Letter from the Chair

Val Zavala

Hello All,

I am honored and excited to become the Chair of Altadena Heritage, taking the reins from Sharon Sand who served AH so well as chair for six years. Her leadership and dedication were remarkable, and we are grateful for some really good years for our organization.

We are sorry to lose Catherine Cadogan of the board. She brought her amazing vitality and brilliant organizational skills to our organization. We have Catherine to thank for initiating our monthly email newsletter that keeps members up-to-date on happenings with AH and around the community. Catherine also hosted our first post-quarantine 2021 Holiday Party in her lovely garden. We will miss you on the board, Catherine, but we’re certain you will put your organizational skills to good use elsewhere.

Altadena Heritage has been busy this year. Here are just a few of the events and accomplishments of 2022.

We emerged from the pandemic with our most-attended spring Golden Poppy gathering ever. Six Golden Poppy winners who created front yard gardens that “give to the street” were honored. At the event, AH members and guests were able to meander through the estate gardens of Renata and Talmadge O’Neil. Renata designed the exquisite gardens, and graciously shared them with several hundred appreciative visitors. Thank you O’Neils!

Third Thursday educational programs resumed in person at the Community Center. On September 15th, two engineers from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Work, and one from Southern California Edison spoke about “Lighting Altadena” on the controversial issue of the changeover to LED streetlights, covering past history, regulations, and how street lighting is designed in LA County. In October, we hosted “Alternatives to Grass Lawns.” Three experts presented ideas on how to remove thirsty lawns and to promote attractive, drought-tolerant landscaping. Look for more “Third Thursday” panel discussions in 2023.

Tree Giveaway For the third year in a row, forty trees were given away to Altadenans eager to beautify their properties, help clean the air, and keep our neighborhoods cooler. The trees were chosen by an arborist for their adaptability and high success rate. Big thanks to Martin Kelley of Yerba Buena Landscape who procured trees and stakes for us. Thanks, too, to AH’s Tree Committee and the indefatigable Anne Chomyn who initiated this program and to SoCalEdison that continues to help fund it.

Sprucing up Marengo Triangle If you’ve driven by the small grove of trees on the corner of Woodbury and Marengo you may have noticed how weed-free it is. The parklet was initiated 17 years ago by Altadena Heritage and installed in conjunction with Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy.

We transformed a waste space into an attractive spot on a busy corner of a major traffic corridor. This year we revamped the irrigation system and installed stone work to protect new planting. Thanks to Rob Bruce and all the volunteers who helped with weeding and mulching, including volunteers from SoCal Edison!

Owen Brown Commemorative Plaque We are pleased to partner with the County’s Owen Brown Gravesite Committee who held a dedication ceremony for a large bronze plaque at Mountain View Mausoleum last month. The plaque commemorates Owen Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown. Supervisor Kathryn Barger joined with developer Tim Cantwell in the unveiling. Our thanks go to Michele Zack representing AH, who is chair, and who with this committee, the Town Council committee preceding it, and several individuals have worked for years to preserve the gravesite. This effort began in 1989, when AH first nominated it as a Los Angeles County Landmark. It has culminated over the past 18 months with the gravesite purchased and preserved, funding of $300K secured for education and public outreach, and all but final details achieved in landmark designation and transfer to a conservancy.

Our programs and activities would not be possible without the support of more than 350 members. If you’d like to help with events or the tree giveaway, or if you have an idea for a “Third Thursday” panel please don’t hesitate to let us know. Altadena Heritage is, after all, for and by Altadenans.

Here’s to a wonderful 2023!

Val Zavala
Chair, Altadena Heritage