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Cornerspotted: Pasadena's Pacific Asia Museum on Los Robles

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Nice sleuthing by ostergirl, who correctly guessed that this building is now the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, and also by jh, who pinpointed the spot where this the building can be found now, on the southeast corner of Union Street and Los Robles Avenue. In 1939, when the photo was taken, the building was home to the Grace Nicholson Bazaar and Art Gallery. Grace Nicholson was the wealthy collector of Native American and Asian art who commissioned the building from local firm Marston, Van Pelt and Maybury.

Nicholson researched the details for the building, from the arched entrance ("an exact copy of the Buddhist library in Beijing") to the roof tiles, and made sure that everything was stylistically correct, says the Museum's site. The building opened in the mid-1920s, and contained not only galleries for Nicholson to exhibit her for-sale collection items, as well as second-floor galleries, an auditorium, and her private lodgings.

She gave the building to Pasadena in 1943, and it became the Pasadena Art Institute. In 1954, the Institute became the Pasadena Art Museum, which moved in the Seventies and became the Norton Simon. The building post-PAI housed the Pacificulture Museum and then, in the 1980s, the Pacific Asia Museum, which remains in the incredible space today.


· The Grace Nicholson Building [PAM]
· Hint: This Building Was Pretty 'Bazaar' in the 1930s [Curbed LA]