St Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena

Out & about—The leaning tower of brick

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brick structures are relatively rare here in Southern California (we prefer stucco), so whenever I see a brick building, I have to stop and stare.

Recently, when I was up in Pasadena, I found not only a brick structure, but a tall brick structure.

Since I was driving in an unfamiliar area with a car tailgating me and nowhere to quickly park, I snapped a picture as I was driving by:

St Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is what I call a snapshot.

I even named it: “The Leaning Tower of Brick.”

My wise old grandmotherI figured that whatever came out of the camera was, as my wise old grandmother would say, just the basics to start with. Photoshop, here I come!

First I straightened the tower, then added some contrast and sharpening, and lastly framed it in my own unique Russel Ray way:

St Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Once I did that, I went searching to find out what it was and the history behind it. After all, I remind you, brick buildings are rare here in Southern California, especially really, really tall ones!

I did a Google search on “tall brick building downtown Pasadena.” That provided absolutely nothing. Then, remembering basically where I was, west of downtown Pasadena, I went to Google Maps, zoomed in to the street view, and then went strolling down the streets until I saw that tower in the distance. I Google Map-walked to it and found that it is St. Andrew’s Catholic Church at 311 N. Raymond Avenue.

St. Andrew’s is the oldest Catholic parish in Pasadena, having been founded in 1886. The church, including the brick Romanesque campanile bell tower, was built in 1927.

According to Wikipedia, “[The church] is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and important churches in Southern California. The style of architecture, without and within, is that of early Christian churches of the Byzantine era. The architect, Ross Montgomery, and the church’s pastor, Msgr. McCarthy, both traveled to Italy studying early Byzantine architecture to find inspiration for the [church].”

I think they succeeded.

Pasadena map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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25 thoughts on “Out & about—The leaning tower of brick

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I would get dizzy, too, when I tried to use the simple Straighten tool. Then I discovered the Perspective tool which made things a whole lot easier. Recently I discovered the manual adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw. One of those manual adjustments is “Rotation,” and it really makes straightening things fun and enjoyable, like it should be!…………lol

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  1. cat9984

    It’s beautiful. I love stucco, but it’s very rare in Michigan (I imagine the climate would not be very kind to it). We do have a lot of bricks. Do you know whether it Is common today because it was used so commonly in the past?

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Brick is a great all-weather material, especially if there is wet/cold (snow) involved. Maybe only concrete is better, but no one wants to live in a concrete bunker.

      We use stucco here because it’s a great dry/hot climate material. In our mountains where we get snow, the homes are wood or brick.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I had wondered about earthquakes, too. In fact, I still wonder about them, but I couldn’t find any stories about the tower collapsing and being rebuilt, so I guess they just built it properly to begin with. Imagine that……….doing something right the first time……….lol

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              Only about real estate since it’s been a significant part of my life for 45 years. I still kind of wish I had actually went on to become a history teacher although preferably in high school or college. These little K-6 rugrats in my chess classes can really be taxing.

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              1. tchistorygal

                You would have been great, but you are educating about 80 people every day on your blog about everything from history to photography. Yours is one of the most helpful sites on the internet – AND it is interesting. Well I should say you are one of the most helpful bloggers because you always jump to my rescue when I’m drowning in Photoshop! 🙂 It must come from living by the ocean for so long – you are used to rescuing drowning victims! 🙂

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                1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                  lol………..My interest in anything and everything has been both beneficial and a hindrance throughout my life. Blogging and home inspections allow me to let it be beneficial, making most days extraordinarily fun..

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  2. Sue Dreamwalker

    What a Beautiful Church building, most of the buildings in the UK are built out of bricks.. And can see how your wooden buildings are more vulnerable in storms….. Wishing you a good week Russel

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Bricks are extremely susceptible to hurricanes. I’ve been through 17 hurricanes since I was born and raised in Texas. I’ve seen so many buildings where the bricks were simply blown apart of stripped from the building.

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          I think most of your older buildings are made out of huge blocks rather than bricks. Or “block bricks, which look like bricks on the exterior wall but are very deep into that wall so that they can’t be stripped away or blown apart.

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