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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: The Quaint Homes Of Pasadena's Bungalow Heaven

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Tucked away in Pasadena is the aptly named Bungalow Heaven—16 blocks of over 800 charming bungalows, mostly built during the first part of the 20th century.

The iconic bungalows of L.A. emerged as a response to the rapid industrialization of the era. While they're a hot real estate option today, not all have survived decades of change and progress, and you'd be hard-pressed to find as large a cluster of them as Bungalow Heaven.

It wasn't always the case that Bungalow Heaven's homes were protected from the bulldozer's wrath. Writing for the neighborhood's website, Bob Kneisel recalls the development that galvanized the movement to protect the houses:

Along about 1985 a developer demolished a 2-story Craftsman bungalow on the southwest corner of Wilson Ave. and Washington Blvd. He then proceeded to erect one of the tackiest apartment houses anyone had ever seen. People suddenly realized that the neighborhood was changing, and it was all perfectly legal! The three lots south of Washington Blvd. were zoned for apartments. Some of the more concerned neighbors began phoning others, and set up a meeting to see what could be done. Soon the precariousness of our neighborhood became clear. To keep our bungalows from being demolished and replaced with a wall of apartment buildings, we would have to aggressively push through a "downzoning" to zone the land back to single family use.

So we circulated petitions, drew more and more people to meetings, insisted that other City Council members listen to us — and we showed them the new apartment building.

After months and months of discussion, hearings, arguing with landowners expecting to bulldoze and cash in, we won. The city changed the zoning of the strip on the south edge of Washington Blvd. to three-units-per-acre. This made building apartments uneconomical, and preserved the existing homes.

In 1989, the city of Pasadena declared the neighborhood its first official historic district, and almost twenty years later it got listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.
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Visitors can get an up-close-and-personal look at several of the homes in the neighborhood this Sunday (April 24th) when Bungalow Heaven hosts their 27th annual tour. On the self-guided tour, you can even get an inside look at a few bungalows under the guidance of docents. If walking isn't your thing, there will also be trolley tours of the neighborhood. Live demonstrations of restoration work, live music, and food trucks will also be on hand. In the gallery above, you can get a preview of Bungalow Heaven.

Bungalow Heaven's 27th annual home tour will take place on Sunday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance (here) for $20, or $25 on the day of the event. There will also be four trolley tours during the day, with tickets at $10.

Bungalow Heaven is located in Pasadena, north of the 210 freeway between Lake and Hill avenues, and Washington and Orange Grove avenues. Tickets for the events can be purchased at McDonald Park at the intersection of Mar Vista Avenue and Mountain Street.

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