Today's historic homes tour in South Pasadena might be likened to an expedition deep into the heart of endangered species territory.
All eight properties on the tour are in the path of one of the proposed routes to extend the 710 freeway, and could be demolished or moved if the freeway extension is approved, said Joanne Nuckols of the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation.
"We want to raise people's awareness of endangered historic homes," said Nuckols, whose group is sponsoring the tour along with the Citizens United to Save Pasadena, an anti-freeway group. "The homes should be preserved for their architectural significance and their unique qualities," she said.
In 1989, she said, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed South Pasadena on its list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the United States.
The stops on the self-guided tour include the Fair Oaks Pharmacy, a 1915 South Pasadena landmark now being restored to its early ambience complete with soda fountain and tin ceiling, a 1897 home built by architect Frederic Roehrig in the Craftsman style, and a 1928 house that is one of the few remaining homes built by master architect Rudolph Schindler.
Refreshments will be served on the grounds of the Wynyate house , South Pasadena's grand Victorian residence built in 1887 by the city's first mayor, Donald M. Graham. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its interior is being refurbished and will not be open, Nuckols said.
South Pasadena's local government and citizens groups have been fighting the proposed extension of the Long Beach Freeway for years, claiming it will split the small city and damage the historic business district. Transportation officials are awaiting completion of a Caltrans environmental impact report on the project before deciding whether to go ahead with the extension.
The funds raised from today's tour will be split between the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation and the Citizens United to Save South Pasadena, Nuckols said.
The tour takes place today between 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the South Pasadena Historical Museum, Meridian Iron Works, 913 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena.