Pasadena, California: Best Neighborhood
Savor a true neighborhood from a porch off the bungalow
Perhaps the most inviting thing about the Pasadena, California, neighborhood known as Bungalow Heaven is its porches. The neighborhood’s houses come in many styles—mostly Craftsman but also some Spanish and Tudor—and most date back to the 1910s. But all seem to have porches supported by columns of cobblestone, brick, or stucco.
The porches offer the perfect spot to savor a true neighborhood. Kids zip by on scooters, joggers give a wave as they run, and beaming new parents push strollers through a community that seems both timeless and vitally of today.
“You come for the architecture and stay for the people,” says Bob Kneisel, vice president of the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association. “Bungalow Heaven is real, and it’s honest.”
Bungalow Heaven was born of battle. In 1985, residents banded together to fight for downzoning after a Craftsman bungalow was torn down to make way for an apartment building. That success led residents to work for city landmark district status—a designation earned in 1989.
The designation means that exterior improvements, not including painting and landscaping, are subject to city review. The neighborhood association provides residents with an array of resources to help them make historically appropriate changes to their homes—including a database of area homes and historical photographs to help ensure accurate renovations.
Beyond preservation, the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association deals with issues common to communities throughout the West: controlling traffic, keeping crime down. Residents also show their commitment by volunteering for such events as the annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour in April.
“In my old neighborhood,” says Teresa Hartley, former association president, “I met three neighbors in nine years. Here I must know 25 really well. I told my husband, ‘Just bury me here.'”
For additional information on the neighborhood of Bungalow Heaven, call (626) 585-2172 or go to www.bungalowheaven.org.MORE WINNERS Seabright, Santa Cruz, California. A 300-member community association instills neighborly feeling with its quarterly historical newsletter. Columbia City, Seattle. A terrific farmers’ market and monthly Beat Walks – tours of restaurants – testify to the revitalization of this neighborhood.