Archives Feature – The Benshoff Collection
Our Archives houses the marvelous Benshoff Family Collection, which contains architectural drawings, personal papers, and photographs. William Alton Benshoff (1869-1959) was an architect who worked and lived in Pasadena. He moved from Ohio to California in 1891. Benshoff worked on many notable buildings in Pasadena such as the original building of Turner and Stevens Mortuary, Polytechnic Elementary School, Magnolia Hotel, and hundreds of Victorian-style private homes. He was the builder and on-site consulting architect for the Lincoln Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1898 and now located at Heritage Square Museum.
Claudine Deforest Stevens (1869-1960) met her husband in Pasadena and they were married by 1895. Her family had moved to Los Angeles from Pennsylvania in 1884 and to Pasadena in 1886. Her father owned Stevens Hardware Store and her brother, Arthur Bush Stevens, was a co-founder of Turner and Stevens Mortuary. She was also active in the Methodist Church. She collected naval covers and joined the Universal Ship Cancellation Society.
The Benshoff Family Collection includes approximately 1,000 architectural drawings and blue prints of homes, churches, and businesses; contracts and projects specifications; papers related to the Stevens family, Stevens hardware, and Turner and Stevens Mortuary; and personal papers. Last but not the least, it also contains a number of fascinating photographs and negatives related to not only architectural subjects but also people and various Pasadena-related subjects such as the local mountains, Tournament of Roses, hotels, churches, and more. We also have the oral history of Hazel Benshoff in our Reading Room. If you would like to visit us to check out this collection, the Archives is open Thursday through Sunday, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
– Anuja Navare
Collections Feature – Pasadena Lager
Pasadena Beer Co., located at 33 East Colorado Boulevard, distributed Pasadena Lager in the latter half of the 1980s. It was available at restaurants, bars, and of course Trader Joe’s. The lager was brewed by Granville Brewing Co. in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. The original plan was to distribute the beer from Canada until the local company could build a brewery in Pasadena that would produce approximately 12,000 barrels a year (for comparison, at the time, Miller Brewing Co. was producing roughly five million barrels a year in Irwindale). The proposed brewery never came to fruition, and Pasadena Beer Co. ceased distributing the short-lived lager.
Read about how our staff discovered the local brew in the blog, This Round’s on the Collections Manager.
– Michelle L. Turner
Fenyes Feature – A New Image
Several years ago, we discovered a cache of negatives in the wine cellar of the Fenyes Mansion. Identifying, scanning, and freezing more than 1,500 negatives has been a long process; and it is not yet complete. Along the way, however, finding new pictures of the Fenyes family has been fun, and the promise of discovery definitely provides an incentive to continue sorting through all of those negatives.
Shown here is a newly discovered image. While we don’t yet know where or when this picture was taken, we can guess that either Adalbert or Leonora took it while the family was traveling somewhere in the Southwest or Mexico. In it we see our intrepid Eva Fenyes riding astride a burro, her camera and travel bag slung over her shoulder and her canvas painting umbrella balanced across the saddle. And no doubt she also carries her paint-box. In this image we get to see one of those moments rarely captured of Eva exploring a countryside in search of her next sketching project.
– Julie Stires
New Accession – Pasadena College
Who remembers Pasadena College? No, not Pasadena City College (PCC), our local community college that dates back to 1924. Pasadena College, or PC, was a private Christian College that actually pre-dates PCC by several years. Recently, the PMH Archives received a donation of several bulletins and yearbooks from the school.
The college was founded in 1902 by Dr. Phineas S. Bresee (1838-1915), who had been the pastor of the First Methodist Church of Pasadena from 1886 to 1891, and who later started the First Church of the Nazarene in 1895. In 1910, he purchased the former Hugus Ranch in North Pasadena. The school then raised money by subdividing and developing the 136-acre ranch into a tract named University Park. Fifteen acres were retained for the school, and the large Victorian mansion built by John W. Hugus was adapted for student life.
The university was known variously as Nazarene University, Pasadena College, and Pasadena University. In 1973, the college relocated to San Diego and was renamed Point Loma Nazarene University. William Carey International University purchased the campus in 1977.
– Laura Verlaque
The Collections Quarterly email, sent out four times a year, features new acquisitions as well as select items from the art and artifacts collection, Archives, and Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo collections.