Pasadena, CA

Pasadena's South Arroyo Neighborhood

David Clark
South Arroyo Pasadena Residence Catching Sunlight Through the Leaves of a California OakDavid Clark

Nestled between South Pasadena, Eagle Rock and Highland Park resides the 91105 zip code of “The South Arroyo.” This 3.7 square mile area contains approximately 6,543 homes, 13,544 people, and some of the quietest park-like streets in California. Let me introduce you to the homes, estates, shops, trails, and real estate market of Pasadena’s 91105 South Arroyo.

According to the City of Pasadena there are 9 driving and walking tours to view. The tour features the work of architects who were leaders in the development of Modern design such as Richard Neutra, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and John Lautner, as well as the prominent local firm of Buff & Hensman (some with their early partner Calvin Straub), one of the influential Case Study Program houses, and a rare example of an experimental design by Wallace Neff. These residences include early examples from the 1930s as well as from the post WW II building boom in Southern California – expressing the era’s new sensibilities about structure, materials, and open plans, with efficient designs to meet family needs and tight budgets, while celebrating their connection to the Southern California setting. Much of the Pasadena area was already built up by the middle of the 20th century, and the development of challenging sites such as hillsides provided dramatic settings for some of these outstanding examples of International and Modern style homes.
Mid Century Modern Pasadena Driving and Walking TourPasadena.Net

5. Rose House, 222 Cherry Drive (Link)

Designed by Richard Rose, this International /Modern style house was built in 1964.

6. 1444 Poppy Peak Drive (Link)

This 1936 minimalist Modern Ranch house by Harwell Hamilton Harris was moved to the current location in 1951 and re-sited by architect Leland Evison.

7. 1525 Poppy Peak Drive Link)

Designed in 1957 by Kenneth Nishimoto for family members, this house is in the Mid-Century Modern style, with Japanese influences.

8. Constance M. Perkins House, 1540 Poppy Peak Drive (Link)

Designed by Richard Neutra, this 1955 International/Modern style house and studio utilizes his signature “spider leg” extensions of its structural members. It was the first house designed as a Historic Treasure (now called Historic Monument) by the City of Pasadena.

9. Wirick House, 1617 Pleasant Way (Link)

Considered one of the definitive works of Buff, Straub & Hensman, this 1958 post-and-beam house is in the Mid-Century Modern style.

10. Graham Laing House, 1642 Pleasant Way (Link)

The 1935 Laing House by Harwell Hamilton Harris is a classic example of early Modernism, and has been called “simplified Wright”.

11. Norton House, 820 Burleigh Drive (Link)

This post-and-beam house in the Mid-Century Modern style was designed by Buff & Hensman in 1954.

12. Dahlstrom House, 780 Laguna Road (Link)

A 1949 design by John Lautner in the International/Modern style. This is the only house in Pasadena by John Lautner, whose iconic floating octagonal “Chemosphere” house in Silverlake is one of the most recognized houses from the mid-century modern period.

13. Puelicher House, 901 Laguna Road (Link)

This International/Modern style house designed by Boyd Georgi in 1960 floats above the stream that parallels Laguna Road.

14. 810 Hillside Terrace (Link)

This 1954 California Modern house with Japanese influences was designed by Harry Sims Bent and features unique Japanese-influenced concrete screens and a carved wood front door.
Case Study House #10 the only example from1945-1966 that was built in Pasadena.Pasadena Foothills MLS

15. Case Study House #10, 711 S. San Rafael Avenue (Link)

One of the earliest “Case Study House Program” projects sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine utilizing prominent new architects to explore post-WW II housing solutions using new materials to meet the needs of the average family, this is a 1947 International/Modern design by Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland, Jr.

16. Dubnoff House, 1150 La Loma Road (Link)

This unique post-and-beam design by the firm of Buff, Straub & Hensman was built in 1960.

17. Smith House, 1175 La Loma Road (Link)

This Mid-Century Modern style house was designed in 1961 by Dennis Smith, who later joined the Buff & Hensman firm.

18. 1035 Lagunita Road (Link)

This 1958 International/Modern style house includes Aztec detailing at the garage wing.

19. Frank House, 919 La Loma Road (Link)

This 1957 post-and-beam design by Buff, Straub & Hensman is in Mid-Century Modern style.
San Rafael Bridge PasadenaDavid Clark

The southernmost of the Pasadena Arroyo Seco bridges, the San Rafael Bridge was constructed in 1922 in Pasadena, California. Like the Colorado Street Bridge built in 1913 and La Loma Bridge (renamed John K. Van De Kamp Bridge in 2017) built in 1914, the San Rafael Bridge is an open-spandrel concrete arch bridge that is open to pedestrians and automobile traffic. The bridge played an important role in the development of San Rafael Heights.

Built in 1914, La Loma Bridge replaced the 1898 California Street Bridge, which had closed the prior year due to safety concerns. The open spandrel concrete arch bridge has a Neoclassical design inspired by the City Beautiful movement. The bridge’s design is reminiscent of Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge, which was built a year earlier.
La Loma Bridge in the South Arroyo of Pasadena CaliforniaDavid Clark

La Loma Bridge has been called the “little sister” of it, and for the first several years of their existence, the two bridges were the only crossings of the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

The La Loma Bridge played a significant role in the development of Pasadena west of the Arroyo, particularly in the San Rafael Heights area, which Pasadena annexed at the same time it constructed the bridge. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 14, 2004.

Some of our twenty Native California Oak trees abound in this region with some of the best local hiking right inside the South Arroyo neighborhood.
South Arroyo Pasadena View Towards Bilicke Water Tower in South PasadenaDavid Clark

Little Flower, located at 1422 W Colorado Blvd in Pasadena is a tiny café and candy kitchen on the edge of the 91105 area of the South Arroyo. Their motto is “It’s where we gather to prepare and eat fresh delicious food, drink strong coffee, listen to great music and surround yourself with art, neighbors, friends and community. Little Flower is a great place to meet a friend or make a new one. I certainly can attest to meeting new friends here and enjoying their strong coffee and incredible food!
Little Flower in the South Arroyo of PasadenaLittle Flower Instagram

The stairs near the San Rafael Bridge are also noteworthy. They once led to Busch Gardens, the personal gardens of Adolphus Busch, co-founder of Anheuser-Busch. Busch Gardens was open to the public in 1906 and closed in 1938. It was a major tourist attraction for many years.

The Lower Arroyo is the southernmost section of the Arroyo Seco within Pasadena city limits. This area extends from the renowned Colorado Street Bridge 1.5 miles south, which borders South Pasadena. Pasadena has officially designated this area a nature preserve, the only one in Pasadena. The Lower Arroyo is a wonderful place to take a walk and enjoy nature. The Arroyo flows between steep canyon walls in this stretch and is predominately open, wild, natural and lush with habitat. Like most of the urban Arroyo Seco, the river in this area is contained within a massive concrete channel that was constructed by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District soon after World War II. Up the steep Arroyo slopes and out of the natural setting of the river are streets lined with spacious, single-family homes, many of them in the historic Craftsman style. Although this area is home to a wide variety of popular recreation, it is primarily “passive” or nature-based recreation. (

The question that I often get asked on property tours with our clients is, “What is a landmark district?”
Glen Summer District Pasadena Established in 2015David Clark

For Pasadena:

  • Significant concentration of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.
  • Unified representation of a defined aspect of Pasadena’s history
  • Individual properties may not be historically significant on their own, but grouping as a whole is historically significant.

There are 59 properties in the Glen Summer Landmark District in Pasadena which include:

  • Single-Family Residential Buildings
  • Period of Significance: 1927-1941
  • Represents period revival architecture
  • Large concentration in the Spanish Colonial Revival style
  • Smaller concentration of English Cottage Revival and Colonial Revival styles

The incentives that come with this designation are:

  • California Historical Building Code
  • 2-car covered parking waiver
  • Mills Act eligible (“Historical Property Contract”)
  • Effect on property values

Studies have shown property values in historic districts rise at a faster rate than similar properties outside of districts.

Pasadena’s South Arroyo Real Estate Market

As a full time real estate advisor 7 days a week I interpret the market and negotiate hard for you. I am privelidged to build relationships within this community, and look forward to helping you buy or list your next home.

Currently there are 18 single family homes available for sale from $1,289mil-$14.9mil

Currently there are 19 condominiums available for sale from $778k-$2.59mil

There are nearly one million renters in our Los Angeles communities that can afford to purchase a new home. The tap on your shoulder is here. Let's connect today! Buying today means you can get ahead of future price increases, and benefit from the rise in prices in the form of home equity. Pay yourself first! From lender to brokerage, agent to escrow it matters who you work with. Please reach out to me with the Shelhamer Real Estate Group, for answers to your questions, further discussion, or to expand or build the path to your real estate future.

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A passion for California history, writing, architectural preservation, and extensive sales background drew me into becoming a residential real estate advisor. Above all else service to the communities I live in and explore.

Los Angeles County, CA

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