AKA: Royal Laundry Complex, Pasadena, CA; Disney Stores, Pasadena, CA

Structure Type: built works _ industrial buildings - processing plant

Designers: Kaufmann, Gordon B., Architect (firm); Gordon Bernie Kaufmann (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927

2 stories

443 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105

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Pasadena businessman Arthur Clinton Tubbs (1863-1923) commissioned the noted architect Gordon Bernie Kaufmann (1888-1949) to design a laundry building for his company, the Royal Laundry. As noted in the Historic Resources Group. LLC's National Register nomination (2007), the Royal Laundry opened about 1910, and merged with another local concern, the Yosemite Laundry, in 1919. Tubbs, who had worked in the earlier 1910s at Pasadena's Troy Laundry Company, resigned from this firm and purchased Royal-Yosemite in 1916. Tubbs had great ambitions for his business. He retained one of Southern CA's most prestigious designers to design his plant, and, had a grand opening on 09/27/1927, inviting the public to tour his facility. Soon after this first plant was complete, he planned for dramatic expansion. Arthur died too soon to see his expansion fulfilled, but left his son, Harry Arthur Tubbs (1897-1966) plans for additions; Harry made two additions before World War II to the laundry's plant. The Royal Laundry Complex consisted of four distinct parts: the original Main Plant, a rectangular section, that opened to much public fanfare, a South Annex built in 1930 to enlarge operations, a one-story, Drive-in Retail Store (featuring in-car pick-up of laundry) built in 1939, and a sheet-metal roof sign that was place on the roof in 1955. The sign bellowed out to drivers passing on South Raymond Avenue, "Drive-In & Save." Unlike the main building, the South Annex and the Drive-in Retail Store were wood-frame in construction; the 1930 wing's exterior was revised to match the 1939 store's Streamline Moderne appearance.

The Royal Laundry Company Building had a plain appearance, devoid of much ornamentation, appropriate for a light industrial building of the day. Its front facade had a tripartite fenestration, with the front door, trimmed in Spanish tile, placed centrally. The Tropico tiles's profusion of color and detail surrounding the central entry was designed to contrast with the spartan appearance of the walls and emphasize the main door's location. A colonnade of thin engaged columns separated the tall, narrow metal sash windows on each side of the front door. The structure was reinforced concrete, its exterior texture still showing impression of form boards. The wood-frame monitor roof was supported on tall thin wooden columns on the interior; a mezzanine housing offices formed a U around the full-height, factory floor space. Located on the southwest corner of South Raymond Avenue and East Bellevue Drive, the Royal Laundry replaced the exotic Pasadena Opera House that existed on this site from 1888-1926.

A drive-in retail addition, placed south of the original 1927 building, was erected in 1939. In recent years, the Disney Company has leased the building, and commissioned Los Angeles architect Clive Wilkinson to remodel its interior. Wilkinson replaced the old mezzanine level with a new larger one, that had a bridge spanning the shop floor. A two-and-a-half story parking garage was built in 2003, taking the site of a previous one-floor garage.

National Register of Historic Places (September 27, 2007): 7000996 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 19074