Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A good night for preservation

So...What do a Craftsman Bungalow, a brick storefront commercial building and a groovy Mid-century Modern residence have in common?  

On the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, all three were anointed by the City Council as Monrovia's three newest historic landmarks on May 19.

While the City doesn't elevate properties to "historic" status all the time, it's not necessarily unusual.  But what is notable is the architectural diversity that this trio represents.  It's very Monrovia.  This range of style is one of the aspects of what makes our streets and neighborhoods interesting.  

248 East Colorado Boulevard
Historic Landmark 132 is located at 248 East Colorado Boulevard, right on the corner of Colorado and Canyon...the southwest corner.

Built in 1912, this is a terrific example of a Craftsman Bungalow.  
The house has some great details including a unique shingle pattern and the original front door with a four glass panel design.

Want to know more?  Check out the

Great front door!


Now for many Monrovians, the mention of Wildrose Avenue brings to mind bucolic images of a neighborhood of pristine Craftsman houses.  There's a good reason: one of the best collection of Craftsman Bungalows in Monrovia are in the 300 block of Wildrose Avenue.  This neighborhood is commemorated as Monrovia Historic District No. 1 (and so far the only historic district).  Back in...oh wait, getting sidetracked here. We'll save that story for another day.
833 Wildrose Avenue

Keep heading east on Wildrose and you'll reach newly designated Historic Landmark No. 134 at 833 Wildrose Avenue.  This is the Monrovia's first Mid-Century Modern historic landmark...and certainly one of our best examples.  

A terrific design on the outside, the interior is just as cool.  For us, it was like stepping on to the set of Mad Men. We heard the same from others who experienced it on this year's Mother's Day Tour put on by the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group.

Not only is it interesting architecturally, but this house has a really great personal history too. Intrigued?  Read the synopsis of an interview with the original (and only) owner of the house. 

It's attached to the staff report.

And finally, landmark number 3...or we should say Historic Landmark HL-135.  

Located at 114 East Lemon Avenue in the heart of Old Town Monrovia, this is only the third commercial building to be designated by the City.  Can you name the other two?

Not because there aren't many other deserving commercial buildings, but Monrovia's Historic Preservation Ordinance is voluntary, meaning that the property owner has start the process, or at least consent to it.

For the past three decades, its been best known as the "Historic Lighting building", after the long time occupant of the building.  The building style is classified as "federally inspired".  This is predominantly seen at the entry.  

Built in 1922, this building was designed by very prominent Angeleno architects Walker & Eisen.  This building came very early in their career, but we're sure it put them on the map, so to speak.

Originally built for the Southern Counties Gas Company as their district headquarters, it is an important piece of Old Town Monrovia's history.  

Typically, interior features are not included as part of the designation, however, in this case Historic Preservation Commissioner Jimi Hendrix noted that the interior fireplace was an original part of the building and was put there to promote the use of gas fireplaces...still a fairly new concept in the Roaring 20's.  Based on its ability to help convey the history of the building, the preservation of the fireplace became part of the designation.  Read all about it in the staff report, it's a gas...ba da bump.

114 East Lemon Avenue

So there you have it, three new landmarks and its apropos that this all happened on the same night that the City Council proclaimed May as Monrovia Historic Preservation Month.

Oh, yes.  The other two commercial buildings designated as historic landmarks? 101 West Foothill Boulevard (northwest corner of Foothill and Myrtle) and the Aztec Hotel at 311 West Foothill Boulevard which is also on the National Register of Historic Places.