Touring the Remnants of Spadra

Last week, I was able to catch one of the last tours of Phillips Mansion for the year. The mansion is one of two remnants leftover of Spadra, a real wild west town located a few miles from where I was born in Pomona, CA. The other remnant of the town is the very old Spadra Cemetery, which is closed to the public. The mansion was built by Louis Phillips in 1875, then one of the wealthiest men in Los Angeles County. I’m not very familiar with second empire style houses, but I’ve always been drawn to Spadra and the rich (but lost) history of the small town that go left behind in time after the building of a railroad stop in neighboring Pomona.

Phillips Mansion sometime in the late 19th Century

The mansion has that classic “haunted house” feel, and has actually been used as a location for a few horror films. The last time anyone had actually lived there was around 1960, when the rooms were rented out as apartments. It suffered bad damage from several earthquakes.

The creepy vibes we real, and since I love old things, I was drawn to every corner of the house–except for the attic. A few people went all the way up into the attic and came down a little creeped out. The interior is quite run down, not at all the lush interior that it had once been. The Pomona Historical Society runs this property and has been doing work to restore it as much as possible.

Onsite of the Phillips Mansion property is also the Currier House, another old mansion that was moved to the property from the City of Industry about 20 years ago. The Currier House is in much need of repair, but exudes character throughout each of the rooms we were allowed to see. Each had unique custom wood floor designs, and some beautiful antique tile work on the fireplaces.

Self reflection from inside the Currier House.
Some of the wood paneling inside the rooms of the Currier House.

The Pomona Historical Society is doing excellent work maintaining and restoring this property, as well as educating local people on the rich history of the area, going all the way back beyond the Missions of California to the indigenous Tongva people who were here originally. Please take a look at their website on Phillips Mansion to learn accurate information on these.

I photographed this tour with my Leica Q.

Farmers market tones

I have to admit that finding any sense of creative flow over the last eight or so months has been a challenge. The summer was hot, arid, and felt long. The remnants of “pandemic brain” have slowly started to recede as I find I have things to look forward to once again. As the world seems to surge back to activity. As my COVID vaccine does its job, allowing me to be in a world to some extent.

A short visit to my weekly local farmers market. An exploration of tone.

These are my fall colors thus far.

Palm Springs palms

Hello, summer.

An early heatwave hit Southern California and for some reason I thought it a good idea to hit the desert for a weekend in Palm Springs at a friend’s house. This is normally calm, relaxing, and fun with plenty of libations flowing by a cool pool.

It was somewhat challenging this time around. The temperatures lingered around 116 degrees all day. It was so hot, the pool water resembled a lukewarm bath. My friend lightly burned his bare feet on the hot patio, and we even had a few power outages.

Still, as pandemic worries slow down steadily, and as the world starts or reopen, it was nice to walk around (yes, in hot noon sun) with the Leica TL2 taking in bars full of chattering patrons under the palms of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs spritz.

A Garden in the Rain

A closeup photo of seed pods in the rain

” ‘Twas just a garden in the rain

Close to a little leafy lane

A touch of color ‘neath skies of grey…”

A Garden In The Rain (Carroll Gibbons / James Dyrenforth)

A very rainy week or so here in Southern California. One of my favorite times to take my Leica outside. Carefully, of course, as droplets are still dripping off of things.

I haven’t posted anything since last year, but feeling a sense of re-focus on creative pursuits. Pandemic life and political crises have occupied my mind almost non-stop since who knows when.

I know we aren’t in a clear space yet, but it’s nice to feel a storm has come to wash away and refresh.

A very familiar sunset

A beautiful sunset over the Colorado River in Parker, Arizona.
Sunset over the Colorado River in Parker, Arizona.

I wish I could be dancing in the streets right now after a very tense week of election stress. I’ve always found elections to be stressful but this one, of course, nearly pushed me to the edge.

I’m at the Arizona house to de-stress. Yes, that Arizona. And here watching a very familiar sunset again over the River. These sunsets that I’ve been watching since I was a small kid.

Sun setting over a dark and troubled time. Sun rising over a new day where the work is only begin. To heal. To begin anew.