Castle Green – Pasadena

Early 20th Century Elegance

P1030150Castle Green – Pasadena

Last Visit – Mother’s Day Tour • May 8, 2016 (the self-guided tour I took is below this original report)

When I have friends visit from out of town, one place always grabs their attention as we drive around town. In the early 20th century, Pasadena was home to one of the most luxurious hotels around. It was called The Hotel Green (now called Castle Green). This is from Castle Green’s website: “One of Pasadena’s most unique buildings, the Castle Green was built in 1898 as the annex for the famous Hotel Green. The Castle Green is an imposing seven story Moorish Colonial and Spanish style building sitting next to Central Park in Old Pasadena at Raymond and Green Street. The Castle Green was built by Col. George G. Green of the Patent Medicine Business.

300px-HotelgreenWesternArch1905Going back a few years, a businessman by the name of Edward Webster had built a hotel here near the Intercontinental Santa Fe railroad line, ostensibly to have folks from the east coast and Midwest come to Pasadena to escape those brutal winters.  Colonel Green helped finance that hotel.  Webster went belly-up, so Green became the owner of the hotel (Hotel Green photo below from Pasadena Library circa 1896).

Around_Pasadena_Hotel_Green-thumb-600x506-75946One of the old hotel’s famous guests was president Benjamin Harrison.

600px-Presidents_Benjamin_HarrisonMore from the Castle Greeen website: “The Castle Green, opened in 1899 as the second of three buildings in the Hotel Green complex, was a lavish resort for easterners and others escaping winter rigors.  Architect Frederick I. Roehrig, for what was later to be called the Central Annex, drew on Moorish, Spanish, Victorian, and other stylistic elements to produce Pasadena’s most stunningly original building. He blended domes, arches, pillars, balconies, and verandahs in a building of structural steel with brick walls and concrete floors, making it Pasadena’s first fireproof building.

history12“He tied it to the first part of the hotel complex, built on the east side of the street, by an ornate enclosed bridge crossing Raymond Avenue (see above). When the Annex opened for business, its two cylindrical towers on the south and much of the roof line were illuminated with exterior lights. There was even a penthouse garden with a glass roof.”

CGAfter completion of the annex of the Hotel Green, the hotel now had 550 sleeping rooms and 375 baths.

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“The Hotel Green was home to the Tournament Of Roses and The Valley Hunt Club. At the end of the resort era, the west annex was purchased by a group of regular hotel guests who wished to continue to come to the Hotel Green. In 1924 the group of investors divided the hotel complex into three parts. The Central Annex was divided into fifty individually owned units and so it remains today, renamed the Castle Green.”

P1030156The Castle Green have been turned into condos, but it is one of the oldest standing historic landmarks in Los Angeles County.  It still retains many of its original features from its construction including the oldest wrought iron elevator on the west coast.

P1030154Castle Green also features beautiful moldings, hand carved fireplace mantles, and original lighting. The east side of the building and the bridge are sadly long gone (there was a Stats holiday store there for many years, but it recently went out of business).

P1030159Still  a lovely oasis in Pasadena, the Castle Green does have a couple of open houses during the year (Spring, Mother’s Day and Christmas time) when regular folks like us can catch a glimpse of old Pasadena history.  As you can see, the property is very photogenic, especially on a beautiful, sunny morning (well aren’t they all beautiful in Pasadena) when I took all these photos.

              P1030160May 8, 2016 Mother’s Day Tour:

OK, I lied above…not all days in Pasadena are sunny.

P1060871However that did not deter me (along with hundreds of others) from visiting on Mother’s Day to check out the interior of this historic building.

IMG_4877I parked on nearby Fair Oaks and approached the Castle Green from the rear.

P1060870Walking inside the gates, I was in the stunningly beautiful garden, complete with a koi pond (lots of koi ponds in this town…so many that I have run out of puns).

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After checking in, I checked out the front patio…

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…before entering the Main Entry (aka Lobby).

P1060891The floor is a white and green mosaic tile, and the chandelier isn’t too shabby either.

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There is a portrait of Colonel Green in the room.

P1060894Next stop on the self-guided tour was the Grand Salon.  The ceiling contains beams decorated in various colors.

P1060940The highlight of this room was the baronial fireplace, which was “surrounded by green-glazed tiles surmounted with a mantle shelf placed at an exaggerated height. The mirror above was set within a paneled over-mantle of Port Orford cedar.”  It was my favorite mantle I had seen since Mickey.  The fire added a nice touch on this overcast day.

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From the Grand Salon I made my way to the Moorish Room, which at one time was one of only two “Ladies’ Rooms.”

P1060874The information stated that the mosaic-tiled fireplace had chevron patterns, yet there was no gas pump in sight.

P1060878Much of the furniture and items in this room are original (some from Cairo and Damascus)…

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…not including a hand-decorated, silk Fortuny lamp shade at the ceiling, which was donated by one one of the Castle Green’s residents.

 

P1060880The Turkish Room contains another cool fireplace (oxymoron alert).  The faux painting imitates Rosa Verona marble, which was a popular type back in the Victorian era.  On top of the fireplace was a piece that looked like “the most interesting man in the world.”

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The Turkish Room also contains mostly original furniture pieces, like this colorful chair.

P1060884I walked back through the lobby to the Palm Room, which was not pat of the original construction of the hotel.  It was created in the early 1900s and is utilized now for dances, weddings, dinners and other events…like the Mother’s Day Tea that was held earlier in the day.  By the time I got there, not even a leftover croissant could be found.

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Back in the lobby I ascended the ornate, wrought iron staircase of Carrera marble.

P1060938Upstairs, I took a quick photo of the open-cage elevator, one of the few that still survive in Southern California.  Obviously the elevator market has had its ups and downs.  The elevator was not in working order, which helped me since I had just started my seventh diet of the new year.

P1060902I entered the old pedestrian bridge that used to span Raymond Avenue (200 feet in length at the time) connecting the two wings of the hotel.  Inside the “bridge area” now was a place where you you could buy souvenirs.

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I spied an old phone.  I wondered how they charged it.

P1060906There was a nice view onto the interior front garden from the interior of the bridge.

P1060907I visited a few rooms that were open for the public to visit.  I thought this room in the front…

P1060909…had a little better view than this one in the rear, but all the rooms were very interesting to tour (respecting the owners’ privacy, I took no photos in the rooms).

P1060915Speaking of views, from an outside patio, there was a nice view of the nearby Central Park.

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I meandered down a few more hallways with some interesting artifacts and door knockers…

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…before taking  a walk around the interior garden one last time.

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The next tour of the Castle Green takes place in December for the Holiday Tour.

P1060933Mark your calendars for Sunday, December 4.

P1060927I think you’ll have a great time visiting one of Pasadena’s most historic buildings.

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The Castle Green is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the State Historic Register and the City of Pasadena’s list of Historic Places. The gardens and portions of its interior can even be rented out for weddings and parties.

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Castle Green
99 South Raymond Avenue • Pasadena 91105

Castle Green Mother’s Day Tour
Tickets:  www.brownpapertickets.com/event2891231
(This tour will be a self-guided one. It will include the ground floor, parts of the basement, the stunning rooftop view, the penthouse and some very well appointed private apartments, allowed at their owner’s discretion)
Tour & Tea Combination: $85.00 ($88.97 w/service fee)
Tour Only: $30.00 ($32.04 w/service fee)
Tour (day of event): $35

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