Old Town Pasadena has always been known by its historical buildings and the way it encompasses the enchanting atmosphere of the city. However, there is one establishment that stands out among the others by its architectural beauty and mystery. The Castle Green is a separate world in the heart of Old Town where time has come to a standstill.
Passing by this place, it’s hard to guess whether it’s a hotel, an apartment complex or just an ancient building with historical value. After taking an Annual Holiday Tour at the castle on Sunday, Dec. 4, it was clear that this place is a combination of everything listed above. During the excursion all the visitors had a chance to have a self-guided tour of the building. Once people entered the front gates, they were automatically transferred to a different world; the Victorian era.
Opened in 1899, the Castle Green was a second annex to the Hotel Green, built by George Gill Green and designed by Frederic Roehrig. The hotel became a home for the Tournament of Roses association and the Valley Hunt Club. The Hotel Green had a great impact on Pasadena’s history since it became very popular among the rich and tourists, who spent lots of money during their stay in the city. Later more and more people were moving in to Pasadena.
Before even entering the Castle, the mysterious atmosphere of the time-honored place is already in the air thanks to the beautiful garden in front of the building. Men and women in vintage suits and dresses perfectly matched the interior of the premises.
Being inside feels like being a part of history since the interior is decorated with antiques from different eras. The design of the Castle’s inside is comprised of a combination of variety of stylistic elements, such as Victorian, Spanish, Turkish, and Moorish designs.
The very first thing everyone heard once they entered the lobby was a choir singing songs in the middle of the room next to a big Christmas tree and a fireplace. The Arabic inspired furniture that is original to the building in addition to the lobby decorated with the porcelain mosaic tile created a feeling of comfort and hospitality.
The Castle Green today is a complex of luxury apartments with 52 privately owned units. Using the marble stairs, the visitors could get up all the way to the sixth floor and enter the apartments that the owners were more than happy to show.
One of the apartments that caught visitors’ attention was a small unit that had a decorated Christmas tree hanging upside down in the middle of the living room. Lots of old-fashioned paintings and decorations created the feeling of being in somebody’s castle. It was easy to identify the owner, Randy Bank, because he was dressed up in the same style his apartment was. He was greeting people and talking to them.
So the reason the Christmas tree is upside down is because that’s the way the trees were made in 1647, but more important than that: “I wanted to live in this Castle Green since I was eight years old. Ten years ago I bought this place and I’m happy,” said Bank, the owner of one of the apartments.
Each of the units was decorated in a unique and specific style, so the visitors could move from the atmosphere of the Victorian era to the 70s. All the owners were friendly, welcoming and appreciated everyone that was interested in seeing their place. It seemed like there were several parties at the same time in different units, since everyone could hear the music, laughter and loud discussions coming from the apartments.
“I’ve always liked this space from the outside, so I always was curious about it and that’s why I wanted to make sure that I came by. Actually I was really surprised by the amount of character and individuality every unit has. Even though I know it’s a hotel, and you would think that everything is the same, but it’s very individual, very unique. A lot of character so it’s really enjoyable,” said Phil Aman, the visitor of the Castle Green.
Since all the apartments in the Castle Green are pretty small, the place got crowded really fast. On the bridge, from where there was a charming view of Pasadena, people could buy pictures from the Castle Green that looked as if they were taken many years ago.
“I moved to Pasadena in 1983,” said David Woodbury, a current resident of The Castle Green.
“I take original glass plane negatives and then I colorize them. I’ll develop it from 1917 and I’ll add the color. When I colorize them it makes them feel like they’ve come to life. It’s a window into another time. It [living in the Castle Green] definitely affects me, because of the ghosts of the place I’m in. When I sit in the living room I think ‘A hundred years ago there were Victorians sitting in this room, having tea, doing whatever they did and now I’m here,’ and I feel like a part of the history.”
Since the area is surrounded by brick walls, there is a feeling of being isolated from the real world and being plunged into the atmosphere of the Victorian epoch. Everything in the castle made people forget that they were in the 21st century. Being there felt like taking part in some historical event that took place years ago as every single corner there served as a reminder of some past era.