GreenStreetVillage is the newest Landmark District in Pasadena CA.
Located just east of South Lake Blvd on beautiful Green Street between Mentor and Wilson,
GSV offers both locals and out-of-towners
the opportunity to stroll along Green Street and enjoy the restaurants and shops. Not far from Caltech and the Pasadena Playhouse, GreenStreetVillage is thrilled to be part of
HISTORY OF THE CHEESEWRIGHT STUDIOS BUILDING
by Virginia Olive Hoge
Welcome to historic GreenStreetVillage in Pasadena.
We'll be posting new content highlighting the history of GSV often, so be sure to come back often!
Madeline Garden, Pasadena, is located in the historic Cheesewright Studios building, est. 1927. Edgar J. Cheesewright’s name has been lost to history, but in the day he was highly revered and is still called the number one interior designer of the 1920’s. Born in England in 1880, he began his career there and became famous enough to be asked to participate in a White House renovation which included some of its most famous, memorable doorways. As always, Cheesewright had excellent taste not only for interior design but in choosing beautifully crafted fixtures. Our building is graced by two of his famous doorways, identical to the ones you can see in the White House. That’s not the only similarity we have to the White House. The 1834 Zuber woodblock print mural at the top of our stairwell: Scenes of North America, was designed into our stairwell to fit this masterful diorama. There are only two other of these murals in existence and one of them is in the White House, installed there by Jackie Kennedy during her 1960's renovation of the Diplomat’s Receiving room. The Obama’s chose this site for a recent beautiful formal portrait. This priceless masterpiece tells the history of our Country and is a historical treasure, the President being a history-buff, no doubt appreciates it and understands its importance.
All over in the Cheesewright Studios building you see beautiful arches and iron grill work, the building is a masterpiece of French Quarter architecture.
There is a reason for that, apart from the aesthetic one, Cheesewright was not only the premier interior decorator of the 1920's, he was an expert in French furniture and he created his 1927 Studios with a vision to also have showrooms of fine French furniture occupying the ground floor. Its the reason his loading dock in the building was so big, to accept the planned shipments of furniture from France here.
green street village
HISTORY OF GREEN STREET VILLAGE
Green Street Village is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in Pasadena. The Cheesewright Studios Building, est. 1927, forms the bedrock of the historic zone. This beautiful, French Quarter Style building is a period example of the refined beauty of the beloved architectural style which influenced the entire block. And for good reason. Edgar Cheesewright, originally from England, was a famous tastemaker of the 1920's who had worked on the White House before he came West. Similar architectural doors which Cheesewright used in the White House can also be seen his Studio's building, including the lovely 17th century doorways. There are so many artistic touches to this building, notably his use of a 1834 Zuber woodblock print rare masterpiece: Scenes of North America, used by Cheesewright at the top of his center stairway.
There are other historic buildings in Green Street Village which I will be writing about as well as much more about the Cheesewright building. Also tours are in the works, stay tuned!
975 E. Green Street. On the left is the original rendering in 1929 as designed by architect William D. Haldredge. And on the right is how it looks today. You can see the pitched center roof and second story windows that are still part of the conceit of this building. And how wonderful is it that the arched large windows on the ground floor are still part of this structure. Just a sample of the beautiful GSV neighborhood in Pasadena, CA.
Sadly, 1929 came and with it the Great Depression, suddenly Cheesewright’s whole market dried up. He salvaged what he could and sold his building for a fraction of what he had put into it. For several years in the early thirties it fell into minimal use but at least was not torn down like so many of the mansions were. Close to the time World War 2 began, the U.S. Naval Research Bureau bought the building to conduct military Intelligence projects in and also they used the former wood and metal shop space Cheesewright had built into his building. A tunnel was dug between Cal Tech and our building for Albert Einstein at that point for him to have a secret lab in our basement and be able to go back and forth to Cal Tech without being seen. The building was Navy up until 1983 and several important, historical military projects were completed there. Its impossible to learn anything about this time online, all the information has been removed due to its sensitive content. If only the walls could talk! Such stories there are to tell and still to learn, about the fabulous Cheesewright Studios building. Hope you have enjoyed learning more about it.
Cheesewright had moved West to work on high profile projects, including Hearst Castle, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Santa Maria Inn and Greystone Mansion. He had also become a respected dealer in the fine French furnishings he used to decorate his lavish projects which were on the scale of castles, nothing less. He chose Pasadena for his growing business because he had so many clients there, Millionaires Row was in construction on South-West Orange Grove, with mansions lining the street. Cheesewright’s knowledge of fine French furnishings is what made him design his Studio building with several storefronts at street-level for visitors to browse and shop in. It’s also what made him chose the French Quarter style of architecture. He brought over an architect from France to help him create our period example of the beauty of French Quarter, one built with excellent taste and on a grand scale. There are lovely arches and iron gates all over the building, an Italian porpoise fountain on the Front Court. The whole block was influenced by this great building, from one end of Green Street to the other, you can find French Quarter architectural details inspired by the Cheesewright Studios building.