Tuesday, July 12, 2011

B.O. Kendall -- 210 S. Los Robles, Pasadena

Arriving in Pasadena in 1886 with his wife Jennie (1859-1888), Bela Otis Kendall (1862-1942) was just in time for the great real estate boom in Los Angeles.  He jumped in beginning in August of that year and never looked back. Next year was the bust, but B.O. evidently did O.K. as by 1896 he had commissioned a new building at 61-69 N. Raymond to house his business (and others.)  This was one of the very few Greene & Greene commercial commissions done, before the Greene brothers rose to fame in the world of Arts & Crafts residences (can you say Gamble House?). Today it still stands on the northwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and N. Raymond Street (although the building was altered significantly in 1929). B.O. was to keep his real estate office at this address for his entire career--which ended around 1936.

65 N. Raymond, courtesy of bing.com/maps
Link to Larger Image

Wife Jennie W. passed away in 1888 shortly after a daughter Jennie was born in 1887, and by 1891 B.O. had married Belle Rigg, daughter of Dr. Thomas and Elizabeth Rigg, a well-known family in Pasadena. They had two children, Jackson (b. 1896) and B.O. Jr. (b. 1909) and in 1900 the family was living across the street (213 S. Los Robles) from their soon-to-be long-time house, probably awaiting the new house to be finished. They moved in shortly thereafter to 210 S. Los Robles and were to stay there for 25 years. The house as it looked in 1906 awaiting the arrival of B.O. Junior:
The B.O. Kendall Residence at 210 S. Los Robles
With the arrival of B.O. Jr. a new wing was added--the gable on the right above was extended another 15-20 feet, providing more space for a growing family.

The Electric entry of 1911
Double Delight Rose
B.O. stepped up to Pasadena community service too, serving first on the board in 1915, then in 1917-1919 as President of the Tournament of Roses Association. Son Jackson got in on the parade action one year with his electric car "float" in the 1911 parade, earning a Third Place in Class W - Electric Autos!

Next door to the south of the Los Robles home stood the Shakespeare Club, one of the oldest women's clubs in Southern California, and of course Belle was a member when in 1924 the club added a new auditorium by buying the next lot to the south of them. The club finally moved to new digs in the 1970's but still exists today with a building on Grand Ave. in Pasadena.

The Kendalls in 1923
In 1922-23 B.O. developed one of his best known neighborhoods, Oak Knoll Gardens, a development of 23 upper-middle class cottage style homes at El Molino near California.  No doubt he used some of those profits to create a new personal residence, for in 1926 B.O. and Belle decided to move to a more upscale area of Pasadena, creating a 6,000 sq. ft. house at 500 Linda Vista Drive near the Rose Bowl. Built on a 47,000 sq. ft. lot, the house contained seven bedrooms and six baths.  Their daughter and son-in-law moved into the old house on Los Robles, and B.O. Jr. moved to the new house.

Around 1936 B.O. (who was now 70+) decided to retire.  He and Belle bought a home in Avalon, Catalina Island (but maintained their voting residence at the old Los Robles house), where B.O. subsequently passed away in 1942. He was interred alongside his first wife Jennie in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. The Los Robles house was noted as apartments in 1951 on the applicable Sanborn map.

So where is the Los Robles house today? Well, if you stand in the middle of the street facing east at the intersection of Cordova and Los Robles, you'd have about the same view as the original photo of the house above. Sometime after the sale of the Shakespeare Club, the city came through creating a new east-west corridor (Cordova). So all traces of the old house are gone.


  1. B.O. Kendall was my grandfather. He died when I was 4 so I do not really remember much about him except for my fascination with his wooden leg. Being fascinated with geneaology, I have done extensive research on his life. When my dad, B.O. Jr., was alive he told many stories about his dad, focusing on their times in Catalina and their adventures with the Tuna Club. Grandpa Kendall was truly an amazing man and I happily share many of his passions; architecture, music, sports, travel and Catalina.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article !!

    1. Jackson Kendall was my great-grandfather; I'm planning a trip to the 2014 Rose Bowl game and remembered hearing about great-great-grandfather B.O. being involved in the tournament so I decided to look into his history further. Thanks for posting this!

      Anonymous, I believe this makes you my great grand uncle/great grand aunt?

  2. Anonymous, thanks for your comment, and the additional personal touches about your grandfather.


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