Pedestrians at the Gate
Mysterious Castle Green opens to the public Sunday for a fundraising tour
By Carl Kozlowski 04/20/2012
There are plenty of classic homes in Pasadena, but there’s only one castle: Castle Green.
Built in 1898, the seven-story Moorish Colonial and Spanish style annex to Hotel Green was constructed by Col. George G. Green, a leader in the patent medicine industry. And after more than a century, it has been home to some of the most colorful characters of all time, from famed artist Marcel Duchamp to actor Nicolas Cage and director Tim Burton.
Most of the year, the castle is shrouded in mystery, as huge plants surround the building’s tall wrought-iron fences and mostly block the view of the lush and lavish trappings within. But twice a year — in April and December — the Castle Green Home Owners Association (HOA) opens the gates to the public for a day, offering tours of the premises as a way to raise funds for the aging building’s upkeep.
That maintenance is essential for what is deemed by many to be Pasadena’s most original building, filled with domes, arches, pillars, balconies and verandas. Castle Green is also the city’s first fireproof building, thanks to the expansive vision of its designer, architect Frederick I. Roehrig.
Sunday’s opportunity to visit should be especially savored by local fans of the building and curiosity-seekers, as organizers skipped the December tour. But more than that, the HOA has put together an extravagant afternoon of events for visitors.
“This time we have a Victorian theme, with Victorian dancers and a band, and feel it could be the best tour ever, because we put a lot of work into it,” says Alaine Lowell, president of the HOA. “We’re having an English tea on the veranda, where for $5 you get scones and tea. We’re showing up to 30 units, which is more than ever before and includes Tim Burton’s former apartment, and there’ll be some 1920s-style picnickers on the lawn, plus croquet lessons on the lawn and docents giving tours while wearing costumes of the Victorian era.”
Castle Green hosts its 2012 Spring Tour fundraiser from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Castle Green, 99 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased either at the door or in advance at castlegreen.com. Call (626) 793-0359.