Day One- Visit the Brand Park Art and Music Library
I can’t think of a better way to kick off my new venture, 365 Things To Do in Glendale, Ca than the iconic Brand Park Art and Music Library. A visit to this Moorish residence is a must for any resident or visitor.
El Miradero was the main residence for Leslie C. Brand, an important businessman, banker and instrumental in bringing the Pacific Electric Railway, or the “Red Cars,” to the Glendale. El Miradero means “a high place overlooking a wide view” and the building was built by Brand’s nephew, architect Nathaniel Dryden. The design, often mistaken as simply Moorish, is actually inspired by the East Indian Pavilion built for the 1893 Columbian World Exposition held in Chicago. The architecture is considered Saracenic, with crenelated arches, bulbous domes and minars combining characteristics of Spanish, Moorish, and Indian styles. The interior was richly decorated with silk damask wall coverings, handcrafted woodwork and Tiffany leaded glass windows.
The house contained five bedrooms, a solarium, parlor, living room, drawing room, dining room and music salon. On his expansive grounds, Brand built a clubhouse, tennis courts, a swimming pool, kennels, a dog graveyard and a family cemetery. He even built an airstrip and hangar for his airplane collection.
In 1925 Mr. Brand died, leaving the estate to the City of Glendale upon the death of his wife. In 1945 Mrs. Brand died and by 1956 the 5,000 sf mansion had been turned into a beautiful Art and Music Library for the public to enjoy. A little known rumor is that the ghost of Mr. Brand might still inhabit the building. Here is a wonderful article by Nancy Garza, originally printed in the Glendale News Press in 1993.
The City of Glendale, in it’s quest to create a center for those who love the arts, added 21,000 sf of space in 1969, including an art gallery, a recital hall, a sculpture court, and Brand Park Studios. Adult and kid recreation classes featuring all manner of art, craft and skill are featured in this space as part of the Glendale’s Life Long Learning Classes. There are also art exhibits, lecture series and a dance series every spring.