Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Luxe Life


In 1904, a new residential development called Oaklawn was taking shape on the north side of South Pas. The wide, tree-lined streets and sweeping Arts and Crafts showcase homes called for a unifying design in the neighborhood's lines of demarcation. The area was within walking distance to the famous Raymond Hotel -- a stomping ground for the rich and mighty -- and potential Oaklawn residents were tempted with promises of the good life in this "Suburb de Luxe." Advertisements for the neighborhood described it as a place "for those who want the best in every particular."

Apparently, that included walls and gates.

South Pasadena Realty and Improvement Company hired the firm of Greene and Greene to create the prestigious development's entrance gates and surrounding fence. The result? Clinker-brick platforms set with handpicked stones from the Arroyo and embellished with rustic timber, tile roofs and artisan-crafted wrought iron. The gates-- and the corresponding stone pillars on the surrounding walls -- seemed to encapsulate the Greene and Greene aesthetic, right down to the tapering boulders at the base and top of each pillar. As you can see by today's photo, the portals have weathered the last century well and are largely unchanged today. (Trust me, the gate on the other side of the street looks just as wonderful.) The good life, indeed.

(You can take a look at the original Greene and Greene design plans here. For more on Oaklawn, check out this article from American Bungalow Magazine here.)

19 comments:

Judy Williams said...

I find it so interesting that in the design plans, they call them portals. Hmmmmm, maybe South Pasadena really IS in another dimension. :)

Judy Williams said...

Oh I just saw the title of the image. I couldn't help but add a bit of melody to the comment page. Don't you think LUSH LIFE might have been heard behind that wall at some point?

Mister Earl said...

Nice photo. If you take the link to the design plan and then go one page back you'll see a full photo of the Oaklawn Bridge.

Speaking of Lush Life, last night I went to see a friend playing jazz at Palate in Glendale, located in an old Bekins storage building on the Boulevard of Cars. The restaurant is really good and includes a wine shop that you can visit during the day, lots of exotic wines and cheeses. The jazz was really amazing. A little different than most. The drummer plays drums like an instrument - never heard anything quite like it. All the players were really good and work well together. The music is there on Tuesday nights from 8 to 9:30- check with me if you want to be sure they'll be there.

Virginia said...

Wouldn't love to have been the "rock picker"!
V
PS Did somebody mention wine and cheese??

Mister Earl said...

Oh, V, you would have so loved this... I can tell.

See the drummer in his 'regular' drumming gig here.click here.

Judy Williams said...

What gripes me is when people confuse jazz with "easy listening" which to me denotes elevator music. Not to say that jazz isn't easy to listen to, but the genre is nowhere close to the same.

We had a 19 foot river rock fireplace in a former home. Those rocks came from Colorado but the look was the same. I love how smooth and rounded they are.

Dixie Jane said...

What a delight! Mdagnificent stone pillars and iron gates while listening to Judy's and Mister Earl's music. Thanks for the embellishment of a sumptuous good life.

Laurie said...

Hey gang! Great links.

Speaking of jazz, I still laugh when I think of my daughter on a play date last year. Her playmate's mom was playing a CD of children's music. Little Bit turned and said, "Excuse me, this is nice but do you think we could listen to some REAL music? Like jazz? Miles Davis is good..."

I had to correct her manners... but I was secretly proud of her musical taste! :-)

Laurie said...

On the subject of the Oaklawn portals, they really are extraordinary to examine up close. Amazing workmanship and simplicity of design. The pillars on the surrounding Oaklawn walls are similarly wonderful.

TheChieftess said...

I'm still laughing at Little Bit's comment!!! She's slays me!!!

Greene and Greene...nothing else need be said!!!

dbdubya said...

The South Pasadena City Council be considering making the Oaklawn District a local historic district in May. There is also an effort to have it declared a national historic district.

Judy Williams said...

Oh I love the National Historic District idea!!

Miles Davis IS good!!

Shanna said...

I always enjoy driving by this "portal". I love those tapering stones.

Shanna said...

Speaking of Miles Davis, I have a close friend, an artist, who had an affair with him when she lived in New York. He gave her this advice, which she passed on to me:

"Be really, really good at ONE thing and it will get you through life."

-Miles Davis

dbdubya said...

Good advice from Miles, Shanna. Now the trick is to find something to be really, really good at. I guess that's part of life's journey.

Mister Earl said...

I love Little Bit's comment. Kids are great. My friend took his family to the Bay Area and they visited Alcatraz. Now his 9 year-old wants to have his bar mitzvah at Alcatraz!

I saw Miles a couple times at the end of the 60s when he went electric and I think teamed up with some of the Brazilian jazz folks.

pasadenapio said...

You captured it beautifully.

Laurie said...

Thanks, everybody! Until tomorrow...

Julie Hill said...

Laurie...great info. Thanks for sharing..all us locals should really get to know our town a bit more...even the little tidbits. Thanks again!