Howard Motor Company Building
The Howard Motor Company Building
is at 1285 East Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA. It is currently
vacant and closed to the public, but is easy to view from public
right of ways.
the ornate, sculpted, baroque architectural style of the Howard
Motor Company Building. Popularized in Spain during the
late 17th and early 18th centuries, Churrigueresque was revived
during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, San
Diego. In the years between World War I and World War II,
the country entered the age of the automobile, and this
high-relief style worked particularly well in the expanding
California automotive market where dealers competed fiercely for
attention and for sales.
Route 66 garages and
dealerships like the Howard Motor Company are significant for
many reasons. Dealers sold, repaired, and sometimes even
assembled the automobiles that crowded Route 66 and local roads
by the middle of the 20th century. Facilities like garages and
dealerships provided tangible indicators of the social and
economic changes generated by the highway and automobile usage
generally, and their activities, appearance, and location were
closely tied to factors such as highway designation, paving,
changes in alignment, and local and national economics.
Pasadena, as an eventual terminus of Route 66, was well situated
to host profitable automobile dealerships.
Most early Pasadena
automobile dealers located their showrooms on Colorado
Boulevard. Two groupings developed: one on a two-block stretch
of West Colorado Boulevard between Orange Grove Boulevard and
downtown, and the other located in the then-geographic center of
the city along East Colorado Boulevard between Lake and Hill
Avenues. Built in 1927, the Howard Motor Company Building was
one of several auto-related buildings located along East
Colorado Boulevard, and it was among the showiest.
considerable growth in the automobile industry during the 1920s,
competition among dealers was fierce. It was not unusual for
dealerships to move often, each time seeking a more elaborate or
advantageous location. When builders constructed the Howard
Motor Company building in 1927, Churrigueresque was an apt
choice. The exterior of the building is richly ornamented.
Corners are chamfered and topped with a broad ornamental frieze.
Showroom windows and entry doors are recessed in a single
elliptical arch, which spans the entire street facade. The arch
has a grooved mold that terminates in unusual scrolled imposts.
Though 1285 East Colorado was built for and used by the
Howard Motor Company, it has also been occupied by several other
automobile dealers and related businesses over the years. The
building remains a well-preserved example of its type and was
listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.