Pasadena Architectural Jewels II, Pasadena

Pasadena Architectural Jewels II (Self Guided), Pasadena

In the second part of our journey through Pasadena's architectural gems, we'll continue to uncover the city's rich artistic heritage through five more distinguished landmarks, some of which have made appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Saint Andrew's Church is a striking example of Romanesque & Byzantine Revival architecture, distinguished for its soaring belfry and intricately decorated interior.

Pasadena City Hall: This grand civic building is a masterpiece of the Mediterranean Revival style. The iconic dome, ornate details, and beautifully landscaped courtyards make it a symbol of civic pride.

The impressive Scottish Rite Cathedral, a gathering place for Masonic rituals and cultural events, evokes a sense of grandeur with its Zig Zag Moderne design.

Pasadena Playhouse: Completed in 1917, this historic theater has hosted countless performances and nurtured aspiring actors. Its vibrant Spanish Colonial Revival exterior continue to enchant theater enthusiasts to this day.

Finally, Robert R. Blacker House will certainly be recognized by movie buffs as the iconic residence of Doc Brown in the "Back to the Future" film series. This unique Bungalow gem is a must-visit destination if only for its cinematic history.

Pasadena's architectural treasures are a testament to the city's commitment to preserving its past. As you explore these locations, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and history that define Pasadena's architectural jewels.
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Pasadena Architectural Jewels II Map

Guide Name: Pasadena Architectural Jewels II
Guide Location: USA » Pasadena (See other walking tours in Pasadena)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Author: HollyB
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Andrew's Church
  • Pasadena City Hall
  • Scottish Rite Cathedral
  • Pasadena Playhouse
  • Robert R. Blacker House ("Back to the Future" Movie Site)
St. Andrew's Church

1) St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrew's Catholic Church was founded in 1886 and it is the oldest Catholic parish in Pasadena and one of the oldest in Los Angeles County. Its Romanesque Revival campanile bell tower is visible for miles and is one of the landmarks of Pasadena. The interior of the current church, built in 1927, was modeled after the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome, while the fa├žade was modeled after the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, down the hill and slightly upriver from Santa Sabina.

The current home of St. Andrew's Church, built in 1927 at an estimated cost of $1,000,000, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and important churches in Southern California. The style of architecture, without and within, is that of early Christian churches of the Byzantine era. The architect, Ross Montgomery, and the church's pastor, Msgr. McCarthy, both traveled to Italy studying early Byzantine architecture to find inspiration for the new church in Pasadena. The Los Angeles Times later commented on the contributions of Montgomery and McCarthy: "The collaboration of the architect and the priest has produced an edifice that will remain a monument to the memory of both." Montgomery and McCarthy found their principal inspiration at Santa Sabina, a basilica in Rome built in 432 A.D., on which they modeled St. Andrew's.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Pasadena City Hall

2) Pasadena City Hall (must see)

Pasadena City Hall, completed in 1927, serves as the central location for city government in Pasadena and it is a significant example of the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s. In 1923, the people of Pasadena approved a bond measure issuing $3.5 million towards the development of a civic center. City Hall was to be the central element of this center.

The San Francisco architecture firm of Bakewell and Brown designed the City Beautiful and California Mediterranean of Mediterranean Revival Style and Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture influenced City Hall. It was completed on December 27, 1927 at a cost of $1.3 million. It measures 361 feet (110 m) by 242 feet (74 m), and rises 6 stories. There are over 235 rooms and passageways that cover over 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2). The defining dome, located above the west entrance, is 26 feet (7.9 m) tall and 54 feet (16 m) in diameter.

The City Hall has long been a favorite shooting location for filmmakers. The courtyard was used in the 1995 movie "A Walk in the Clouds" to portray a Napa Valley town square. It has also been used as an embassy in the "Mission: Impossible" television series, and a villa in Charlie Chaplin's Oscar-nominated 1940 film "The Great Dictator." Pasadena City Hall currently serves as the city hall of fictional Pawnee, Indiana, in the television show "Parks and Recreation."
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Scottish Rite Cathedral

3) Scottish Rite Cathedral

Scottish Rite Cathedral was built in 1925 in a Moderne and/or Zig Zag Moderne style.

Architecturally significant in greater Los Angeles as a pre-PWA Classical Moderne building with distinctive decorative guardian sphinxes, the Scottish Rite Cathedral is associated strongly with the social history of Pasadena, in particular with the Scottish Rite, an appendant body associated with Freemasonry.

The building was designed and/or built by Joseph J. Blick and W.C. Crowell. Joseph Blick is remembered for the Scottish Rite Cathedral and designed many homes in Pasadena.

In 1984, the building was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places based on its importance and documentation thereof, but the building was not finally listed (NRIS reference number 84003894, decision date October 3, 1984). The listing was cancelled due to owner objection, which under terms of the National Register program, vetoes the listing.

The building was built in 1925. It cost approximately $300,000, was described as magnificently furnished and was dedicated at a ceremony on February 18, 1925 attended by approximately 1700 high-degree masons and their families.

As of 2020, the building is still in use by the Scottish Rite organization.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Pasadena Playhouse

4) Pasadena Playhouse

The Pasadena Playhouse is California's state theater and has welcomed audiences with top-notch entertainment for over 100 years. This theater's auditorium seats 686 in a building constructed in Spanish Colonial Revival-style. Many of the plays by top playwrights such as Eugene O'Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tennessee Williams premiered at this theater.

This theater stands out because of its superior acoustics and stage design that helped it become an early pioneer in community theater. Taking a tour of the theater is a perfect way to learn valuable insights about its history and the actors who helped make it famous. Visiting the green room provides an exciting look into all the preparation required for actors to get ready when appearing on-stage.

Another exciting part of the tour is a visit to a Craftsman-style library that offers all kinds of exciting information. The decor inside the auditorium area reflects the building's 1920s origins. This theater also boasts modern lighting and other effects that bring the sets to life.
Robert R. Blacker House ("Back to the Future" Movie Site)

5) Robert R. Blacker House ("Back to the Future" Movie Site)

The Robert R. Blacker House, also known as the Blacker House or Robert Roe Blacker House in Pasadena, enjoys status on the National Register of Historic Places. This unique home was constructed in 1907, and each part of the home features custom designs. A major restoration took place between 1994 and 1999.

Some of the highlights of the home's construction include Douglas fir and California redwood. The design used for this home incorporates many of the elements used in Japanese homes. Some of the key features include windows that allow for natural lighting and a cross-ventilation layout that allows more cool air in.

The Blacker House has a claim to fame because of its use in the Back to the Future movies. In the movies, the house provided the interior shots for scenes that took place in Doc's house. Even though many of the interior items seen did not survive the renovation, visitors may still tour the grounds.

This house is worth visiting to see the grounds and appreciate the artistry that went into its construction.

Walking Tours in Pasadena, California

Create Your Own Walk in Pasadena

Create Your Own Walk in Pasadena

Creating your own self-guided walk in Pasadena is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Pasadena Architectural Jewels I

Pasadena Architectural Jewels I

The city of grand architectural heritage unmatched by any other Southland destination, Pasadena, California, boasts an array of beautiful buildings and construction engineering marvels. As the birthplace of the ultimate craftsman bungalows created by architects Henry and Charles Greene in the early 1900s and home to the most stunning 1920s period revival styles in the Southland, Pasadena...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
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Pasadena Introduction Walking Tour

Only ten miles away from Los Angeles but having a distinct character, Pasadena is most famous for being host to the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl. With a location at the San Gabriel Mountains' feet, the city initially received its fame as a resort town in 1886.

The city's name comes from a word in the Chippewa language that translates to "Crown of the Valley."...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles