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More Lives for the Substation


In 1977 a group of Altadenans, led by the Altadena Historical Society as well as the Altadena Town Council, concerned with the threat of the demolition of the substation, had it entered on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the first Altadena building to be so named. Republic Federal Savings purchased the property and plans for a mini mall incorporating the substation were drawn up.

In 1980 the Jim Dickson Real Estate Company, under the leadership of Astrid Elllersieck, spearheaded an effort leading to complete restoration and earthquake retrofitting of the brick building. It was used as an office for the Jim Dickson Company as well as for the Mount Lowe Railway Museum. Local historian and Mount Lowe expert, Charles Seims, loaned much of his extensive collection of artifacts, advertising art, photographs and other relics to the museum he and realtor Astrid Ellerseick founded. (1986 History of the Pacific Electric Railway Substation no. 8)

When property owner Republic Federal Savings was purchased by Weyerhauser Corp in 198?, the understanding that the Jim Dickson Company had with Republic Federal Savings was canceled. The Jim Dickson Company and the Mount Lowe Museum lost their lease and had to vacate the building. The building sat empty for several years until 1992 when Spencer/Hoskins Associates architectural firm leased it. It served as their corporate headquarters until 2007.

Today the building on still stands on Lake Avenue. On the ceiling of the front office, faded lettering designating the location of the placement of various electric lines used for the railway’s operation is still evident, and the view from the tower is still spectacular.