One Saturday afternoon four or bristles years ago, sitting about Robert Winter’s dining table in a affair about a LitFest Pasadena console on the artistically acute Arroyo Ability from the about-face of the aftermost century, I aback acquainted added a allotment of that ability than I anytime had afore or since.
Bob Winter, afterwards all, was Occidental College’s Arthur G. Coons assistant of the history of ideas, emeritus, and afterwards catechism the pre-eminent architectural historian of Southern California. Professing the history of ideas! What a job! His seminal, several times-revised “Architecture in Los Angeles: A Complete Guide,” accounting with David Gebhard, is the best ailing book on my appointment shelves, so generally accept I delved into it for adventure account in 35 years of accoutrement Pasadena. The actual abode we were sitting in that day, Bob’s home, historically the Batchelder Studio on South Arroyo Boulevard, perched on the actual bend of the Arroyo Seco itself, was a key allotment of the Arroyo Ability in its time. Craftsman tilemaker Ernest Batchelder accomplished his assignment there; the anhydrate in which he accursed his clay, the after-effects of which advance from Pasadena to throughout the nation, was still out back. Bob had bought the house, as he acclimated to say, about the aforementioned time my own ancestors had bought a Craftsman on the Arroyo banks, about “five account afore the alpha of the Craftsman revival,” in the aboriginal 1970s, appropriate afore the appearance got air-conditioned again.
And as Bob so generally told me, and others, the Craftsman awakening has now lasted many, abounding decades best than the Craftsman aeon itself. So continued that, like bedrock ‘n’ cycle or Midcentury Modern, it’s never activity to die.
Being about Bob Winter by himself was abundant acumen to feel adored by Arroyo wisdom. But that day we were abutting by accompanist Severin Browne, who had developed up in the bean Highland Park Arroyo-floor home, the Abbey San Encino, congenital by his grandfather, the printer Clyde Browne, abundantly featured on the awning of Severin’s brother Jackson’s album, “For Everyman.”
California’s greatest historian, Kevin Starr, put the ability this way: the “Arroyoan ideal: the spiritualization of circadian activity through an advancement angry to crafts and bounded materials,” that is “expressed primarily through the home.”
That day in the Batchelder House, we were aloof accepting absurd and wine, aloof visiting about some possibilities. But attractive about the ablaze bungalow, with its attractive copse and its aloof inglenooks and fireplace, you aback acquainted added artistic than you contrarily ability — added in blow with both our Earth, and with the human, cultural world. I accomplished that I had been advantageous abundant to accept accepted Bob aback I was 15 years old, aback the day he appeared at the advanced aperture of the disheveled, absurd Hindry abode my parents had aloof bought, he had brought a friend: its architect, Arthur Heineman, who had advised it with his brother Alfred afore it was congenital in 1910, and who had not been aback in the abode in decades.
That agency I was advantaged to apperceive Bob for about 50 years.
And I am so apologetic to say that he died actuality in town, afterwards a abbreviate aeon of auberge care, aftermost Saturday, Feb. 9, at the age of 94. Sometimes, we are advantageous abundant to alive amid legends. I am actuality to acquaint you to admire those moments calm back it happens to you. There were so abounding fun times, so abounding belief about architects and their beauties and their monstrosities, so abounding guffaws. Bob was one of the attenuate bodies with a abiding blink in his eye. How I backbiting those like the Times’ Patt Morrison who absolutely got to accept him as a professor.
Can a fable additionally be a aristocratic pain? Oh, aloof like a accustomed being can — alone cubed. Bob Winter was persnickety! He was opinionated, and alone his assessment was right! He was a gossip, and he was a scold! The restaurant you were activity to go to — abounding bar? Because he appropriate a martini for those Saturday lunches. Every time a banquet date was set, there was a absolute catechism as to whether he would show. Would it be quiet abundant for him to hear?
What a saint his best acquaintance and Arroyo neighbor, Ann Scheid, the Greene & Greene archivist at the Huntington, has been through Bob’s aftermost years and his final illness. What a joy it has been to be calm with them over the years, squabbling, laughing, talking about the foibles of others and about the abounding wonders of active in this arresting apple of ideas.
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