The quiet tree-lined streets and lovely gardens of Bungalow Heaven are more than just a pretty neighborhood. The 16-block area, bordered by Orange Grove and Washington boulevards and Lake and Hill streets, is a historic gem set in the midst of Pasadena. Although the district includes residences from most periods of Pasadena’s history, the overwhelming majority of the homes are bungalows built during the Arts and Crafts period of the early 20th century.
The Arts and Crafts movement stood in opposition to the increasing industrialization of the time, emphasizing the artistry of the individual craftsman and the subtle beauty of nature. The bungalows of Bungalow Heaven reflect these principles through their unique architectural details and the wide use of natural and native materials. The typical bungalow is one-and-a-half stories high, with an open floor plan, wide verandas and a sloping roof. The interior features many built-ins, including cabinets, shelves and seats.
The Gamble House is the most prominent example of Arts and Crafts architecture in Pasadena, but the homes in Bungalow Heaven illustrate the way ordinary families of the period lived.
Through the efforts of many dedicated residents who recognized the historic significance of these homes and wanted to ensure their preservation, in 1989 the neighborhood became Pasadena’s first historic Landmark District.
On April 10, 2008, the Bungalow Heaven Historic District was listed by the United States Department of the Interior in the National Register of Historic Places. As a result of the listing, Bungalow Heaven has also been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources.
According to the notification from the State Historic Preservation Officer, “Placement on the National Register affords a property the honor of inclusion in the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and provides a degree of protection for adverse affects resulting from federally funded or licensed projects.”
The listing of Bungalow Heaven in the National Register is truly an honor. As many residents of the district, citizens of Pasadena, and visitors have known for many years, this area of Pasadena is one of the best collections of Arts and Crafts-period bungalows in the United States. Thanks to this important designation, Bungalow Heaven’s significance as an outstanding collection of properties, which represent Pasadena’s importance in the history of the Arts and Crafts Movement, is further recognized and celebrated.
In 2009, Bungalow Heaven Landmark District was designated one of the 10 great places in America by the APA. In making the announcement, the American Planning Association cited the large number of significantly important historic homes as well as collaborative efforts between neighborhood residents and the city of Pasadena for restoring, protecting and maintaining Bungalow Heaven’s unique character and sense of place.
Through Great Places in America, the American Planning Association recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of communities – streets, neighborhoods and public places. Features considered include architecture and community involvement.
“Bungalow Heaven is truly remarkable in that there are more than a thousand historic homes in the neighborhood,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer. “Residents and the city are rightfully proud of this architectural legacy, and we applaud them for their ongoing commitment through planning and planning follow-through to protect and enhance their neighborhood’s unique sense of place.”
Bungalow Heaven has been featured in several books, newspaper features and magazines, including Sunset, which named Bungalow Heaven the “Best Neighborhood” in the West in 2002.
An article in a Japanese magazine (“Woody”) described Bungalow Heaven thusly:
“Northeast of the city center, where the city starts to rise up to the San Gabriel mountains, in an area sectioned off by four . . . major streets, is an historic district, the first historic district in Pasadena, an area called Bungalow Heaven. You will find tree-canopied streets, quiet sidewalks, well-kept houses, a quiet, homey community where neighbors stand on front lawns to talk to each other. In the middle of this area is McDonald Park, a clean, grassy park where children play and old people sit and watch the passing of the day. There is a sense of warmth and peacefulness on these streets, a feeling of community. The melody of an ice cream truck lingers in the air long after the truck has passed.”