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Julia Child’s Pasadena childhood home decaying in the path of unlikely 710 expansion

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The 1911 Craftsman is boarded up and vacant

Julia Child had fond memories of this house on Pasadena Avenue.
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Internationally known chef and cookbook author Julia Child grew up in Pasadena, and it’s not surprising that one of her childhood homes—a shingled 1911 Craftsman on Pasadena Avenue—still stands.

What is surprising is that it is one of the unlucky residences in the path of a halted extension of the 710 Freeway, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The house, vacant for 35 years, is now boarded up and deteriorating.

“This has always been known as the Julia Child house,” Claire Bogaard, a board member of Pasadena Heritage, told the Tribune. The preservation organization is working to get Child’s house, and possibly some of those around it, added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Child’s family home and several other historic houses lining Pasadena Avenue are owned by Caltrans. The agency bought the houses over 50 years ago in anticipation of a never-built extension of the 710 Freeway through Pasadena.

It’s unlikely that the freeway project will ever get built. Metro voted in May not to build a tunnel that would extend the 710 freeway up to the 210, instead opting for smaller-scale improvements in the area.

Caltrans still owns hundreds of houses that were expected to be demolished for the freeway extension project, and began selling some of them off in late 2016. The Tribune says none of the historic houses on Pasadena Avenue have been put up for sale.

The house on Pasadena Avenue is one of three residences in the city where the chef’s family lived when Child was growing up. The house is mentioned fondly in the chef’s biography, Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child.