dynamic on the street by creating a sense of neighborliness and community spirit, the owner installed a Little Free Library in her front yard, constructed from salvaged fencing material. This is the first such library to be officially registered in Alhambra. Even as this home celebrates its history and its place in the local community, its environmentally conscious upgrades (including solar panels and an electric vehicle charging station) position it solidly in the twenty-first century.

This is the last in a series of articles featuring the 2014 Heritage Home Award-winning residences.

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515.Westboro.FINAL.1At its annual award presentation in late fall, Alhambra Preservation Group honored three remarkable historic homes with Heritage Home Awards. Among the awardees was a 1925 Pueblo Revival residence located in the Emery Park Tract. Guests at the November meeting were surprised to learn that it was once the childhood home of little Barbara Iverson, Alhambra’s own “Princess of Beauty” who in 1940, at 8 years of age, was chosen to lead the Storybook Parade down Main Street, before a huge crowd of onlookers and admirers estimated at more than 50,000 people. Barbara’s subsequent career as an actress, musician, poet and songwriter began in Alhambra, when she was a student at Emery Park School.

Emery Park was a newly-developed residential area on the outskirts of Alhambra when Daniel Eckerman bought two acres of land here in 1924. Intending to make his fortune in the booming real estate market, he hired a local construction firm to build several small homes for him in styles that reflected the Spanish influence that was extremely popular at the time. The Pueblo Revival residence honored by APG with its 2014 Heritage Home Award features a smooth stucco exterior finish, painted in subtle earth tones; minimal ornamentation; a flat roof with no overhang and terra cotta tile capping the parapet; and a restrained arch over the dining room window, which is echoed in the front porch entry.

Purchased by its current owners in 2005, the home had suffered a prolonged period of neglect. In addition to addressing the home’s long-deferred maintenance issues, they completely renovated the kitchen and bathrooms, while also adding a new bedroom suite. Where possible, they preserved valuable historic features and materials; where necessary, they replaced missing or damaged elements with ones that matched the character and quality of the originals. The result is a harmonious blend of modern comforts and historic character that is fully ADA compliant and more than ready to meet the needs of a new century. In recognition of the owners’ investment in the preservation of Alhambra’s architectural heritage, this home now proudly displays its Heritage Home Award sign.

Alhambra Preservation Group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 2003 to ensure that the historical, architectural and cultural resources of Alhambra are identified, protected and celebrated for their contributions to Alhambra’s heritage, economy and environment. For more information, contact us at (626) 795-3467 or visit our website.

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Heritage.Home.AwardAlhambra Preservation Group will present its 2014 Heritage Home Awards to the owners of three exceptional Alhambra homes on the evening of Wednesday, November 19. This year’s event will take place at 7pm in the Alhambra Civic Center Library’s Reese Hall, 101 South First Street, and is free to the public. Please join us for a fun and informative evening! Light refreshments will be served and ample free parking is available in the library’s underground parking structure.

The presentation will mark the seventh year of APG’s Heritage Home Awards program, which recognizes homeowners who have restored or maintained their older, historic homes in a manner that is sensitive to their architectural period and style and that recognizes the value of these properties to the community at large.

The evening’s program will showcase each of the homes through an educational and inspiring audio-visual presentation, offering both exterior and interior views of three of Alhambra’s extraordinary historic residences, along with insights into the history and context of each. APG President, Chris Olson, describes the event as, “a virtual home tour, without the walking — or the price of a ticket!” We have a few surprises in store for you this year, including the former home of a storybook princess, a property that was actually declared a public nuisance before it was thoroughly rehabilitated, and the location of Alhambra’s first Little Free Library. Adding to the fun, attendees will have the opportunity to win a special prize, dinner (and drinks) for two at The Barkley restaurant in South Pasadena.

Alhambra Preservation Group was founded in 2003 by residents eager to promote and protect Alhambra’s rich and historic architectural heritage. As a nonprofit organization, APG is supported by the generous contributions of its members and friends. We thank you for your support.

You can learn more about APG by visiting our website or following us on Facebook!

Photo courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

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417NCampbellA stunning 1932 Spanish Colonial Revival home, located in the Alhambra Park tract, received the 2013 Katherine Hildreth Memorial Heritage Home Award by Alhambra Preservation Group in a recent award ceremony. “The homeowners of this historic home have done an extraordinary job of restoring and rehabilitating this house since they purchased it a decade ago. It is a great example of the way historic preservation can pay big dividends to communities by enhancing property values and restoring neighborhood character and pride,” stated APG President Christine Olson in presenting the award.

When the current owners first saw the home in 2004, they fell in love with the home’s distinctive historic character and many original features – Spanish arches, hardwood floors and hand-troweled plaster walls. Despite its charm, the home needed a lot of TLC, so they went to work to make this house their own. They tore up old carpeting and refinished the original hardwood floors. They found a color palette that better reflected the home’s style. They redesigned the home’s “modern” 1950’s kitchen into one that is highly functional and beautifully characteristic of a Spanish style home. The home’s exterior also received a makeover that included new wrought iron fencing and gates, specifically designing them to match the style of the house. Just recently, the home’s landscaping plan was updated. Now a profusion of succulents and California desert plants grace this home.

Community has been a thread throughout this home’s 80-year history. Today that sense of community continues. Surrounding neighbors have discovered inspiration in this home’s restoration with several adjacent homeowners borrowing design ideas. This home’s rehabilitation is the perfect example of how historic preservation builds community as neighbors help neighbors, through the sharing of ideas, experiences and lives.

Photo courtesy of Mark Tran.

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3111Glenridge.currentSetting a new precedent at its fall meeting, Alhambra Preservation Group recognized a particularly fine example of mid-century modern architecture as one of the recipients of its 2013 Heritage Home Award.  This marks the first time a home of the post-World War II era has been honored by the organization for the integrity of its distinctive architecture.

The post-war period of the mid-twentieth century was characterized by major changes in the fields of architecture and design.  Traditional styles were seen as stale and outdated, and Southern California became the epicenter of the modern design movement. Mid-century modern architecture reflects an outlook of post-war optimism, and its designers believed that a forward-looking style could be a vehicle for the creation of a better world.  Characterized by the use of new building materials and technologies, these homes, built during the period from 1945 through 1970, featured simplicity and integration with nature.  They offered open floor plans and sliding glass doors, encouraging people to go outside and live healthy lives.  Many incorporated swimming pools into their private rear gardens.

Glendridge.Home.Exterior.1This award-winning home is located on Palatine Hill, overlooking Emery Park, and was built in 1960 for the Bezzant family by the local contracting firm of Colletta and Edgely.  Robert Bezzant was employed as Alhambra’s City Engineer; his wife Elaine, was an artist and educator – in addition to being the mother of their six children.  Their four-bedroom home was designed in a post-and-beam style, with floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe the rooms in a flood of natural light and provide a seamless transition from the indoors out.  A series of wooden decks and landscaped planting areas surround the backyard swimming pool and spa, thereby increasing the useable living space on this steeply-sloping hillside lot.

Back.DeckFollowing a complete and very sensitively-done restoration, this Alhambra landmark was purchased in 2009 by its current owner, who fell in love with the integrity of its mid-century design, its integration into the landscape, and its hilltop location.

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1824Sixth.currentIn a recent award ceremony, Alhambra Preservation Group honored the homeowner of a classic 1912 Swiss Chalet Craftsman Bungalow with its 2013 Heritage Home Award. Located in Alhambra’s historic Ramona Park area, this home is one of many houses built by the Ramona Park Building Company just after the turn of the 20th century. “It is Alhambra Preservation Group’s great pleasure to present this award in recognition of the investment this homeowner has made in the preservation of Alhambra’s architectural history,” stated APG president, Christine Olson, in presenting the annual award.

This home, located on the western edge of Ramona Park, features many of the design elements for which the Ramona Park Building Company was known. The company’s principles, John and Daniel Althouse, were contemporaries of the Pasadena-based Greene brothers and had a solid reputation for high-class, high-quality work. Two front-facing low-pitched gables and the influence of the Swiss Chalet style can be seen in the arrow-patterned gable vents.  The wraparound porch is offset to the north, supported by columns and is enclosed by a distinctive stickwork railing.  Two broad fixed windows flank the front door, with its leaded glass window.  Shingles sheathe the structure down to the windowsills, where a flared skirt of shiplap siding wraps the building.

Arlow and Georgia Watson had this home custom built in 1912. The Watsons came to Southern California from St. Paul, Minnesota in 1909 with their two-year old daughter, Dorothy.  Their son, Arlo, was born in Alhambra. The Watson family lived here for more than thirty years, until Arlow’s death in 1943.

More than 40 years later, the current homeowner was in the market to purchase a “well-built home with real character” in Alhambra. In an interesting twist, the homeowner’s realtor talked about the home in which he had been raised – this very home. The home needed a lot of work! Most of the Douglas fir woodwork had multiple coats of paint and the green shag carpeting throughout.  The ceilings had been texture-coated and all of the original light fixtures were gone. In the kitchen, a suspended ceiling was installed over fluorescent lights.

Despite its challenges, the homeowner could tell that the home had “good bones and was very solidly built.” It featured a beautiful built-in buffet in the dining room that had somehow managed to survive unpainted.  Most importantly though, the home’s essential character was still there – although barely distinguishable under all the paint and carpeting – and the homeowner could see its potential.

Today that potential has been realized!  The front porch, which was enclosed as a separate room when the homeowner purchased the house, has been removed, and its original use restored with its wooden bead board ceiling painstakingly stripped and stained. The fireplace and chimney have been repaired and restored. In the kitchen, the fluorescent lights and suspended ceiling have been removed and the original straight-pine floor restored. The ugly carpeting has been torn out, revealing the original quarter-sawn oak floors.  And along the way, there have been a few surprises. The basement contained a box of beveled glass pieces that the homeowner learned belonged in the home’s front door, which have now been reinstalled. In another section of the basement, the frame and hardware for the folding Murphy bed that was original to the home’s front parlor was found.  Its re-installation is a project yet to be tackled.

Now, this Craftsman gem welcomes friends and family, restored to its original splendor by a homeowner who looked past a neglected and forgotten old house and saw the beauty and quality that is unique to this home. Thanks to the care and stewardship demonstrated by this homeowner, this home is ready to shine for another century in Alhambra’s historic Ramona Park.

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212.S.CordovaOn October 17, at a standing-room-only event at the Civic Center Library, Alhambra Preservation Group honored four Alhambra homes with its annual Heritage Home Awards.  Among the awardees was an elegant 1926 Spanish Colonial Revival home located in the city’s original Alhambra Tract.  In a departure from its historic practice, APG chose, this year, to recognize the extraordinary care taken by a team of property developers to preserve this Alhambra landmark while also developing the adjacent property.  In presenting the award to the principals of Arroyo Garden, LLC, APG President Christine Olson stated, “It is a very rare thing for any developer to go to the lengths that this team has to preserve a unique example of local history – especially without benefit of valuable preservation incentives like tax credits.  We are proud to honor their efforts with our 2013 Heritage Home Award.”

The two-story Spanish Colonial Revival home was built on the banks of the Arroyo del Molino in 1926 by Alhambra builder Holly Charlton for Carl M. Cooper and his wife Hattie May McKay Cooper.  Cooper was employed as the Vice President and General Manager of the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse Corporation.  From his bedroom on the second floor, he could easily supervise the ongoing construction of the new Mission Playhouse designed by famed architect Arthur Burnett Benton, and located just a short distance across the arroyo.

The Cooper home is a classic example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of the 1920s.  A large two-story stucco residence, with terra cotta tile roof, clay vent pipes at the front gable, decorative wooden shutters flanking double-hung windows on the second story, and two balconies – one with decorative ironwork, and the second featuring a shed roof with wooden balustrade.  The restrained design of the home is given a romantic focal point in the deeply inset paneled door, framed by a scalloped arch.  A newly-landscaped front yard features mature agaves, palms and roses.

The Cooper house and its adjacent lot were purchased in 2012 by a team of real estate investors and developers who saw an opportunity to restore the home’s faded elegance while, simultaneously, dividing the large property into smaller parcels for the construction of additional homes.  From the beginning, the Arroyo Garden team focused on preserving the essential, character-defining features of the Cooper house while adding modern amenities desired by 21st Century families.  New copper plumbing, new electrical service, refinished hardwood floors, new heating and air conditioning systems and completely remodeled kitchen and bathrooms are just a few of these enhancements.  Newly refurbished and restored to its former elegance, the Cooper house will continue into its second century.

The Cooper house is now on the market.  For information, please contact Mark Paulson at Venti Realtors (626) 282-6121.  

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DSC_0237At an evening award ceremony on October 17, Alhambra Preservation Group will present its 2013 Heritage Home Awards to the owners of four distinguished Alhambra homes. The event will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Civic Center Library, 101 South First Street and is free to the public.  All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served and ample free parking is available in the library’s underground parking structure.

The 2013 Heritage Home Awards will mark the fifth year of this program, which recognizes homeowners who have restored or maintained their older, historic homes in a manner that is sensitive to their architectural period and style and that recognizes the value of these properties to the community at large.

The annual Heritage Home Awards presentation is a popular and well-attended event.  Each of the homes is showcased in an audio-visual presentation that is both educational and inspiring, offering both exterior and interior views of some of Alhambra’s extraordinary historic housing stock, along with insights into the history and context of each of the homes.  APG President, Chris Olson, described the event as, “a virtual home tour, without the walking — or the price of a ticket!  It’s a great deal and it’s always a fun evening.”

Alhambra Preservation Group was founded in 2003 by residents eager to promote and protect Alhambra’s rich and historic architectural heritage. To learn more about APG or this upcoming event, please follow us on Facebook or call (626) 755-3467.

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31-33.S.Hidalgo.StAn Arts & Crafts residence influenced by the Prairie style was recently awarded the 2012 Heritage Home Award by Alhambra Preservation Group. “We are proud to recognize this homeowner’s responsible stewardship of Alhambra’s architectural history with a 2012 Heritage Home Award,” stated Christine Olson, President of Alhambra Preservation Group, in presenting the award. “Thanks to the efforts of its current owners, this Alhambra home may survive well into the 21st century.”

This Alhambra home is located in a tract named after Theodore Wiesendanger, an influential early Los Angeles real estate developer. He was born in Switzerland and came to Los Angeles in 1884. After a short stint as a professor at USC, he went into business for himself, buying and subdividing large tracts of Los Angeles land.  Over the next few decades, Wiesendanger developed more than 3,000 acres and built several hundred homes.  In 1902, he built LA’s first apartment house, the Roosevelt. Recognizing the wisdom of buildings that would appeal to families, Wiesendanger the design for the Roosevelt included a fully-landscaped outdoor playground.  The success of this venture prompted Wiesendanger to build more of the same and,by 1911,he owned 40 apartment buildings, housing more than 1,000 families. An unfortunate series of legal battles with investors and stockholders whittled his sizable assets down to a tiny fraction of their former worth. At his death, in Los Angeles in 1919, the Los Angeles Times reported that, “He had only one friend left to say a last farewell.”

In 1990, this home was discovered by the current owners, who are very proud of their home and its architecture and have gone to great lengths to preserve and maintain its original character. They have completed much of the restoration work themselves over the past 22 years.  Some of their projects have included removing wallpaper, refinishing original oak floors, and preserving many of the home’s original Arts & Crafts features.

In the process of rehabilitating their home, these owners have discovered a few clues about previous owners, including an abandoned trunk filled with fabric in the basement.  They once received a postcard in the mail from a woman who said that she had driven by and was so happy to see the house in such fine condition. She wrote that she had lived there as a child, and had many happy memories. They regret that she didn’t provide any contact information.  Whoever that writer was, she left no doubt that she was delighted to see that this large and welcoming Arts & Crafts home still stands after more than 100 years, comfortably sheltering a new family and, hopefully, many more in the decades to come.

This is the second article in a four-part series highlighting Alhambra Preservation Group’s 2012 Heritage Home Award-winning residences.

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