By Mary O’KEEFE
The Friends of Rockhaven turned back the hands of time to the days of old Hollywood at a Saturday night dinner and dancing fundraiser. Those who joined the party dressed in ’20s, ’30s and ’40s costume and danced to swing music at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
Leading the evening was Joanna Linkchorst, Friends of Rockhaven president, seen dancing with her husband who was dressed in stylish coat and tails. The event celebrated the historical Rockhaven Sanitarium and brought attention that its fate is uncertain as administrators with the City of Glendale, which owns the 3.5-acre property, review seven proposals brought by developers.
Rockhaven was a sanitarium founded in 1923 by nurse Agnes Richards. From the beginning it was recognized as a unique facility for several reasons including Richards’ approach to treatment, the home-like setting and the respect she showed for her female residents. In addition it was unusual for a woman to be the head a sanitarium and to be a savvy businesswoman in the 1920s and ’30s.
In 2008, the City of Glendale purchased the property and, at the time, the plan was to convert the buildings into a library; however, with the economy downturn those plans were abandoned and the property has sat empty ever since. Several of its buildings were recently placed on the Historical Listing.
The city has reached out to developers who might be interested in purchasing the property.
Friends of Rockhaven is a group of concerned community members who want to protect the sanitarium’s past while it moves into the future.
The fundraiser’s music, a big band sound, was courtesy of Crescenta Valley High School teacher Amber McLeod’s students who played keyboards, guitar and drums. A few members from the CVHS jazz band joined them.
In addition, there was a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind artwork.
“We had artists paint specifically for the auction,” Linkchorst said.
There were two paintings of Rockhaven that were among the 131 silent auction items that filled the side room of the LCWC.
Linkchorst said the night was a success as the Friends of Rockhaven raised $4,000. She credited the success to the volunteers who donated their time, funds, food and auction items.
“People told me [the event] was really great,” said Linkchorst. “I am just amazed at our community.”