The Friends of Rockhaven held its second fundraiser in support of renovating the former Montrose sanitarium, a tea on Saturday afternoon that the nonprofit hopes will be part of a larger effort to preserve the property.
Since its closing in 2006, the 3.5 acre property has been the subject of numerous renovation ideas, including a housing development, a library, a community center and a host of other potential uses. Development plans have since fallen through and the Friends of Rockhaven, which stemmed from the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley, are currently endeavoring to convert the site into a public park that reflects on the historical significance of the last operating sanitarium in Crescenta Valley.
“It was a landmark for its time,” said Mike Lawler, former Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley president and Friends of Rockhaven member. “Women were treated horribly in those days, but particularly [badly] as far as mental health was concerned. Agnes Richards tried to change all that.”
Richards, a nurse who started the facility that served women with mental health concerns for 78 years, helped expand the property to its current size with the construction of new buildings and the purchase of nearby homes. The Friends of Rockhaven are hoping to preserve those buildings which comprise Rockhaven, though there have been hurdles ever since the City of Glendale purchased the property in 2008.
With Saturday’s tea, the Friends of Rockhaven hoped to elicit enough interest from members of the community for support, financially and otherwise.
“This is going to be a community park,” said Joanna Linkchorst, president of the Friends of Rockhaven, who said that support from the community and local businesses would be key to transforming the property, which contains buildings that have not been altered since the 1920s.
Linkchorst said financial support will also be necessary to make the property fully ADA accessible and for the construction of other facilities such as public restrooms.
“Ideally, there will be a museum here,” said Linkchorst, who added that she also envisioned the community utilizing the area for any number of public uses, including weddings on the grass.
In addition to the tea, the event featured live music and a tarot card reading from CV local Russell Chan, who helped preserve parts of Rockhaven back in 1985 as part of his Eagle Scout project, stripping and repainting the gazebo under which he gave his readings on Saturday.
Those interested in a tour of Rockhaven may email the Friends of Rockhaven at firstname.lastname@example.org