Property

101 E. Lime Avenue

Image

Photo: 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.

Image Image

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