by Timothy Rutt
After several years of waiting, the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Dr., has finally installed courtyard benches in honor of Altadena Realtor and preservationist Astrid Ellersiek.
According to Jane Brackman, president of the Altadena Historical Society, the benches were purchased with a gift from Heinz Ellersiek, to honor his late wife. In fact, the plaques say in "In Honor of Astrid Ellersiek," not "in memory of ..."
"Astrid was devoted to the preservation of Altadena, both its way of life and its physical environment," Brackman said in an email. "She was instrumental in saving the Pacific Electric Substation on North Lake Avenue—the last vestige of the Mt. Lowe Railway—and turning it into an office for her employer, the Jim Dickson Co., and a museum of Mt. Lowe memorabilia. As one of the first local realtors committed to historic preservation, Astrid was a co-founder of the Pasadena Board of Realtors’ Cultural Heritage Committee and a founding board member of Altadena Heritage. We hope that this reminder of Astid's devotion to Altadena will instill in all of us an effort to continue to carry out her preservation work. "