Historic Pasadena Building: From Hay to Heyday and Back


110 East Holly Street, “J. Cazaurang” inscription reveals the name of the first owner (Photo – Marina Khrustaleva)

Across from Memorial Park is a building that holds more memories than you can imagine.

By Marina Khrustaleva

He was 120 when I write this piece. On February 6, 1902, the builder and contractor The magazine reported that J. Salter had a two-story brick hay and grain warehouse under construction in Pasadena. The warehouse was commissioned by John Cazaurang and measured 100 x 56 feet. It had a cement floor, gravel roof, 18 inch thick walls, and the cost was around $6,000.

Alice Custance-Baker, a local building conservation expert, researched the story of Mr. Cazaurang. He was “a wealthy Frenchman and one of the largest producers of hay and alfalfa in the San Gabriel Valley”. His crops were so bountiful that in 1901 he was arrested for overstoring hay in his old iron barn on Mills Alley. He lost the case four years later. It seems that this issue dampened his feelings for Pasadena; in 1906, he moved to Rancho Guejito in San Diego County and led an adventurous life there.

Its contribution to the Old Town is shown on the 1903 Sanborn map as a “bale hay warehouse” with a granary. However, it soon changed ownership and a recessed “J. Cazaurang” inscription on the front facade was plastered over to remain hidden for many decades. The structure at 110 East Holly St. was purchased by John Breiner, the founder of the Pasadena Meat Market, to serve as stables.The Breiners, father and son, were respected citizens and members of many fraternities.The family lived in the first house designed by Greene and Greene, at 826 E. Colorado Blvd.

inscription on a brick building

110 East Holly Street, “J. Cazaurang” inscription reveals the name of the first owner (Photo – Marina Khrustaleva)

Pasadena Meat Market

The Pasadena Meat Market was one of the first establishments to come to town in 1887. At the turn of the century, it occupied the southwest corner of Colorado and Broadway (now Arroyo Parkway), at only two blocks from the stables. In 1926, the market moved to a brand new building at 682-684 East Colorado Blvd. – “one of the finest and most complete stores of its kind in the west” equipped with ultra-latest appliances – a thirty-foot-long cork-insulated cooler, sanitary display cases, an electric saw, a electric slicer, an electric grinder and a fountain umbrella with goldfish and turtles in the display case. As teenagers, the Breiners used 22 horses for the “carriage trade”; later they switched to picking up and delivering motorists. In 1930, John L. Breiner, Jr. sold the family business and moved to Hermosa Beach.

110 East Holly Street, south elevation (rear) with large arched entrance and paved patio (Photo – Marina Khrustaleva)

Many different uses

Over the years, the building has served many different uses: a 13-car garage, the Red Cross thrift store, the Rose Parade tank shop, the Pasadena Spring and Bumper Company, and the painting contractor’s workshop. In 1979, when successful local architect Stephen B. Barasch nominated the Holly Street Livery Stables for the National Register of Historic Places, it served as a storage facility.

The heyday of this monument occurred much later than its hay days. In 1980, a former vice president of Security Pacific Bank, Dick Krell, turned it into Josephina’s restaurant. Improvements to the building, furniture and equipment totaled nearly a million dollars, resulting in a “lavish setting and informal atmosphere”. Newspapers reported “turn-of-the-century elegance”: charming old English entryway, solid oak paneling, stained glass windows, brass ceiling fans, Tiffany lamps, antique tables and an early 1900s back bar. -even was the cage of an antique dealer from a bank in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Santa Fe railroad tracks ran along the tilted wall at the time, so trains passed people dining in cozy alcoves with a romantic roar. The menu was mostly Italian with a Chicago flavor.

This splendor did not last long. The warehouse has been transformed into offices. During the last renovation it was gutted and left half finished. It is rented again: the new tenant will have the option of completing this effort or starting over with their own design. The original barn doors, wooden window frames and iron grills will remain no matter what.

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