One of the great things about Los Angeles is that it’s a wide open, ever-sprawling landscape with room for development—neighborhood and housing growth, new business small and large, and fresh centers for culture and the arts. At the same time, it’s chock full of history, reflected in the still-standing Art Deco, Spanish Revival, mid-century, and even adobe architecture of yesterday.
The county’s historic properties are an abiding testament to a rich past. But unlike that of dense cities lacking wiggle room, the future of Los Angeles is yet untold. It’s one of the reasons LA is prime for real estate investment and, also, fascinating to explore.
On that note, I’m excited to introduce a series, “Something Old, Something New,” where I’ll highlight one historic landmark, and one brand new building or establishment. Anything goes—residential properties, museums, government centers, restaurants, parks, etc.
First stop? Glendale. Infused with the energy of its residents and government, Glendale is a model example of a thriving, forward-looking city that welcomes new developments in housing, the arts, entertainment, and cuisine every day. But, with the help of the Glendale Historical Society, the city also pays homage to its heritage through the preservation of over 100 historic properties.
The Doctor’s House at Brand Park and the new Museum of Neon Art are two very dissimilar Glendale attractions, equally worth a visit…
Originally constructed around 1890, the Doctor’s House is one of only two Queen Anne-Eastlake Victorian homes that stand in Glendale today. The house is so called because, early in the property’s history, it was occupied by a succession of four prominent doctors.
Nell Shipman, a silent film actress who rented the Doctor’s House in the early 20th century, reminisced about the “fancifully-fretted, balconied and gee-gawed house on a tree-lined, narrow, dirt road in Glendale known as Wilson” in her autobiography.
In 1979, when the residence faced demolition, several members of the community stood up to the wrecking ball, so to speak. And their unified efforts marked the beginning of the Glendale Historical Society. There was just one caveat— the building had to be removed from its original property.
As their first project, the GHS moved the Doctor’s House to its current location in Brand Park, and embarked on a lengthy restoration. Today, you can tour the Doctor’s House any Sunday from 2-4pm for a peak at life in early 1900s Glendale.
1601 West Mountain St., Glendale, CA 91201
Last month, the newly relocated Museum of Neon Art opened in Glendale for a preview. The soft opening, to run through the new year, features two exhibitions— Glenn B. Ward’s mid-century photos of the neon signs of Glendale, and “About Time,” a showcase of neon clocks.
MONA was founded in 1981 by two Los Angeles artists, and remains the only museum in the world to feature exclusively neon and electric art. Following its Downtown LA closure in 2011, the museum settled on a permanent location in Glendale, right across the street from the Americana.
Curating collections of both vintage commercial signage and fine art, MONA brings a mix of LA history and contemporary design to Glendale. And the historic neon signs outside the museum join the Alex Theatre and the Americana in brightening up Brand for the holiday season.
The museum’s hours of operation are Fridays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
216 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91209