Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Things of Yesterday

South Pasadena people have a thing for old stuff. Our little town is brimming with historic architecture, towering heritage trees and decades-old sidewalks whose cracks we romantically think add character rather than present something as mundane as a tripping hazard. We love our real old-fashioned soda fountain and our main street filled with many locally owned stores. We have a 4th of July parade so wonderfully small town it might have made even Norman Rockwell roll his eyes. While much of Los Angeles dabbles in a bit of hipster retro -- South Pas revels in the truly vintage.

Even the limited new construction here often looks like a throwback to the 1920s -- antique-looking red brick or Craftsman-style facades -- and many homeowners search through the numerous San Gabriel Valley antique stores and architectural salvage places to fill new homes with the tile and light fixtures and switch plates and heating grilles of long ago.

It's fun to look at real estate listings from our flashy neighbors to the west. Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica West LA ... the descriptions of homes for sale there tend to mention things like vinyl dual paned windows and granite counters. Here? Even in a bad economy, people seek out old South Pas homes with 100 year old wood sash water glass windows and original kitchen tile. Personally, I'll always choose an antique gas stove like this one over a new Viking range...

17 comments:

Cafe Observer said...

Besides the material, some things of yesterday / last century- old fashioned ethics/morals/virtues & work ethics - might have prevented us from ever falling into a bad economy.

A big obstacle to us ever fully recovering from this fall is that we don't manufacture much of significance anymore. Yet, fellow Americans of the past made these wonderful creations which outlive them.

Just compare the construction of a Craftsman v. a "new" home of today.

The hip & trendy are here for a season, then gone. You know where those can be found.

We've became soft, fat, and out commitment to excellence has become a committment to other "values."

Tanya said...

I want this stove! You know, you just can't do a descent job of heating a tortilla on a flat top stove :)

Babooshka said...

I can see many of those here now. This has just sparked one of my favourite topics. In real life we have homes furnished many styles and not always up to date by choice or income. So when a play/series//film is set say in 1971 low income household do they furnish the set with all mod cons from that year. Credit the audience with imagination. Your stove really did ignite a fire. Photography for you.

B Squared said...

There is a company in Georgia (I think), that takes old, old stoves and rebuilds them with all new "innards." They are very popular and sell for, literally, thousands of dollars. FYI

Bill

http://ftldp.blogspot.com/

Knoxville Girl said...

This looks like my grandmother's kitchen, right down to the tiles on the wall. She made do or did without, Depression era and all - we could benefit from some of that philosophy. Relighting the pilot on the gas oven was always exciting. Entertainment to rival today's multiplex theatres.
I like the way you cropped this photo.

Keith said...

Looks just like my stove!

Yakpate said...

This is the kind of stove that would bake a mean peach cobbler, or biscuits to go with the farm-style platter of eggs,

I've been house-hunting lately, and you're right about the trendy modern kitchen... it has become a status symbol, sought after by people who only use it to microwave TV dinners. Instead of a table in the center of the room, used for everything from folding the laundry to sit-down dinners, now we have a center "island," often rimmed with uncomfortable stools.

I still remember that one of my chores was to sweep the kitchen floor every night after dinner.

altadenahiker said...

I quite like a store in South Pas that sells nothing but old, refurbished stoves. They're works of art, really. Does yours have the griddle in the middle?

Tanya said...

Oh I completely forgot about the ones with the griddle in the middle. We lived in a house years back when we were first married that had an old stove with that griddle, loved it!

Eki Akhwan said...

I like things that remind me of the past ... How old is this stove? It looks like it's still in good shape. Is it yours?

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I've got a Wedgewood, not as clean as the one pictured but still in working order.

Mister Earl said...

AH - The stove store is called Chuck's. They guy there told me that my Magic Chef four burner is worth restoring. I love it. I insisted it stay with the house when I bought it. So I'm cookin' with gas. Mine has a griddle, but I don't use it and it could use a resurfacing. Then ones at Chuck's are shiny and new.

dbdubya said...

Chuck's is on Fair Oaks south of Mission. I bought a restored
'40's O'keefe and Merritt a few years ago to replace an '80's gas stove. The O&M had a griddle in the middle. The stove looked great but I forgot how much heat pilots light put out, and the oven wasn't consistent. Some new things do work better. Got lots of compliments on the stove, but we sold it back to Chuck when we remodeled. Still miss the looks of the old one.

Laurie said...

Hi everyone,

Welcome B Squared!

Yes, this is my own stove. I actually took this picture a few months ago when the Theme Day was "metal." I ended up using another shot of a car, but I found this image the other day and realized how it fit in with my thoughts about South Pas and vintage things. I consider this stove every bit as much of a work of art as any of the paintings hanging nearby its faithful perch in my kitchen.

This stove came with the house -- and it very well may have been refurbished at some point by Chuck's -- a business I have not yet posted about.(Note to self: POST ABOUT CHUCK'S!)

Most of my neighbors have beautiful old stoves, too ... and I'm a sucker for all of them. Some people ogle vintage cars. I ogle vintage appliances.

I actually like the way the pilots put out heat. My husband and I call it the built-in take out pizza box warmer. (No center griddle on ours, though.)

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Til tomorrow...

Judy Williams said...

I thought Wedgewood was only pottery. :~) Fun stuff.

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