Thursday, October 4, 2012
By the late 1980’s, the area directly north of Altadena’s Lincoln Avenue known as La Vina had seen better days. La Vina Sanitorium, an upscale tuberculosis rehabilitation facility founded in 1911, had closed its doors more than a decade earlier. Now there were no doors left to close. Or windows for that matter. Not much remained that hadn't been ripped from a wall, torn off a hinge, axed, broken, or burned.
Walking the grounds meant picking your way through vestiges of indeterminate medical leftovers -- cracked glass, hoses, broken dishes, test tubes, concrete pillars -- ruins so ruined one couldn’t tell if the remnants of this room or that had been used for examinations, operations, living quarters, or something mysterious an elegant convalescent hospital may have entertained, back in the day.
In other words, by the late 80’s, La Vina’s attractions were only evident to vandals and those who liked to stub a toe on the remains of recent history. Oh yes, and real estate developers.
Ultimately, the property was purchased for a housing subdivision. And in the early 1990’s, the new owner fenced off La Vina as construction got underway.
The fence, however, much to the surprise of those of us who weren't really paying attention, didn't just enclose what was left of the hospital, but considerable acreage around and above it as well. The fencing even severed a portion of an historic trail, one used daily by hikers and horseback riders – the Altadena Crest Trail.
No worries, said the developer. Once the subdivision is complete, we’ll reconnect the trail and make it better than ever, plus provide some open space recreational acreage. Everybody wins! Hooray, said the county officials.
That was almost 20 years ago.
There's more on Patch. But like I said, it's a long story.