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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

Liz came closest with her 10:40 a.m. Tuesday guess "Putting up the atrium armature for Dr Albert Fenyes mansion on Orange Grove."

In the photo above, a crane delivers the new metal structure for the solarium skylight at the Fenyes Mansion on the grounds of the Pasadena Museum of History in the 1980s.

The original skylight had suffered damage over the years and was replaced with a stronger framework of structural steel.

Here's the solarium in more recent times. Note a portion of the skylight at the top:

Now the mansion, built in 1906, is closed for renovations again, It will reopen this fall.

There are stockpiles of historical information inside the mansion as well as in the PMH archives. I'll let you explore online info at your leisure.

One fact that some people aren't aware of is that Eva Schott Fenyes was a talented painter who studied art in New York, Europe and Egypt. Learn more about that in this article in the spring 2012 edition of the Society of California Archivists newsletter. 

Her good friend Charles Lummis encouraged her to visit and paint all of the California missions, fearing they might disappear over time. She did just that. Here's her watercolor painting of the San Diego Mission de Alcala, painted in 1907.

And many people don't know that Dr. Adalbert Fenyes, in addition to being a Hungarian nobleman and practicing physician, was a renowned entomologist who traveled the world collecting beetle specimens. His important beetle collection is housed at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Here's a rare photo of Dr. Fenyes in his "insectorium" in the gardens at the mansion:

And here are Adalbert and Eva on their wedding day in Budapest in 1896.

I posted a related Mystery History on my Pasadena PIO blog in January 2010.

And now we're back on track with Mystery History on the Ann Erdman blog! Keep checking back...

Many thanks to the Pasadena Museum of History.


  1. Thks again, PIO-Emeritus!
    (what's really funny is i happen to have that newsletter!)

  2. Welcome back! Glad you haven't retired from Pasadena Mystery History ;-)

  3. I'm so glad you're doing Mystery History! My fave!

  4. So what does "undying admiration" entail? That last photo of the happy couple is a prize find.

    Here is one I did on the Feynes Couple a few years back