Sunday, August 24, 2008

The South Pasadena Unified School District Administration Building

A few days ago, I showed you the beautiful arches of the South Pasadena Unified School District Administrative building. Here is another view of the structure. Thanks to blog reader Mister Earl for pointing out that the building was originally a school. To be exact, the site was first home to the Center Street School, built in 1885.

According to the book South Pasadena by Rick Thomas: in 1928 the school was rebuilt by the architectural firm of Marsh, Smith and Powell who gave us the building you see here. It has been used to house the school district administrative offices since 1979.

Thankfully, this lovely place has suffered only minimal alteration. It looks a lot like it did when it was built except for a tower that was removed in 1949 for earthquake safety concerns. In 1952, the original school bell was taken down placed in front of the building. I don't think the city has to worry about anybody trying to steal the thing -- it weighs a quarter ton and was cast of solid iron way back in 1889.

I love to linger here when I walk by, and I often do. (It's right across from Kaldi as well as the library.) I've already mentioned how much I like those impossibly whimsical multicolored bricks as well as the funny W-shaped squiggles on the arch columns. But take a look in the lower left corner at that fallen section of the low wall. The rest of the building is so pristine and perfect, I like the flaw of that off-kilter tilt. I don't know who or what knocked it over (a rowdy teenager? An earthquake?) but I hope nobody ever fixes it.

12 comments:

Mister Earl said...

Nice shot Laurie! Love the colors. Are you related to Mohammed Allee? ;-) I'm thinking of a story about a lady who goes around a small town taking photographs and putting them on the internet. Other townspeople look to see if they can catch her in the act. The plot twists and turns. Too bad I'm not a script writer!

Virginia said...

I think Mister Earl is on the right track with you Laurie. Lucky you having a someone like him to add these great bits of info for all of us. I wish I could find a Mister Earl in Birmingham! Love seeing the larger version of this neat building.

Jutilda said...

So beautiful. Your angle is terrific. Love the green of the grass and the curve of the arches!!

Mike said...

L, besides the brick, does the school bell have a crack in it as well?

The pic is your normal good shot.

Columbo said...

Nice shot, and great historical description. I enjoy you site as always. Thanks.

Hilda said...

It's pretty, alright, and I can understand why you'd linger. Unlike you though, I'm itching to get that wall fixed! :D

Trish said...

fantastic shots of the admin bldg! it was a school for years, then various things, then they tried a school again, but could not sustain it and it turned to admin in the late 70's. As I recall, there was discussion that it was a) bad that the admin bldg was so far from any school and b) GOOD that it was far from any school. Yes, small town politics.

the little collapsed wall I *believe* came down in the 1989 Whittier quake, if I recall correctly. Around that time we had a few little shakers on the Raymond Hill fault, which could have caused the crumble too (hey, it's been almost 20 years...I don't remember ALL of it!).

The bell, you're right, has no chance in moving. I don't even think the kids at CalTech have ever thought to try and use it for a Rose Bowl game prank.

Laurie said...

Hello my friends,

Mister Earl, nobody can catch me as I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee...

Actually, no relation to The Greatest. (Darn it!)

Mike, I don't know if the bell has a crack or not. In fact, I have never really looked at the bell up close!

Trish, thank you so much for chiming in with all these specifics. I love having you and Mister Earl around to fill in all the blanks. You guys are the best!

As are the rest of you. Thanks for making this blog come alive.

Laurie said...

Yikes, I just realized I used the term chiming in after discussing a bell. I got a million of 'em, folks...

:-)

Mister Earl said...

Now that was something, Laurie, for you to go right from Allee to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in the context of we'll never catch you in the act. Nice work!

Trish, the Whitter quake was in 1987. My house is still shaking. That was the worst earthquake experience I've ever had in terms of how it felt in the house. I was at Candlestick Park in SF for the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, but the stadium absorbed the impact somehow, at least where I was sitting. The Whittler quake felt like a 747 was crashing into the back yard.

Dixie Jane said...

Thanks, Laurie, for another view of the Administration building. It reminds me of my high school (about a hundred years ago.) Tall windows for air, no air conditioning, archways, and we survived (if we didn't have to go to the principal's office.) I was constantly getting into trouble for chewing gum in class. Archways lend a sense of beauty and serenity to a walkway or entranceway. One doesn't see them in today's sterile school buildings that often look more like prisons than schools. There is something to be said for, "The good old days",like stepping back in time. The good times.

Anonymous said...

It used to be El Centro School.........