Monday, November 17, 2008

St. Luke's Awaiting

St. Luke's Hospital used to be an East Pasadena icon. Its familiar copper-top dome and, now removed cross, once rose high above most other buildings. Doctors, visitors and patients all enjoyed a magnificent view from the 7-story building, both of the San Gabriel Mountains above and Eaton Canyon below.

Today, the designated Historical Landmark is just another hidden treasure, currently locked up, waiting to be rediscovered and appreciated by the community.

Built in 1933, the Art Deco structure provided a much needed service to the growing population of Pasadena. But after nearly 70 years of service, the failing medical center sold to Caltech in July of 2003. Caltech planned to use the property as a stand-alone, large-scale research program facility.

Last year, however, Caltech sold the 13.4-acre property to a Beverly Hills developer. Their plans are still vague but a spokesperson for the developer claims they are advocating for an “urgent care facility, open space, historic preservation and a use consistent with the neighborhood at the site.”

One of the reasons this hospital is important to me it that it was in those interior walls that I first felt the slap of a hand, took a breath and saw light.


Miss Havisham said...

Hi JT,

So, the lights are on in lobby but the door is padlocked? Did Caltech buy it or sell it or what?

JT said...

I thought I had is saved as "draft..." St. Luke is supposted to post tomorrow. I am doing research now. From what I've learned so far, CalTech sold to an LLC in Beverly Hills in 2007. More to come... said...

My grandmother's niece Sister Anne, was nun superior and whose catholic order was the founders of Saint Luke. My understanding is vague on the details (I'm from the protestant branch of the family). I had an aunt on my mother's side who worked for Sister Anne and said she was a fright. I'm very uneasy with the future of St Lukes and disappointed with Cal Tech for selling.

JT said...

Wow, you're a native, `Ajacent! I'm a gen 3 of Pasadena. I remember the nuns "floating" down the turquoise halls when I was about 8 years old getting 11 stitches in my knee.

I sure hope who ever "develops" this property respects it's history and truly develops a functional and profitable establishment.

Back in the early 80s, a few of us preservationists were concerned that developers would destroy Old Pasadena. I think they did OK.

Let's hope for the best on ol' St. Luke.

Petrea said...

Wow JT, I keep meaning to photograph this place and post about it, and you beat me to the punch. You also did a better post than I could ever do, thanks to your connection to the place. It's really fascinating.

I hope they keep it and find a new use for it. There are so many reasons to do that - not just historical preservation but environmental as well. It's so much better to recycle a building than to tear it down and build a new one.

But I like this place. I'd love to see inside.