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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue54

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Why Bungalow Heaven stands as Pasadena's most significant neighborhood

Pasadena, California. A nation leader in historic preservation. Lets forget tha fact that Bungalow
Heaven is home of ThaWilsonBlock, today's source for the city's local music scene. According to the City of Pasadena and a federal registry, Bungalow Heaven stands as arguably tha most significant neighborhood in Pasadena, CA as far as architectural preservation is concerned. Dating back between 1888 - 1929, tha 16-block neighborhood was developed with one and two-story residential homes. Fast forward to the late 1980's, Bungalow Heaven has impressively managed to sustain and uphold it's intrinsic value.

Most bungalows built in Bungalow Heaven were during the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century. Because there was growing demand for industrialization during this period, tha individual craftsman had to hone his/her own creative skills. The typical bungalow is one-and-The Gamble House is the most prominent example of Arts & Crafts architecture in Pasadena, homes in Bungalow Heaven reflect the way typical families lived during that time period.
a-half stories high with open floor plans, wide verandas, and sloping roofs. Inside of these prestigious works of art feature many amenities that were built-in to the property like cabinets and shelves.

If you were to ask the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association or anyone down at Pasadena City Hall, chances are that they would confirm the neighborhood's boundaries are roughly bounded by Mentor Avenue to tha West, Orange Grove Boulevard to tha South, Washington Blvd to tha North, and Hill Ave to tha East. Though this may be technically true, today's residents have accepted the entire community from Lake to Hill, Washington to Orange Grove as part of Bungalow Heaven. The neighborhood features McDonald Park which covers approximately 4.9 acres.

But, why are we saying BH is Pasadena's most significant neighborhood? Aside from the fact that they boast a whopping 800+ Craftsman-style homes, it is Pasadena's largest landmark district that is  listed in tha National Register of Historic Places. Although Pasadena has many landmark districts, very few of them have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Bungalow Heaven, nestled in the North Central area of the city, is also recognized by the Office of Historic Preservation. To help readers gain a bit more clarity, let's quickly read about these agencies and what it means to be recognized by them.


Landmark District: A landmark district is a grouping of contiguous properties that is united by plan or physical development and represents a specific aspect of the city's history. Residents of a neighborhood begin the process by proposing a district and working  with city staff to define the boundaries of the district and organize a community meeting to inform property owners of the effects of landmark district designation.  The residents then submit an application to the City for designation of a landmark district.  At least 51% of affected property owners must sign the petition in support of the designation.  Public hearings are held before the Historic Preservation Commission,
Planning Commission, and City Council.  The City Council has the final authority to designate an area as a landmark district. For historic buildings, the City is authorized to use the State Historical Building Code, an alternative code that allows limited modifications to current building code standards.  The use of this code can save a property owner money (e.g., a porch railing that does not meet the current standards for height could be kept instead of replaced with a higher railing).  Landmark district designation also makes it possible for property owners to access professional consultation, free of charge, from City staff who have expertise in historic building rehabilitation. In addition, houses in designated landmark districts are eligible for a property tax reduction under the Historic Property Contract (Mills Act) program.
The National Register of Historic Places: The official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Office of Historic Preservation: The idea of an Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) began in 1953 with the establishment of the History Section of the Division of Beaches and Parks (the precursor to today's California State Parks). Eventually, in 1975, the Office of Historic Preservation was officially established within the offices of the Director of California State Parks. The formation of the OHP was an outgrowth of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which called for the creation of a state agency to implement provisions of the law, including the preparation of a responsibilities of the OHP have grown to encompass a variety of federal and state preservation laws and agencies.
comprehensive historic preservation plan and a statewide survey of historical resources. Since its inception, the
The cool thing about Pasadena's amazing neighborhoods is that every landmark district has some sort of unique heritage. The Historic Highlands is one of the city's newer formed neighborhood districts, but it's awesome how their community spans into Altadena. Garfield Heights also covers some pretty cool ground. Orange Heights, a very small landmark area, is where Chris Holden is from, a California Assembly member for the SGV region.

If you would like to see these Bungalow Heaven beauties up close & personal, they host an annual home tour event of tha neighborhood to educate people and potential home buyers on the rich heritage and significance that dwells there.

Learn more about Bungalow Heaven and Pasadena's esteemed landmark districts

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