Historic & Vacant
Across the street from Memorial Park is a building that keeps more memories than you can imagine.
By Marina Khrustaleva
It turned 120 years old as I write this piece. On February 6, 1902, the Builder & Contractor magazine reported that J. Salter had a two-story brick hay and grain warehouse under construction in Pasadena. The warehouse was commissioned by John Cazaurang and measured 100 x 56 feet. It had a cement floor, gravel roof, 18-inches-thick walls, and the cost was about $6000.
Alice Custance-Baker, a local building conservation expert, researched Mr. Cazaurang’s story. He was “a wealthy Frenchman and one of the most extensive hay and alfalfa growers in the San Gabriel valley.” His crops were so abundant that, in 1901, he was arrested for the excess storage of hay in his old iron-clad barn on Mills Alley. He lost the lawsuit four years later. It looks like this issue cooled down his feelings for Pasadena; in 1906, he left for Rancho Guejito in San Diego County and lived a life full of adventures there.
His contribution to Old Town is shown on the 1903 Sanborn map as a “baled hay warehouse” with a loft. However, it changed owners soon, and a recessed inscription “J. Cazaurang” on the front façade was plastered over to stay hidden for many decades. The structure at 110 East Holly St. was purchased by John Breiner, the founder of the Pasadena Meat Market, to serve as horse stables. Breiners, father and son, were respected citizens and members of many fraternities. The family lived in the first house designed by Greene and Greene, at 826 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena Meat Market
The Pasadena Meat Market was one of the earliest establishments that came to town in 1887. At the beginning of the century, it occupied the southwest corner of Colorado and Broadway (now Arroyo Parkway), just two blocks away from the stables. In 1926, the market moved to a brand-new building at 682-684 East Colorado Blvd. – “one of the finest and the most complete stores of this kind in the west” equipped with ultra-latest devices – a cork-insulated thirty-feet long cooler, sanitary showcases, electric saw, electric slicer, electric grinder, and an umbrella fountain with goldfish and turtles in the window display. In the teens, the Breiners used 22 horses for “carriage trade”; later on, they switched to motorists’ pick-up and delivery. In 1930, John L. Breiner, Jr. sold the family business and moved to Hermosa Beach.
Many different uses
Over the years, the building served many different uses: a garage for 13 cars, the Red Cross thrift store, the Rose Parade float construction shop, Pasadena Spring and Bumper Company, and the Painting Contractor shop. In 1979, when successful local architect Stephen B. Barasch nominated the Holly Street Livery Stables for the National Register of Historic Places, it was serving as furniture storage.
The heyday of this landmark happened much later than its hay days. In 1980, a former vice-president at Security Pacific Bank, Dick Krell, converted it into Josephina’s restaurant. The building improvements, furniture, and equipment totaled almost $1 million resulting in a “lavish setting and informal atmosphere”. Newspapers reported “elegance of the turn-of-the-century”: charming old English entrance, solid oak paneling, stained glass, brass ceiling fans, Tiffany lamps, antique tables, and the early 1900s back bar. The bar itself was an antique teller’s cage from a bank in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Santa Fe rail tracks ran along the angled wall at the time, so the trains rolled past people dining in cozy alcoves with a romantic roar. The menu was mainly Italian with Chicago flavor.
This splendor didn’t last long. The warehouse was turned into offices. In the course of the latest renovation, it has been gutted out and left half-finished. It is for lease again: the new tenant will have a chance to complete this effort or to start over with his own design. Original barn doors, wood window frames, and iron grills shall stay, no matter what.
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