Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ives & Warren To-day

Whether suicide is at the top of your list of things to do, or a few items down, believe me, there are worse places to do it than at Ives & Warren. Frederick Kennedy designed this gorgeous Spanish Eclectic basilica in 1929—for once, we applaud stucco—and it remained Ives & Warren until taken over by the Pasadena Conservatory of Music in 2001. (Kennedy is best known for his work on Pasadena’s 1925 First Baptist, National Register, sure, though that hasn’t half the cool lyricism of this building.)

Much of the interior has been gutted, save for a few interior columns with some nice curvilinear ornament. The thirty-foot central nave got a dropped ceiling, turning it two story:

The building is still lovely, though, and the courtyard with its arcaded gallery still enchants, despite part of the mortuary being turned into a nail salon, and Hill having become a major thoroughfare. I can assure you, though, that Mr. Rawles had a beautiful service.

1 comment:

Larry said...

You can’t help but notice in going through old newspapers that suicides and divorces (especially in the days before no-fault divorces) were treated as daily “brites,” brief stories to break up other news. Papers finally stopped covering suicides in the belief that they merely encouraged people to kill themselves and suicide stories are quite rare today unless a well-known individual is involved (like the recent death of pianist Linda Martinez). They certainly wove a grim thread into the fabric of the daily paper.

Here’s one I came across today in researching something else that is as heartbreaking now as it was in 1943:


Life for Doynce Lucille Baer, 14, yesterday became unbearable tragedy and when she tried for the seventh time to commit suicide she succeeded.

When the girl’s mother, Mrs. Richard H. Baer, 7534 Fountain Ave., missed her and looked in the garage a few minutes after midnight yesterday, she found little Donyce Lucille’s body dangling from an improvised noose.

Dr. Lloyd Tainter of the West Hollywood Emergency Hospital, who was called, said the child had been dead an hour.

Note Signed ‘Punky’

Investigating police discovered a pathetic farewell note, signed “Punky.”

“Dear Everyone,” began the note, “I’m terribly sorry to have to do this—believe me, truly I am, but it just simply had to be this way—there is no other way out. At one time I was terribly, terribly happy, happier than anyone else in the world—a feeling I’ve never had before. There were five wonderful months. But that couldn’t last forever, and I knew it. Now all that has stopped and it will never be again.”

Seventh Attempt

“This is my seventh attempt to take my life and for the love of God, I hope it is successful. It’s got to be. The reasons are simple.”

She listed as her reasons the difficulty of doing what was expected of her and of keeping up with her schoolwork.

“I can’t keep up in school,” she wrote. “I try, but it’s so very, very hard, fighting, fighting, fighting—always fighting, just to keep my head above water—but it isn’t worth it.”

Forgiveness Asked

“This last must seem strange to hear from a child (because no matter how much makeup I put on, how I fix my hair or what clothes I wear, that’s all that I am, just a child)…Please, please, please, oh please, I beg you, please forgive me. If there is a God, and I know there must be, I especially ask his forgiveness.”


Source: Los Angeles Times, May 10, 1943