A 1920’s California Town

One of the things I love about my neighborhood is that you can see and feel how much history there is here. Most of the houses in the area were built in the 1920’s, and while very well maintained they still show the character of that bygone era. Adam’s Hill is the neighborhood, and the people here work to preserve that history and charm.

DSCN0678

Adams Square Mini Park

Adam’s hill used to be part of a town called Tropico, although it’s now all part of the city of Glendale. Glendale was established in the 1880’s but the residential boom really happened here in the 1920’s. My next door neighbor told me that the owner of my house 2 owners ago, who had been here for 50 years, was a postman and first dreamed about moving here when it was barely developed and there were only a few houses built on the hill. It looked quite different then! 

early photo Adams Hill

DSCN0681

a view of the hill today from my front door

My favorite spot to drive through is on the corner of Adams and Palmer, where I like to imagine what it might have looked like 80 years ago. I imagine a giant Plymouth parked out front of this ice cream shop as a couple sits inside with a root beer float. 

Adams Hill

the Snowbird Ice Cream owner went on to co-found Baskin Robbins

DSCN0666

corner of Adams and Palmer today

DSCN0668

corner of Adams and Palmer today

Right across from here, the Adams Hill Neighborhood Associate was able to preserve an old gas station built in 1936 by the Richfield Gas Co, that had been abandoned for some time. In 1997 the neighborhood landmark was turned into this beautiful mini park, and there is always someone there during the day, either reading, walking their dog, or playing with their kids in the playground.

DSCN0669

the former Richfield Oil Co. gas station

DSCN0658

Adams Square Mini Park sign reuses the gas station’s original sign

DSCN0675

now the old gas station is surrounded by flowers, trees, and other greenery

DSCN0676

flowers in the park

DSCN0655

this overhang used to protect the gas pumps but now it is a shady spot for a picnic

DSCN0673

there are plenty of places to sit under a tree with a book

And just up the street is this 1928 Art Deco building saved from destruction and recently turned into a neighborhood library. It’s small, but has some basic resources, and offers all sorts of public programs, computer access for neighborhood locals, and even a few video rentals.

DSCN0661

this rescued Art Deco building is now a neighborhood library

Even though California is one of the newer states and doesn’t quite have the history of New England, I’m continually surprised at how much history there actually is here. And I love that there’s so much of it right outside my front door!

 Do you know the history of your neighborhood or town?

Resources:

Advertisements

Historical Downtown Los Angeles

When people think of Los Angeles, they think of glitz and glamour, expensive cars, palatial McMansions, beaches and sunshine. But rarely do they think “historical.” In fact, there’s a surprising amount of history here in LA. The city was being built up quite rapidly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the result is a city of hidden Beaux Arts, Modern, and Art Deco treasures.

This past weekend the hubby joined me on an LA Conservancy tour I have been meaning to take for quite some time, and I’m so glad we finally went. It was a walking tour, close to two and a half hours, that took us through some of LA’s greatest architectural achievements, ending in a finale of sorts at the Bradbury building, considered LA’s single most important work of architecture.

Here are my favorite highlights of the tour. If you are in the LA area, I highly recommend you take one of the conservancy’s tours on your own. They have a bunch to choose from. I personally plan to hit as many as I can over the coming year.

The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel (not actually associated with the national Biltmore you may have heard of, but using the same name nonetheless) is a pretty perfect example of Beaux Arts architecture. With it’s columns and ornamentation at the base floors of the building and ornamentation at the very top, the architects left the majority of the center of the structure relatively simple, as is typical for Beaux Arts design. To me, this looks just like buildings you might see in a city like New York or Chicago. The Biltmore is a gorgeous hotel, and they even offer a traditional afternoon tea for a truly Victorian experience.

DSCN0479

exterior Biltmore Hotel

DSCN0481

ornamentation at the top level of the building, typical of Beaux Arts architecture

DSCN0540

original front entrance
(today, you would likely enter from the other side, an addition to the building from the 1980’s with a covered drive-up area and parking garage)

Pacmutual Center

This building was originally built when Pacmutual was still the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company. Also in the Beaux Arts style, the ornamentation pattern is similar to the Biltmore. The building still holds most of it’s original charm and decorative detailing, making you feel like you have stepped into another time altogether while you wander through the lobby.

DSCN0486

front entrance to the Pacmutual Building

DSCN0484

this was the original Pacific Life Mutual Insurance Company crest, which still sits atop the entrance

DSCN0490

ceiling ornamentation in the main lobby area

DSCN0492

the building still has it’s original marble staircases

DSCN0493

this is also the original mailbox put into the lobby when it was built in 1908

Los Angeles Central Library

The library is one of those places I have always loved and appreciated. Sadly, we’re no longer technically City of Los Angeles residents, so no more checking out books from this magical place! But it’s still a public building, so anyone can visit. Although the architect refused to admit to building in any particular style, the library was built during the beginnings of the popularity of Art Deco, and it shows. He had also just returned from a trip to Turkey, and the tile work and murals throughout clearly reflect that influence.

DSCN0494

the library sits amongst the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles

DSCN0496

tile detail on the library’s pyramid-shaped top

DSCN0495

the US Bank Tower behind the library was once called “Library Tower” because it was built by purchasing air rights from the library; the library would have been torn down were it not for the money generated by this transaction
(Library Tower’s sunburst-shaped top mimics the sunburst on the library’s tile top)

DSCN0498

on the other side of the building, philosophers welcome the library’s patrons as they enter

DSCN0500

this mural has been cleaned, but never restored , so it remains in it’s original (albeit a little faded) form

DSCN0501

the mural on the ceiling of the rotunda is a near perfect replica of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

DSCN0503

more details mimicking the Blue Mosque in Turkey

DSCN0502

this globe hangs from the center of the rotunda

The Edison Building (now called One Bunker Hill)

This is another Art Deco treasure that makes you feel as though you have entered another era when you walk inside. The lobby boasts an incredible amount of beautiful marble work and lots of original details including carved wood elevator interiors and inset ornamentations on the ceiling. Plus, there is a mural painted by Hugo Ballin, the same artists who painted the amazing murals in the rotunda at the Griffith Observatory.

DSCN0506

the Edison Building has had a few additions and updates, but mostly remains in it’s original form

DSCN0510

gorgeous marble work and decorative details in the lobby

DSCN0511

mural by artist Hugo Ballin

DSCN0512

the original wood detail still remains in the elevator interiors

Angel’s Flight and Grand Central Market

Angel’s Flight was recently re-opened to the public, and is a treasured piece of Los Angeles history. It was originally intended as transportation for the residents of the exclusive Bunker Hill (now populated by skyscrapers and performance theaters, and no longer residential) so that they could easily go from the top of the hill to the bottom. At the base of Angel’s Flight is Grand Central Market, which was bustling with activity just like I imagine it has since it opened in 1917!

DSCN0514

Angel’s Flight

DSCN0515

Angel’s Flight in action

DSCN0516

the hustle and bustle of Grand Central Market

Bradbury Building

This was the building we all had been anxiously awaiting our arrival to. You may recognize this one from movies such as Blade Runner and 500 Days of Summer, among many others. The Bradbury Building doesn’t look like much from the outside, but is an incredible feat of architecture on the inside! No one actually knows exactly who the architect was, but Lewis L Bradbury commissioned it at the end of his life so that he may leave a legacy to Los Angeles. He never saw it in it’s finished form, but it certainly is a legacy. The glass ceiling allows light to travel into nearly every corner of the building, and incredible iron work and wood panelling details cover the space unlike any other place I’ve ever seen.

DSCN0518

exterior of the Bradbury Building

DSCN0523

interior Bradbury Building

DSCN0524

incredible detail in the iron work throughout the building

DSCN0525

one angle of the open elevator shafts

DSCN0526

the glass ceiling allows plenty of light to flood into the building

DSCN0528

a front view of one of the elevator hafts

DSCN0529

beautiful wood panelling details covers the walls and ceilings

I’m hoping to jump on LA Conservancy’s Art Deco tour next, but there are so many to choose from!

Do you have a favorite LA architecture gem? Or a favorite from your own city?

Wonderful Wood Antiques at The Snivling Sibbling

DSCN0426

The Snivling Sibbling storefront

Last weekend while wondering around Eagle Rock, I discovered a wonderful antique store called The Snivling Sibbling.  The hubby and I were out and about, and decided to head down to Eagle Rock to find a little lunch joint. When we were done we did a little exploring by foot. Of course I have driven by The Snivling Sibbling many times and have been curious, so I was excited to walk in and see what this shop was all about. Low and behold, it was filled with treasures!

DSCN0405

an overall view of the shop inside

When we first arrived, we were greeted by small sampling of what the store has to offer, lining the sidewalk out front. Something about the entrance also reminded me of the charming old antique stores you might find on a road trip through the small towns of West Virginia.

DSCN0421

The Snivling Sibbling entrance

The shop is not big in size, but it is packed with wonderful antique and vintage furniture, all very reasonably priced and in fantastic condition.

DSCN0402

some treasures at the front of the store

You can find everything from chairs, to tables, dressers, mirrors, and bookshelves. There is even this beautiful art deco bed headboard and foot board (which I definitely would have snatched up if we had had a full sized bed in the house anywhere).

DSCN0414

art deco headboard and foot board

Delightful accessories have homes all around the shop, peppered over the furniture until someone joyfully takes them home.

DSCN0415

accessories are scattered throughout the store

And when you go, don’t forget to look up! Hanging from the ceiling are accessories, furniture, and art, all worthy of snatching up.

DSCN0408

more treasures hanging from the ceiling

In fact we took this chair home, which we found hanging up above. It is the perfect antique addition to balance out some of the more modern aspects of our living room, and looks great in front of our Bachelder fireplace. This chair is probably more similar to the age of our home than most of the furniture we’ve decorated with, and I feel like it brings a bit of nostalgia into our sitting area.

DSCN0435

one of the treasures we were happy to take home with us

The shop was also filled with beautiful mirrors. Some were hanging on the wall, others on the floor propped up against something else. I fully plan to go back for one as we continue decorating our home.

DSCN0406

one of several beautiful mirrors for sale

Jeff, the store’s owner and operator who we met while we were there, had just gotten a few new antiques in and I found his team out back polishing and preparing them for sale.

DSCN0413

a recent arrival, being prepared for sale

I fell in love with this chair, being polished up out back.

DSCN0412

gorgeous chair, probably Victorian, just arrived and being polished up

Before we left, we decided to also pick up this end table. By its original design, it was probably meant for a sitting room. (The little door on the front has a small cigar rack built into the inside.) But I decided to use it in the bedroom. It has a beautiful femininity to it in the wood carving design and the top border, but the rich warm wood makes it elegant and mature.

DSCN0430

another treasure we delightful snagged, now our bedside table

And again, much like the chair, this end table is about the same vintage as the house, so it keeps with the charm of all the lovely vintage details we love so much about our house.

DSCN0431

a beautiful addition to our work-in-progress bedroom decor

What’s your favorite antique store find? Do you have a favorite antique store in the LA area that I should go check out?

Art Deco Meets Science at the Griffith Observatory

Last weekend, a dear friend was visiting from out of town. She used to live in the LA area, and when asked what she wanted to do with her short time here she didn’t hesitate to answer that she wanted to visit the Griffith Observatory!

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

One of the many great things about it is that it’s located in Griffith Park, which some call the Central Park of Los Angeles. Lots of trails for hiking and running, one of which goes directly up to the observatory. (You can also drive right up to it from the other side, but there’s something satisfying about hiking up that steep hill to the reveal of this nugget of Los Angeles history.)

Hiking in Griffith Park

A little backstory of the observatory from the official site:

Exploring the Observatory’s past starts with namesake Griffith J. Griffith, whose plan for a public observatory was as visionary as it was audacious. From Griffith’s bequest in 1919 to the Observatory’s dedication on May 14, 1935, the story shifts to the astronomers, architects, and public leaders who made his vision to reality. From there, the Observatory welcomed 70 million visitors and became the world’s leader in public astronomy, a story told in the context of the building’s four Directors.

In 2002 they closed it down for a few years for some major renovations, and when it opened back up people were so excited that you had to make arrangements in advance just to get in. (Don’t you just love it when people get so excited about science?) Now that the withdrawal symptoms have subsided, it’s easy to go, although still crowded on the weekends.

the front entrance to the observatory

Designed by John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley, the building acts as a science museum and planetarium, hugged by art deco perfection! Geometric art deco design details are everywhere, and the beautiful restoration has left the building crisp and pristine so you can clearly see all of the careful work that was put into designing it. And since art deco was all about honoring the classic themes in architecture while also celebrating the age of the machine, it’s the perfect backdrop for the history of the world as viewed with new, ever developing technologies.

052

art deco dentals

These art deco styled dentals frame the front entry way into the building. And radiating horizontally outward are geometric S-like embellishments, familiar in many deco designs of the time.

051

art deco detail

This detailing follows the building all the way around to the back side, where you can see more of the familiar embellishments and tapered lines so familiar to the style.

065

art deco design and detail

The observation dome atop the building fits with the age of the machine.

064

a view of the observatory from behind

The first thing you see when you walk through the front door is this incredible Foucault Pendulum. “The 240-pound brass ball, suspended by a cable 40 feet long, swings in a constant direction while the Earth turns beneath it.”

053

Foucault Pendulum

Gradually it will knock over each of these pegs, in demonstration that Earth is indeed moving all the time.

056

pegs demonstrating Earth’s rotation

And then when you look up, an incredible mural of astronomy, philosophy, myth, exploration, and art.

054

mural on the ceiling above the pendulum

Inside, they have an entire wall dedicated to the periodic table of elements.

057

periodic table of elements

Each glass square contains the actual element. So if you were ever wondering Scandium looks like, now you know.

058

actual elements on display

They also have an actual working Tesla coil.

066

Tesla Coil

It is VERY loud when it fires off, but it’s still super cool to be able to see and hear the power of electricity.

068

Tesla Coil in action

And for the amateur astronomers out there, wouldn’t you just love to take home this you? Pretty!

067

an astronomer’s dream telescope

There is so much more to see than just these little nuggets. There are exhibits demonstrating the earth’s rotation, the solar system, geological phenomenons, and even a live image of the sun on which you can see solar storms happening in real time! What more can I say except that you must see this place for yourself.

071

deco design and astronomy symbols in the main lobby

On your way out, one more nod to the art deco design of the building, a back lit display of symbols of astronomy.

048

Hollywood sign right next door

I always like to take a moment before I leave to enjoy the views. The observatory sits a top a hill with views in almost all directions, and the famous Hollywood sign is right next door!

074

the view of downtown Los Angeles

In the other direction you can see downtown LA.

063

the view of the ocean

And on a really clear day, you can even see the ocean from here! It seems so close by!

Have you been to the Griffith Observatory? What was your favorite thing about it?