|(Click on the layout for a closer view)|
My husband and I grew up in South Pasadena, California. South Pasadena is only 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles, but is years away in atmosphere. South Pasadena is noted for its tree-lined streets and beautiful homes. Many of them are Craftsman style bungalows, built during the heyday of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States in the early part of the 20th century- from about 1900 to 1920 or so. Famed Arts and Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene (Greene and Greene) lived and worked in Pasadena, designing and building many beautiful and iconic homes. Some of these were in South Pasadena and other nearby communities. The popular style of architecture caught on in the Pasadena area, and their appeal spanned generations. These beautiful homes have only increased in popularity and value. Growing up in South Pasadena made me aware at an early age of the beauty of these homes with their natural wood, wide porches, soft lines, and unpretentious style.
In 1977 I visited the Gamble House for the first time. The Gamble House is probably Greene & Greene's masterpiece. You can read more about it here.
Once visited, I was smitten with the style of the home, and everything else about it: the woodwork, stained glass, accessories, lamps, furniture, textiles and decorative arts. After Bruce and I were married, we made several trips back to the Gamble House, and Bruce fell in love with it too. We dreamed of someday owning our own little Craftsman bungalow.
Fast forward to 1992. We were being relocated from Minneapolis to Western New York, where I accepted a job with Fisher-Price Toys in East Aurora. East Aurora is a beautiful little village less than 20 miles from Buffalo, and we were excited to move there. East Aurora is not only famous as the home of Fisher-Price, but the home of the Roycroft. We soon learned about the Roycrofters- a movement of artisans in the early 20th century, founded by visionary and entrepaneur Elbert Hubbard in 1895. The Roycrofters formed a creative community of metalsmiths, potters, woodworkers, artists, leather workers, glass workers, and graphic artists. They built several buildings in the community which served as studios and shops. They had a large publishing and printing business, and much of the income of the community came from the sales of books, pamphlets and magazines. Elbert Hubbard died in 1915, a passenger on the ill-fated Lusitania, sunk by German U-Boats off the coast of Ireland. The community managed to hang on for some years, but eventually, the shops and studios were closed.
|The Roycroft Copper Shop|
|The Roycroft Chapel|
When we moved to East Aurora, the Roycroft was in the process of being revitalized. We felt right at home with beautiful things that we saw in the Roycroft gift shop, and admired the reproductions and authentic Roycroft antiques that were for sale there. Most everything was beyond our budget, but we picked up a few things. Bruce began to collect Roycroft books and magazines. After we left East Aurora in 1995, we decorated our California house more and more in Craftsman style. So, it seemed that we had gone full-circle.
|Inside the Roycroft Inn|
|The Roycroft Copper Shop|
|The Roycroft Gift Shop|
Last weekend, as part of our trek to Palmyra, NY to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant, we decided to go back to our old stomping grounds of East Aurora. We hadn't been back since we left, and I was so excited to see everything again. High on our list to-do was to visit the Roycroft Inn, the restored heart of the old Roycroft community. Bruce made a reservation for Saturday night dinner, and we got dressed up and enjoyed a scrumptious meal, celebrating a belated anniversary. During the time we were in East Aurora we visited the fabulous Copper Shop, antique store, and gift shop. Bruce bought me a beautiful print with a quote by Elbert Hubbard. I can't wait to frame it and hang it on our wall.
So, that's the long winded, roundabout story of our visit to East Aurora, and why it was so special to us!
|Only in East Aurora- Roycroft-style trash cans on Main Street|