Touring Mid-Century San Gabriel Valley With Ask Chris


As anybody who reads Ask Chris knows, I love the people and the stories and the history of old Los Angeles.  Since 1977 the Los Angeles Conservancy has been working to save the historic architecture and unique buildings that give Southern California its unique character and I’ve been immersed in it since I was a teenager. The Modern Committee of the Conservancy specializes in mid-century design and this weekend I led a group of ModCom members out to the San Gabriel Valley, where I’m from, in search of landmarks high and low from the 1920s to the 1970s. We saw a New Formalist pill factory, an Egyptian modern city of bowling and a pair of giant donuts. Here’s an architectural itinerary you might follow the next time you find yourself on Route 66 east of Pasadena.


Macy’s (Formerly Bullock’s Pasadena)

401 South Lake Avenue  Pasadena, CA

1946, Wurdeman and Becket


Stuart Pharmaceutical (Now Stuart Apartments)

3360 E. Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena

1958, Edward Durrell Stone


Clearman’s Galley

7215 N Rosemead Boulevard  San Gabriel, CA

(North Woods Inn moved 1968) Galley restaurant 2007, Brian R. Bloom


Santa Anita Park

285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia

1934, Gordon Kaufmann


Aztec Hotel

311 West Foothill Boulevard  Monrovia, CA

1925, Robert Stacy-Judd


Covina Bowl

1060 West San Bernardino Road  Covina, CA

1956, Powers, Daly and DeRosa


Reynolds Buick

345 N. Citrus Ave., West Covina, CA

1964, Architect unknown


West Covina City Hall

1444 West Garvey Ave., West Covina, California

1969, Neptune & Thomas


Driftwood Dairy

10724 Lower Azusa Rd., El Monte, CA

1961, Theodore Masterson (builder)


The Donut Hole

15300 E. Amar Road, La Puente

1968, Edmund C. Foerstel, Jesse Hood, Ed McCreany, and John Tindall


Bahooka Restaurant

4501 N Rosemead Blvd  Rosemead, CA

1976, Architect unknown


Vincent Lugo Park, La Laguna de San Gabriel

300 W. Wells St., San Gabriel, CA

1965, Benjamin Dominguez