About Historic Highlands

/About Historic Highlands
About Historic Highlands2018-07-01T21:08:09+00:00

HHNA BOARD MEMBERS 2017:

Co-Presidents: Jama Meyer and Clint Palmer

Treasurer: Kathleen Wood

Secretary: Sheila Spiro

HHNA Committee Chairs 2017:

Altadena: Robert Bullock and David Anderson

Communication: Jama Meyer

Film Liaison: Jeffrey Thurnher

Historic Preservation: Marc Reusser

Neighborhood Watch: Adriana Tiner

Triangle Maintenance: Clint Palmer

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Anne Leach

Welcome To The Historic Highlands Neighborhood Association

The Historic Highlands Neighborhood Association (HHNA) was formed in the early 1990’s to facilitate and encourage neighbors to collectively work together to build a stronger community and provide a unified voice to City Hall, when needed.

The HHNA consists of an all volunteer board and a number of subcommittees focused on events/issues affecting the neighborhood. Today you will find the Historic Highlands a vibrant neighborhood, with many community activities which reinforce and encourage a strong bond between neighbors.

Annual events usually include the Historic Highlands Home Tour, Fourth of July Parade & BBQ, and the Block Party.  There are typically two neighborhood General Meetings held in the Spring and Fall each year to update the neighborhood on events and issues impacting the neighborhood area.
Our neighborhood is enriched by our events and your involvement. Whenever we can grow and interact as neighbors, our neighborhood benefits.

The HHNA is continually looking to help create more opportunities for neighbors to come together.

If you would like to volunteer for any of our committees or have ideas to further enrich our neighborhood, please contact us via the Contact Form on the Contact Page of this site.

In January 2008, the Pasadena portion of Historic Highlands became the 16th Landmark District in Pasadena. Preliminary plans are currently underway to obtain landmark status for the Altadena portion of Historic Highlands. This may take a year or two, depending on the level of volunteer efforts and how quickly LA County is willing to support and facilitate the Landmarking effort.

Creating Landmark Districts which encompass the entire Historic Highlands geographic neighborhood (both Pasadena and Altadena portions) is essential to maintain the quality and cohesiveness of this historical neighborhood.

This designation will preserve the neighborhoods historic integrity and insure the architectural legacy of our homes for many generations.

Please Join Us on Nextdoor Historic Highlands. It is a private social network for you, your neighbors and our Neighborhood Association. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Nextdoor’s mission is to provide a trusted platform where neighbors work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world.

Historic Highlands History:

Historic Highlands began at the turn of the century and came of age during the first World War and the economic boom of the 1920’s.  From orange groves too early 20th century suburb, by the time of Historic Highlands’ incorporation into the City of Pasadena in 1925 it had transformed from a remote country outpost to a bustling and varied neighborhood.

Original Estate and Landowners
What is known today as the Historic Highlands encompasses the estates and land holdings of two prominent Pasadena pioneers:  Ezra Dane, an orchardist who settled here in 1883 and David MacPherson, former Santa Fe Railroad design engineer of the famed Mt. Lowe railroad.

Click below for more about these Pasadena pioneers and our neighborhood’s architecture styles.

Ezra Dane crossed the plains from Massachusetts sometime between 1849 and 1852 and settled in Sonora County in Northern California where he became a prosperous farmer.  Driven from the area by an outbreak of malaria in the early 1880’s, he moved his family to Pasadena in 1883 where he purchased 160 acres in the San Pasqual Rancho area, known as “the place where every tree is pleasant to the sight and good for food” and began planting orchards.

In 1885, Dane and his wife Lois built their substantial ranch home from the first lumber brought to Pasadena by steam locomotive.  From the house known for many years as “Sunnyridge on the Highlands”, Dane oversaw orchard and livestock operations on his land, which stretched north from Washington to Woodbury Road and east from Holliston to a point midway between modern day Mar Vista and Catalina.  He grew peaches, apricots, prunes and citrus, and raised some livestock – including about a hundred hogs – on Elizabeth Street.  A driveway from Washington to his home was lined with a double row of palm trees still visible in the backyards of homes between Michigan and Chester.

As Pasadena grew north and east, homes were being built all around the ranch so the Danes began selling their land a parcel at a time. In 1912, they subdivided the land immediately adjacent to the ranch house, creating building lots on Holliston, Chester, Michigan, Mar Vista, Denver (now Howard) and Rio Grande.  The lots were sold to members of Pasadena’s prosperous business and professional class who had substantial homes custom built on the large lots during the ensuing decades.  Ezra and Lois Dane lived in the home until their deaths in the early 1920’s.

MacPherson owned much of the land bordered by New York Drive on the north and Washington Blvd. on the south, in what is now the western part of the neighborhood. The east/west streets were given names of the railroads: Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe (now Elizabeth), Denver (now Howard), and Rio Grand. The names Catalina and Mar Vista acknowledge the great view of the ocean at that time. MacPherson built a home at 1075 Topeka in 1906 and was living at 1120 Atchison at the time of his death.

MacPherson teamed with famous entrepreneur Thaddeus Lowe to design and build the Echo Mountain Incline Railway which made its first official trip on July 4th, 1893.  Four million visitors enjoyed the breathtaking views and fresh mountain air for more than 40 years until the railway stopped operating in 1937.

The earliest architectural style represented in Pasadena is Victorian, but Pasadena is mostly associated with the Craftsman style.  Many significant local architects introduced Period and Revival style homes which were well received by cosmopolitan residents. The Prairie style might be attributed to emigrants from the Midwest.  Indeed, the Prairie style home is quite at home next to the California Bungalow.  Both share honest craftsmanship and find inspiration in the simplicity and beauty of nature.  True to the craftsman ethic of using locally found materials, locally grown oak and Douglas fir are used throughout the homes in Historic Highlands, as well as art tile from
Southern California’s artisan community.  River rock has commonly been used for foundations and chimneys, and likely came from the Arroyo Seco.  Craftsman and Prairie homes were reactions to the industrialization and heavy, non-functional ornamentation of Victorians.

The architectural details in the homes of Historic Highlands find inspiration from all over the world.  Influential local architects Greene & Greene were inspired by the Japonaiserie movement when they visited the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.  In the 1920’s, American architecture was influenced by both European and early American architecture.  Not necessarily faithful reproductions, Period revival homes liberally borrowed attractive or romanticized elements.  The European flair of Period revival homes suggested the culture and prestige of its residents.
Futhermore, in Southern California, Period revival movements represent a reaction against the dark organic interiors of the Craftsman style in favor of brightly lit and open rooms.  Colonial revival reflects national pride and became popular following the country’s 1876 Centennial.  Similarly, the Mission revival style recognizes early California’s cultural heritage and was popularized following the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego in 1915.

Today Historic Highlands has representations of many different architectural styles and cultures.

HHNA Neighborhood Watch Program Goals are to:

(1)   coordinate the existing Neighborhood Watch block captains into a team that can more effectively inform and protect our neighborhood,

(2)   foster productive relationships between our local police departments and our neighborhood,

(3)   utilize the Neighborhood Watch organization for emergency preparedness.

Although individual Neighborhood Watch programs can be instrumental in stopping crimes in the neighborhood on a block-by-block basis, we can be even more effective by working together on a neighborhood-wide basis.  This will allow us to see crime trends and to garner the support of the entire neighborhood should problems arise.  As a Block Captain, you obtain crime statistics for your area and alert your neighbors to crime and safety issues.

If you are currently serving as a Block Captain or are interested in serving, please contact Anne Leach (afleach76@gmail.com).  Also, if your block is currently experiencing a problem that would benefit from neighborhood support, please contact Anne.

All of us can help keep our neighborhood safe and clean by reporting all suspicious activity to the police, reporting out street lights, and calling for removal of graffiti and abandoned shopping carts.

Historic Highlands has many events

Today you will find the Historic Highlands a vibrant neighborhood, with many community activities which reinforce and encourage a strong bond between neighbors.  Annual events include the, Fourth of July Parade & BBQ, Block Parties and Wine Socials. Historic Highlands Home Tours are periodically held. There are HHNA General Meetings held in the Spring and Fall of each year to update the neighborhood on events and issues impacting the neighborhood area.

VOLUNTEER

The reality is that our neighborhood is enriched by many events and involvements, e.g.block parties, welcoming committees, crime watch, and even just introducing yourself. Whenever we can grow and interact as neighbors, our neighborhood benefits.  The HHNA is continually looking to help create more opportunities for neighbors to come together.  If you would like to volunteer for any of our committees or have ideas to further enrich our neighborhood, please contact us via the Contact Page.