City of Pasadena
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Resource Summary
Resource Summary
Address: 539 E VILLA ST APN: 5731-005-030 [print]

This property is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places. *
Address: 539 E VILLA ST
City: Pasadena State: CA
Zip Code: County: Los Angeles
County Code: 37
Historic Name: BOWEN COURT Common Name: Garden Village
APN: 5731-005-030 Zoning:
Building Sq. Ft: Site Size (Acres): 1.310
Year Built: 1911 Documented District:
District: Property Status: Designated
Resource Description:
Bowen Court is comprised of a series of 25 craftsman bungalows containing a total of 36 individual apartments that are arranged in an “L” formation, with a double row of bungalows along the longer north-south axis and a single row along the north side of the east-west staff. An open public courtyard is located between the double row of bungalows. The court is defined by a stone wall bordering its south and west sides and by a service drive paralleling its western side. Entry to the court is provided from both Villa Street and Oakland Avenue. The Villa Street entrance retains its original craftsman lights.

Within the court itself, the single-story frame bungalows form a coherent visual unit through the repetition of craftsman detail. Each structure is marked by a prominent front porch and medium or low gable roofs. Foundations of common brick, clinker brick, field stone or concrete are employed. Repeated detail includes the use of heavy projecting beams with wide overhands and medium overlap or square butt shingles of horizontal siding as an exterior material. Window boxes on the front of most of the bungalows repeat the pattern of the beams.

Floor plans of individual units vary, but each includes a living room, kitchen, bedroom(s) and closet space. Units are without corridors and entry is always made directly to the living room from an outside porch. Most units are provided with a living room fireplace.

Much of the courtyard is extensively landscaped with tropical and exotic planting, such as palms, camphor trees and jade. A large portion of the central courtyard is given to turf and each bungalow is also provided with its own small section of turf. A final feature of the court to be noted is a heavy timber structure that was originally the court’s tea or play house. The structure, which was built around a eucalyptus tree, is now glassed in.

The various bungalows comprising Bowen Court have undergone some alteration since their construction in 1910-1912. The units were originally stained but have since been painted. The beams supporting the projecting gable and porch roofs have been sawn back flush with the roof to arrest weather damage. In some cases, these beams have been reinforced with wood braces. On some units, small side additions were made, probably in the 1950s, to provide additional closet space. These additions are generally unnoticeable due to the skill with which the original exterior siding was matched. Kitchen and bathrooms have been modernized in all units, but the interior space is otherwise remarkably true to early twentieth century design and method of construction.
Legal Description:
Primary Architectural Style: Craftsman Bungalow
Secondary Architectural Style:
Architect: Heineman & Heineman
Context: Bungalow Courts 
Original Owner:
Original Use: Multi Family Property
Original Location:
Demolished: no
Moved: no
Date Moved: n/a
Designation Date: n/a

* This is a simplified statement of the property's status. Please review the NRHP Status Code field on the search screen for official, adopted status language.