Architectural Styles | Public/Commercial

These are public and commercial structures.

101 E. Lime Avenue

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This ad for the Renaker Funeral Parlor appeared in a booklet entitled Your Monrovia Home published by the Monrovia Merchants Association in 1930. Even though the ad indicates the funeral parlor had been in business for forty years, it had only been located at this site since 1911, which is most likely the date for this picture.

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The Myrtle Avenue view of Lots 15 and 16 today. The address is now 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

This detail form a Sanborn map shows Lot 15 from the Lime Avenue side.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 15

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1911

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): James J. McLachlan

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

In the 1888 tax records, the owner of this lot is unknown, but the value of the land reflects its prime position as a corner lot on the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime Avenues.  It is assessed at $800, and the value after equalization is $300.  The tax assessor’s book has no tax listed, but indicates the property has sold, but not to whom.  The 1889 tax records show Lot 15 (as well as 13 and 14)  belonging to Jas. McLachlan.  The lot’s value has dropped to $600, reflecting the bursting of the land boom bubble.  The taxes due on the property are $3.90, but the property is sold to H. Hart.

The earliest subdivision map shows the following.  The lots on the north, east, and south sides of Block B (the 100 block of East Palm, the 200 block of South Ivy and the 100 block of East Lime) all have north-south orientation.  The dimensions are 50 by 140 feet deep.  The back of each lot ends at the alley that bisects the block horizontally, east/west.  

However, lots 10-15 were divided so that they fronted on South Myrtle.  Their dimensions are 53 ⅓ by 150 feet.  The Sanborn maps show no structure on Lot 15 until 1913, and that structure is the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  It is unclear from the maps and directories what direction the front of this building faced when it was first built in 1911.

The first structure was owned by Charles Taylor (known as C.T.) Renaker.  In 1887-88, his father, James John Renaker,  had a funeral home/furniture/stationery store first in the Badeau Block, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle and then at 627 S. Myrtle.  J.J. Renaker died in 1904, around the time the funeral parlor burned down, and C.T. constructed a new building for the mortuary business, including an apartment on the second floor for the family: his mother Sarah Elizabeth and his brother Leslie.  Previously, the family were living in a house at 125 N. Myrtle Ave.

The front of the structure that faced Myrtle was the business entrance, 334 S. Myrtle Ave.  Perhaps because they didn't want their personal address to be that of the undertaking business, they used the address at the side entrance which at different times had the address of 101 or 107 E. Lime Ave.

It would hardly have been appropriate to bring the bodies of the deceased in through the front door of the business, so they were taken in through an entrance on this south side of Lot 15 and Lot 16, just to the right of the entrance seen in the first picture.  There were addresses in the early days that are associated with the building, but they are on Lime, not Myrtle.  Specifically, the following addresses are all associated with the structure the Renakers owned on Lots 15 and 16.

  • 101 E. Lime
  • 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary)
  • 107
  • 109 E. Lime
  • 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

By the late 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today.

Considering how long the Renaker Funeral Parlor was on Lot 15, it is surprising that there are no permits on file for the property before 1957.  In June of 1957, a permit was filed for a store built by the Worrell Construction Co.  At that time, the owner’s name is given as O.(?) P. McKelvey.  In December of 1957, the store is identified as an Anita Shop, a chain of dress stores which existed through the 1950's and early 1960's.

Since 1957, the structure has had numerous owners and morphed through numerous business, including, for a short time, a J.C. Penney

115 E. Lime Avenue

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This photograph of the property dates from around 1912. That is George Barry standing in the front of the building.

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This Sanborn map image for 1913 shows the configuration of the structure and its position in relation to the other structures on the block at this time.

This is the current view of the property.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 16

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1910

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: unknown

Architect: unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): George & Harriet Barry

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia


The 1911 Resident and Business Directory of Monrovia lists this address as the business and residence address of  George Barry,  publisher of the Monrovia Daily and Weekly News, and his wife, Harriet H. Barry, editor of Pacific Poultrycraft.  Their 1908-1909 address was La Vista Grande, a large hotel located across the street from 115 E. Lime.

The 1913 Sanborn map shows the outline of a typical commercial building, a narrow rectangle that stretched back over two-thirds of the lot.  It was two-story with the stairs to the second story on the east side of the building.  The photo, dated 1912, of the structure shows it to be made primarily of brick.  Other commercial structures built during this period that still stand are made of the same materials, indicating that this was common during the first part of the last century.

This structure continued housing printing-related activities for many decades.  There is another plumbing permit pulled in the name of Monrovia News for October 3, 1941.

In the early 1950's, the property was acquired by the California Water and Telephone Company.  The utility applied for permit, dated April 2, 1952,  for the demolition of a residence and a garage.  Then in 1954, there is a permit dated 1954 for a “remodel” valued at $7,000.  Since that time, the structure erected by the utility has been expanded from lot 16 to lots 17, 18, and 19, the houses on those lots being demolished.  Additionally, the building, which started out as a single story, has added two more levels.

201 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 14

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Gospel Church

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

The above picture shows the church which is on Lot 13, and the addition to the right, which is on Lot 14. The 1888 tax record shows that George F. Mohn, Sr. and William MacLean were the first owners of this propert of Lot 14. However, they didn't pay the $1.20 tax on the land, which was valued at $300.  H.J. Woolacot paid the tax for a Dr. Roberts.  Consequently, the original ownership is somewhat murky.

The 1927 Sanborn map shows an addition to the Gospel Church which extends onto Lot 14.  The addition may have been added in 1923, as there is a permit for stuccoing and painting exterior walls for that year.  The valuation of the work covered is listed as $2700.

A 1949 permit shows that the church had become the IOOF Lodge Hall.  The permit gives the work to be done as repairing wiring and making structural alterations to make the hall safe to occupy.

At the present time, the property is again being used as a church.

243 E. Lime Avenue

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This detail from

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This detail of the 1913 Sanborn map shows the first structure, the First Congregational Church, built straddling Lots 23 and 24.

This colored detail of the 1927 Sanborn map shows the same structure, now named the Foursquare Gospel Church, with the addition of a large dwelling, perhaps originally built as the parsonage of the church, sitting primarily on Lot 23.

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Lot 23 today.

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 23

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s):

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

A "Card of Thanks" published in the June 11, 1887, edition of the Monrovia Planet indicates that W.N. Monroe and "others" donated Lot 23 (and Lot 24) for the construction of the First Congregational Church.The Town of Monrovia Subdivision, of which Block B was a part,  was originally owned by a consortium known as the Monrovia Land and Water Company.  William N. Monroe was one of the members of the consortium.  The word "others" referred to in the "Card of Thanks" article may refer to the other men of the consortium:  J.D. Bicknell, Edward F. Spence, James F. Crank, and J.F. Falvey.  Additionally in the article,  thanks is also extended to General W.A. Pile "...for surrendering his prior claim to them [the two lots].  Though not a member of the original consortium, General Pile at different times had entered into business partnerships with some of the men.  This may be why General Pile felt he had a claim to the property.  The article was written by C.S. Winters, the clerk for the First Congregational Church.

The first tax records (1888) shows the First Congregational Church as owning Lots 23 & 24.  The taxes for this year were paid by E.B. White.

The Sanborn Map for 1907 shows a rectangular building, referred to as the Gospel Hall, placed toward the northeast section of the lot and lying primarily in Lot 24. In 1913, there is a building permit for an addition, valued at $250.  The owner is listed as the Congregational Church.  The 1913 map reflects this addition.

The 1927 Sanborn Map shows the church as the Foursquare Gospel Church in the same position and the same configuration as the original building.  However, a large dwelling appears in Lot 23.  The address for the dwelling is 243 E. Lime Ave.

The church retained ownership of the property, however, using the structure for meetings.  Apparently even though Congregationalists were attending the Presbyterian church, they still had a "corps of officials" who held regular yearly meetings (Wiley 279).  It is assumed that the church building was also used for other purposes.  But then in 1908, , the church got into tax trouble as there was an outstanding balance of $4.00 from 1897.  Penalties for non-payment brought the total to $45, and the property was sold.

The new owner, J.H. Smith, who lived in Los Angeles, began an "action of dispossession" (Wiley 279).  Wiley continues:   "...after much negotiation, the purchaser accepted three hundred dollars for his rights secured at a tax sale.  This was paid by the church in September, 1909.

There are no tax records Lots 23 from 1901 to 1911 in the old tax books at City Hall, so it is difficult to see exactly what happened.  There is an entry for 1897 giving the value of the lot as $75 and the taxes being paid by Mrs. A.T. Taylor, though the property is owned by the First Congregational Church.  The records go up to 1916 and show the property continues to be owned by the First Congregational Church.

There is no definite date of demolition for the house on Lot 23.  There is a 1962 city permit that refers to the structure as a duplex.  This could be the original house divided up into two dwellings or a new structure completely.  The same permit is for the demolition of "old house" owned by Mr. & Mrs. Everett Owen.  Mr. Owen is also listed as the contractor for the demolition work.

328 S. Myrtle Ave.

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This is a detail from the 1927 Sanborn Fire Insurance map that shows the addresses associated with these lots. The address to the far right is 322. To the left are 324 & 326, and 330.

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John Zerell and his partner purchased the property in 1937, so this picture probably dates from the early 1940s. The giant oak tree can be seen at the back of the property.

This picture was provided by Dorothy Zerell Jefferson, daughter of John Zerell. Of this picture, she says: "The people in the photo are Frances Zerell Foster [Dorothy's aunt] and her two children Jacqueline and Benning Foster, my father John Zerell and his mother Jacobina Heim Zerell.

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This photo shows the view from the corner of E. Lime Avenue, Lot 15, looking north toward lots 13 & 13.

Lots 13 & 14 today

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 13 & 14

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1927

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Dale Kidd

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Daniel Edison Moran, Jr.

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

James McLachlan owned this property, along with Lot 14,  from 1888-1916, and he made no improvements on either property in all the years he owned them.

There is a permit dated March 7, 1927, for work totaling $900 and described as "Group J."  The owner is recorded as Dan Moran and the contractor as Dale Kidd.  The 1927 Sanborn map shows a structure labeled "GAS/OIL". Monrovia city directories show this lot, along with Lot 14, was the site of an automobile service station with various owners over the years.

Daniel E. Moran owned the property and worked as a car mechanic there along with several other people.  The 1928 city directory lists Bob Russell working there as a tire specialist;  Billie H. Youngs painting cars; R.J. Simpson performing  “auto laundry”; Henry Payne handling car batteries; Ray R. Kramer is listed as a machinist; and Russel J. Simpson a mechanic.

In 1937, John Zerell and his partner Louis Wicks took over the business and entered into an agreement with Shell Oil Company.  They maintained their business until 1955 when Shell Oil sold the property, and the both lots were razed in 1955 for a J.C. Penny store which has morphed through the years as many differences business.  At this writing (2012), the site is a pool hall.

The real loss in regard to this property was the giant oak tree that dated back from the time Monrovia was founded.  It can bee seen in the first and third photographs.  It was torn out in 1955 when the gas station was razed.

334 S. Myrtle Ave.

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This picture, circa 1920s, shows front entrance to the Renaker Funeral Parlor. The entrance faced west, but bodies were delivered through a side entrance around the corner on East Lime Avenue. no address for the Myrtle Avenue entrance of the Renaker Funeral Parlour.

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The Myrtle Avenue view of Lot 15 today. The address is now 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

This detail form a Sanborn map shows Lot 15 from the Lime Avenue side.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 15

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1911

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): James John Renaker, Charles Taylor Renaker, James J. McLachlan

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

In the 1888 tax records, the owner of this lot is unknown, but the value of the land reflects its prime position as a corner lot on the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime Avenues.  It is assessed at $800, and the value after equalization is $300.  The tax assessor’s book has no tax listed, but indicates the property has sold, but not to whom.  The 1889 tax records show Lot 15 (as well as 13 and 14)  belonging to Jas. McLachlan.  The lot’s value has dropped to $600, reflecting the bursting of the land boom bubble.  The taxes due on the property are $3.90, but the property is sold to H. Hart.

The earliest subdivision map shows the following.  The lots on the north, east, and south sides of Block B (the 100 block of East Palm, the 200 block of South Ivy and the 100 block of East Lime) all have north-south orientation.  The dimensions are 50 by 140 feet deep.  The back of each lot ends at the alley that bisects the block horizontally, east/west.  

However, lots 10-15 were divided so that they fronted on South Myrtle.  Their dimensions are 53 ⅓ by 150 feet.  The Sanborn maps show no structure on Lot 15 until 1913, and that structure is the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  It is unclear from the maps and directories what direction the front of this building faced when it was first built in 1911.

The first structure was owned by Charles Taylor (known as C.T.) Renaker.  In 1887-88, his father, James John Renaker,  had a funeral home/furniture/stationery store first in the Badeau Block, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle and then at 627 S. Myrtle.  J.J. Renaker died in 1904, around the time the funeral parlor burned down, and C.T. constructed a new building for the mortuary business, including an apartment on the second floor for himself, his mother, and his brother Leslie.

For decades, the address for the funeral home was given only as the corner of Lime and Myrtle.   It wasn't until 1926 that the city directories began to list an address, 334 S. Myrtle Ave., for the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  Specifically, the following addresses are all associated with the structure the Renakers owned on Lot 15.

  • 101 E. Lime
  • 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary)
  • 107 E. Lime Ave.
  • 109 E. Lime Ave.

By the late 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today.

Considering how long the Renaker Funeral Parlor was on Lot 15, it is surprising that there are no permits on file for the property before 1957.  In June of 1957, a permit was filed for a store built by the Worrell Construction Co.  At that time, the owner’s name is given as O.(?) P. McKelvey.  In December of 1957, the store is identified as an Anita Shop, a chain of dress stores which existed through the 1950's and early 1960's.

Since 1957, the structure has had numerous owners and morphed through numerous business, including, for a short time, a J.C. Penney

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