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46th Annual Pasadena Showcase House tour held on 1930's historic Cravens Estate

Enjoying lunch at the 2009 Pasadena Showcase House and Garden Tour
Enjoying lunch at the 2009 Pasadena Showcase House and Garden Tour
Photo by shm

Each year in the spring is a must-see event organized by the Pasadena Showcase House of the Arts (PSHA). This is a wonderful opportunity for many reasons. The visitor is able to view inside some of the historic old mansions of Pasadena and San Marino. A special one is chosen each year and completely redone in current and innovative decoration by local, professional interior designers. The proceeds from this annual event support music programs including awards and grants that provide concerts, music therapy, education and scholarships.

The 2010 Showcase House and Garden Tour starts on April 18 and runs through May 16 (Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays). It is a perfect outing for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8). Besides a comprehensive tour of the mansion, tents are set up on the grounds with a number of unique boutiques and eating venues. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on line or over the phone. These are timed entries although one may visit the shops and eateries any time throughout the day.

This mansion chosen for this year’s showcase was completed in 1930 for Mr. and Mrs. John Cravens by San Francisco architect, Lewis P. Hobart. His inspiration for the estate’s design was the French Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte; an historic, baroque castle near Paris. The mansion cost over $310,000; an expensive investment in that time period, with 9 living rooms, 11 bedrooms, and 6 bathrooms. The Cravens had 32 servants to help manage the estate. The original property was 16 acres located on “Millionaires’ Row” (South Orange Grove Blvd.) and has been designated as a Landmark of Historical Significance by the City of Pasadena.

The Cravens estate is currently the headquarters of the San Gabriel Pomona Valley American Red Cross. The grounds and mansion may be recognizable to movie and television viewers of Being There, Public Enemy, and Traffic as well as Mad Men, Ghost Whisper and Desperate Housewives!

As a heads up, there are certain rules to share before touring the Showcase property:

• No children allowed under age of 12
• Not suitable as handicap accessible
• Flat shoes only (personally made that mistake one year!)
• No photography on Showcase property
• No large purses, bags or backpacks allowed in House
• Cell phones must be turned off while touring

This event has been a personal and special one to this writer; sharing the past 5 Mother’s Days (and the 6th this May) with my daughter. The combination of -- beautiful weather, the ability to walk through the halls and rooms of an historic mansion as well as its’ gardens, to view fantastic designs and furnishings, have a great lunch and shop—all make for a fantastic day!

2010 Showcase House and Garden Tour
April 18 through May 16

Tour Schedule/Ticket times begin on the quarter hour:
:• Wed, Thu, Fri – 9am to 9pm (ticket times 9am to 7:45pm)
• Sat, Sun, Tue – 9am to 5pm (ticket times 9am to 3:45pm)
Ticket Prices:
Sat - Sun (all day) and Tue-Fri (9am-1:45pm): $35 in advance / $40 at the door (subject to availability)
Tue-Fri (2pm to closing): $30 in advance / $35 at the door (subject to availability)

Complimentary Parking and Shuttle Service:
Pasadena Rose Bowl – Lot 1
360 North Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena CA 91103

On April 18, April 24, May 15 Parking and Shuttle Service will be at
Parsons Corporation
100 W Walnut (entrance west of Fair Oaks Ave)
Pasadena CA 91124



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