Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Private View (more Blumer history)

This is a 2nd installment from the Sierra Madre newspaper about the Blumers:

The View from Sierra Madre
Vol. 3 No. 17
Thursday, April 25, 1974

A Private View

The Blumer home was a center of social activities in the early days of Sierra Madre. A family of three sons and three daughters attracted many age groups for picnic parties, musical evenings, drama rehearsals and the usual sewing parties. As the cover picture shows, the large house and grounds had a beautiful view from its hilltop location. The vine covering the front porch was the first large wistaria vine planted by J.G. Blumer in 1887. (The famous Wistaria Vine was planted by Mrs. Brugman in 1894).

After Mr. Blumer's death in 1918, Mrs. Blumer and daughter Edith continued to live at the Auburn St. Address. The other children had moved from Sierra Madre. Dr. George Blumer served the medical profession in several areas before serving for many years as Dean of Yale Medical School. Elsie married local boy, John Hart, who left for an established law practice in New York. Hilda married William Thacher and lived in Ojai at the Thacher School. Philip, a banker, married and lived in Eagle Rock. Fred, associated with Sperry-Gyro Co., married and lived in New York.

Later the Conrad's tennis court on Mira Monte became a gathering place. There were many private tennis courts scattered throughout the village. A cousin of the Blumer's Percy South, brought the first ping-pong set to Sierra Madre and it, too, became the "rage."

In 1923 the Blumer home and the upper four acres of the property were sold to John and Edith Brice who established Brice Academy, a school for boys. Many changes were made in the lovely home and the second story porch was enclosed to make dormitory rooms. At this time Mrs. Blumer rented a house on North Baldwin until the purchase of the Sokol house at 529 W. Highland in 1924. In 1925 the lower half of the Blumer property was sold to the Lutheran Society. In 1926 Mrs. Blumer died. The home property was later sold to the Vard family, the remainder of the property was subdivided and the back roadway became an extension of Hermosa, although it carried Grand View numbers. In 1948 the Bromley's purchased the homesite and have restored it to its original charm.

Edith Blumer married C. W. Bowen in 1928 and they purchased the home on Marlborough Terrace which was part of the original Churchill Ranch in the upper canyon. Mrs. Bowen will be remembered by many for her continuous interest in community activities; a guiding force in all the early dramatic enterprises, a member of the Library Board, and from its organization in 1931, the historian of the Sierra Madre Historical Society and editor of the prized "Annals of Sierra Madre."

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