Architectural Style

Commercial/Public

Around 1920, a new style of housing which, in general, featured red tile roof material and stucco siding, became extremely popular in Monrovia. The Spanish Colonial which, in its original form had been seen primarily in the Southwest and Florida, was experiencing a revival. In California, this revival had been sparked by the buildings, featured at the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition, which were designed by Bertram G. Goodhue and Carlton M. Winslow. Since Spanish architecture includes Byzantine, Mediterranean, and Moorish influence, these styles were also incorporated in the revivals seen at the California exhibition and then copied all over Southern California. In Monrovia, the revival took the form of houses which would be considered Spanish Colonial and others with more Mediterranean influence; consequently, the volunteers working on this project use the category ''Spanish and Mediterranean Revival.''

Both styles tend to have red tile roofs, stucco exterior walls, and arches over the primary windows and doors. The primary difference is that Mediterranean-influenced stucco structures are symmetrical, while Spanish-influenced structures are not. Consequently, a Mediterranean-influenced building will have a centered entrance and a pergola or porte-corchere at either end. The centered entrance is often semi-circular and attached, rather than flush with the side.

Spanish revivals in Monrovia may have an entry which opens into a tiny courtyard. In a two-story version, there may be a cantilevered second-story porch with wooden or wrought iron balustrade which gives the house a Monterey (colonial capital of California) look. Another version in Monrovia is a stucco structure with a Mission-shaped roof parapet and arched entry.

Note: There are currently no structures listed for this category.

334 S. Myrtle Avenue

KNOWN DETAILS

Block No:

Lot No:

Landmarked?

Construction Year:

Architectural Style:

Contractor:

Architect:

Style Altered?

Location Changed?

Owner(s):

Demolished?

Subdivision:

B

15

No

1911

Commercial/Public

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

No

James J. McLachlan

Yes

Town of Monrovia

Description

Though James J. McLachlan was the first owner of the property, but he didn't actually own it until 1889.  In the 1888 tax records, the owner of this lot is unknown, but the  value of the land reflects its prime position as a corner lot on the  northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime Avenues.  It is assessed  at $800, and the value after equalization is $300.  The tax assessor’s  book has no tax listed, but indicates the property has sold, but not to  whom.  The 1889 tax records show Lot 15 (as well as 13 and 14)   belonging to James McLachlan.  The lot’s value has dropped to $600,  reflecting the bursting of the land boom bubble.  The taxes due on the  property are $3.90, but the property is sold to H. Hart.


The  earliest subdivision map shows the following.  The lots on the north,  east, and south sides of Block B (the 100 block of East Palm, the 200  block of South Ivy and the 100 block of East Lime) all have north-south  orientation.  The dimensions are 50 by 140 feet deep.  The back of each  lot ends at the alley that bisects the block horizontally, east/west.


However,  lots 10-15 were divided so that they fronted on South Myrtle.  Their  dimensions are 53 ⅓ by 150 feet.  The Sanborn maps show no structure on  Lot 15 until 1913, and that structure is the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  It  is unclear from the maps and directories what direction the front of  this building faced when it was first built in 1911 because Sanborn maps indicate there were entrances with addresses into the building from the Lime side of the mortuary.  


The first  structure was owned by Charles Taylor (known as C.T.) Renaker.  In  1887-88, his father, James John Renaker,  had a funeral  home/furniture/stationery store first in the Badeau Block, at the  southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle and then at 627 S. Myrtle.  J.J.  Renaker died in 1904, around the time the funeral parlor burned down,  and C.T. constructed a new building for the mortuary business, including  an apartment on the second floor for himself, his mother, and his  brother Leslie.


For decades, the address for the funeral home was  given only as the corner of Lime and Myrtle.   It wasn't until 1926 that  the city directories began to list an address, 334 S. Myrtle Ave., for  the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  Specifically, the following addresses are  all associated with the structure the Renakers owned on Lot 15.

  • 101 E. Lime

  • 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary)

  • 107 E. Lime Ave.

  • 109 E. Lime Ave.

  • 111 E. Lime Ave.

  • 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

By the late 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today.


The first permit for this building is in 1914 for a sewer, but the permit is issued to to the 111 E. Lime address of the building.  Another plumbing permit was issued in 1927 for the same address.  It is most likely that this entrance was for the bodies and where cadaver preparation was done, so the plumbing would need to located at that interest.  


There is no permit for demolition, but there is a construction permit indicating Lot 15 has been combined with Lot 14 to make a dress store, an Anita Shop, a chain of dress stores which existed through the 1950's and early  1960's.


Since 1957, the structure has had numerous owners and  morphed through numerous businesses/

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