This summer I worked as an intern at Pasadena Heritage (PH). It is a community-based, non-profit organization that was founded in 1977. Its mission is to identify, preserve and protect the historic, architectural and cultural resources of the City of Pasadena through advocacy and education.
As the summer intern, I have been exposed to several projects in various stages of completion. The main project I have been involved in is preparing for the Nomination of Pasadena Avenue Historic District. The goal of this nomination is to prevent the State Route 710 North project. As a major transportation project, it has the potential to seriously impact scores of residential and commercial properties in historic districts and historic transportation corridors like Old Route 66 and the Arroyo Seco Parkway (the oldest highway in the United States and a National Scenic Byway).
My work focused on the research and documentation of 126 properties within the district and mainly contained three parts. First, I read the Historic Resources Evaluation Report written by California Department of Transportation and found the discrepancy between it and the record of the PH. Then I gathered information about original and current owners, architects, builders and historic photos and maps. I have done the research in Building Permit Center, Public Library and Historic Museum of Pasadena. The varieties of tools I have used include city directories, Sanborn Maps, building permits, archives in the different forms and online systems such as ParcelQuest. Last, I wrote descriptions for most of the properties within the district.
Through the process, I have received a good exercise at describing different architectural styles including Mediterranean Revival, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Arts and Craftsman, American Foursquare and Ranch. The hands-on work experience not only gave me a good opportunity to apply what I have learned from class, but also made me learn a lot.
Beyond the office work, field research work and board meeting, I have participated in several field trips. Creatively designed by my supervisor, they offered me great opportunities to sense the historic preservation work in greater Los Angeles area. I have visited South Pasadena, Heritage Square House Museum, Getty Villa, Anaheim Packing District and Downtown L.A. These field trips enriched my knowledge and offered me inspiration for thesis.
I give thanks to all very friendly staff at Pasadena Heritage for including me in their process, and giving me an opportunity to experience how a leading NGO work in the preservation field. I especially appreciate my supervisor Jesse Lattig, who has taught me a lot and opened my eyes by letting me experience different types of preservation work in the charming place, Los Angeles.