Sunday, December 04, 2016

Castle Green

Castle Green tourists in its early days
I've been intrigued by Pasadena's Castle Green ever since I noticed what I now know is a bridge that used to reach across Raymond Avenue, connecting east and west structures of the Hotel Green resort. Built in the late 1890s, the magnificent hotel was a getaway for rich tourists wishing to experience Southern California's sunny climate. The eastern half of the resort was eventually destroyed, but the western half remains as a private condo complex. Although the property is open to the public twice a year—on Mother's Day and again in December—we've never been able to squeeze the tour into our busy schedule. That is, until today.

The grounds, first floor and several units at Castle Green were open today, starting at 1PM. Not wanting to drive all the way to Pasadena, we instead took three different lightrail lines from Culver City. We left the house at 11:15AM and arrived at the Castle 20 minutes early. There was already a line to get in. Twenty-five minutes later, we were inside, roaming around the first floor, while a choir sang Christmas songs. Taking a tip from someone who had done the tour before, we climbed seven flights of stairs and started at the penthouse, which was originally built as a conservatory for tropical plants. Its glass ceiling was covered during WWII and now the space is the largest apartment in the building. Its view of Pasadena is spectacular.

On our way into the building

 Lobby staircase

View of Pasadena

From there, we walked down the staircase to each floor, where several tenants welcomed us—and everyone else—into their homes. Most of the units were small—one bedroom at most—but each one was completely unique, reflecting the tastes and interests of its occupant(s). If I didn't love our house so much, I would have been ready to pack everything up and move to Castle Green in a flash. Of course, we would have to get rid of 90% of our stuff to fit into a one-bedroom unit, but what a wonderful place to live!

Wrought iron staircase

A Buddhist shrine in one living room

Another living room was completely Victorian

Kitchens were tiny, but a focal point—this one was recently

Another kitchen (my fave) was completely retro: mauve cabinets
with yellow counters, refrigerator, and . . .

stove (I want one!)

Yet another style of kitchen. As one woman said, how does
one even cook in here?

Bathrooms were fun, too—most with ancient

I loved this pink one the best

Interesting light fixtures

Love this!

Two enormous lamp shades in the downstairs sitting room

View of the remaining bridge from one of the unit's balcony 

North end of complex

One of two distinctive turrets

Turret (detail)

Bridge (detail)


Suzanne said...

Thanks for your wonderful introduction. Maybe we will try to go next Mother's Day, It sure looks amazing.

Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Cindy, this is excellent photo-journalistic coverage! I would love to visit this place--I'll be waiting a year though, as I love the little touches of Christmas decor.
The crowds of Los Angeles are worth tolerating for all the many beautiful old buildings (like that Culver Hotel you must not be far from). It sounds like even though there was a line when you arrived, it still only took five minutes or so to get in after it opened? The light rail idea sounds like a smart (and fun) way to go too.
Of these images, the Victorian room is my fave.
When I lived in Santa Ana, our neighborhood had a Christmas walking tour of the Victorian homes--rooms were small and someone said the majority of people were small in those days. Even if so, those kitchens do look tiny--bright side; maybe it shortens cooking time when you eliminate footsteps.
Thanks for sharing!!!

Cyn said...

Thanks, Tracie! The line wasn't bad when we arrived. The building was actually far more crowded toward the end of our two hours, especially in some of the tinier units, like the Victorian you liked. My advice would be to go as early as possible to avoid folks who arrive late! There is no set schedule, plus you're on your own once you arrive, so you can decide which units to see or not.