Tag Archives: Ray Adamyk

Lassie House is Newest Pomona Historic Landmark

8 Jul

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Several hundred people braved the heat in Pomona last Sunday for a ceremony dedicating the historic “Lassie House” as the city’s newest landmark. The Lassie House was home to child star Jon Provost, who played Timmy Martin from 1957 to 1964 on the Lassie television series. Provost lived in the home with his mom and dad, sister Fran and brother William from 1954 to 1959.
“The last time I was in that house I was nine years old,” he told the crowd during the dedication ceremony. “Walking through that house just brought back so many memories.”
Provost recounted one of his less happy memories, the Christmas he and his siblings snuck downstairs and caught their parents putting presents under the Christmas tree. “This is where I found out there was no real Santa Claus,” he said, recalling how his older brother and sister were so amused by his many tears.
When the Provost family moved to the eight bedroom, eight bathroom home in 1954, the Pomona Valley’s citrus industry was still thriving. “This house was surrounded by 20 acres of orange groves,” said Provost. The family had a menagerie of animals, including goats, chickens, kittens and a Lassie puppy that Provost received for his eighth birthday.
“It’s just amazing, what they’ve done,” he said, referring to the home’s new owners, Ray and Michelle Adamyk and their company, Spectra Historic Construction Company, which restores and renovates historic buildings across the west coast. “It’s so important that we keep our history,” added the California native.
The Adamyks and their children moved from Claremont to the large Pomona home last September. “My wife and I really felt a calling to come and serve the city of Pomona,” Ray Adamyk told onlookers, many donning Spectra provided parasols to stave off the hot, summer sun. The company also served guests with a complimentary taco bar, ice water and tea.
Last year the couple bought the old, brick Pomona YMCA building, which Spectra is restoring to serve “the youth of Pomona,” according to Adamyk. Renovation is due for completion in 2020. Four years ago they considered buying the former Provost home and converting it to a sober living home, as they have done to other properties in La Verne and Ontario. But instead they decided to make Pomona their city of residence and purchased the home last year for $660,000. Restoration is ongoing and noisy, but the family plans to put around $700,000 into the renovation, slightly more than their buying price.
At the dedication ceremony, Adamyk described his new home as “Craftorian,” explaining that the original owners had conflicting tastes in design when they had the home built in 1900. The rugged man of the house liked rough woodwork and stone columns, while his dainty wife preferred the Victorian style. After a weekend get-away to Long Beach, the homeowner came up with a way to satisfy both his wife and himself. He decided to make the downstairs a Craftsman house and the upstairs Victorian, with touches of Nouveau and Midcentury Modern.
Adamyk said his new home was purchased not just for his family, but also for the greater community and will be available for community events and use by nonprofits. With the removal of a large fence and hedge that surrounded the property, and a towering tree, the community outreach has already begun.
City of Pomona District 4 Council Woman Elizabeth Ontiveras-Cole spoke briefly, proudly declaring it “International Lassie Day.” She said that she was so grateful to the Adamyks and Spectra for the renovation underway. “It’s not an easy job,” she said. Afterwards, Ontiveras-Cole told me how happy she is with the progress already made on the property and the open view to passersby. “Growing up, we couldn’t see anything,” she said.
Mayor Tim Sandoval is also pleased with the progress and future plans. “This place was always covered by ivy,” he said. “Thank you to Ray and Michelle. This is special.” Sandoval sees knocking down the old perimeter wall as symbolic of the new openness of the historic house and even the city. “It’s symbolic of where our city is from to where it’s going,” he said. “We are an open city.”
With that said, Mayor Sandoval began dedicating the historic home, which was approved as a Historic Landmark by The Pomona City Council. “On this July 1st, I proudly dedicate the Lassie House as a Historic Landmark in the City of Pomona,” he declared to cheering onlookers, who promptly began lining up to tour the inside of the home.
Before the dedication ceremony, several guests, including my husband and myself, got a chance to stroll through the house, which Adamyk says is about 80% complete on the inside and 50% complete on the outside. As we stepped in the front door, a guide told us that a team of mules moved the house from its original location on Holt Boulevard in Pomona to its current address at 1195 Washington Avenue in 1927. The home was originally 3,000 square feet, although expansion over the years, and currently, will bring the total square footage to 7,000, making it the largest residence in Pomona. When the Provost family first moved in, there were backyard wells supplied with water that ran down from Mt. Baldy. A small building in the backyard, called the Carriage House, was also moved to the property sometime in the early 1900’s.
In one of the first rooms we entered, we were pleasantly surprised to meet John Provost and his wife, Laurie Jacobson, who co-authored Provost’s autobiography, “Timmy’s in the Well: The Jon Provost Story.” We were also excited to see Maxx, a gorgeous Champion Rough Collie, owned by Jessica and Cheryl Baldwin. I opted for a photo shoot with the gracious couple and Maxx who seemed to take to me (perhaps detecting the scent of my own pets) and promptly gave me a kiss on the cheek. Maxx’s younger brother, Timmy, now four months old, recently joined the Adamyk family.
After the thrill of meeting the grown up Timmy, Laurie and Maxx, we continued our tour with a view of the back yard. Patti Skulavik, a docent from the Pomona Historical Society, told us the detached guest house and garage were built in the 1950’s. “We love the historical house and everything,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s so cool, just to think that they moved it with mules. I can’t wait ‘til it’s all done, especially the backyard.” By looking out the back windows, we were able to see large boulders, common to the riverbed area, which will be used to landscape a swimming pond, game room, BBQ pits and bath houses.
Other highlights of our home tour included a huge chandelier hung over the long, wooden table in the dining room. According to the docent in that room, it was acquired in the 1950’s from a Masonic Lodge in Glendale. Upstairs, we viewed the old bedroom of Jon Provost, also known as “The Duke’s Room” and his former play area out in the broad hallway, complete with toys. Staff member Vickie Scott pointed out the unique hinges that are used throughout the house adding, “The details were not spared.”
Yes, good things are happening to the old Lassie House and other places in Pomona, thanks, in part, to the Adamyk family and their company, Spectra, where Ray Adamyk serves as president. Spectra, the West Coast’s largest historic contractor, is based in Pomona and is responsible for the preservation of the Hearst Castle, the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, LA’s Biltmore Hotel and several other historic structures.
The Adamyks view their investment in Pomona not just as a calling, but also as a blessing for which they are very excited. During the presentation, Ray suddenly burst out; “Thank you to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ,” as if he couldn’t contain himself any longer. And when I spoke to his wife, Michelle, later, complimenting her on the wonderful work they are doing, she exclaimed, “To God be the glory!” It’s obvious to me that the Adamyks see their company as more than just a business and their work as something spiritual. And their excitement was catching as so many people were thrilled to be in attendance and to witness the historical building dedication.
On a personal note, I am also excited, as a former Pomona resident, with roots to the city, dating back to the early 1900’s, at least. My husband and I moved from Orange County to Pomona in 1985 to buy our first home and we still go to church in the city. My father was born in Pomona in 1917 and moved around the city quite a bit, as my great-grandfather (who lived with the family), built and remodeled Pomona homes. I have one picture of my father, at age 5 in 1922, standing in front of his home on Columbia Avenue, coincidentally the street my husband and I moved to, not very far from the Lassie House. My grandfather, Victor Young, Sr., was a citrus rancher, Manager of the San Antonio Fruit Exchange, church choir director at the Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (which burned down) and other churches, and also the lead in local theater productions. (I learned this last fact from newspaper clippings given to me by a woman living in the home my grandparents bought in the Claremont Village.)
Anyway, I first became aware of the Lassie House when my two older girls attended Kingsley Elementary School, directly across the street, in the early 1990’s. Since then, I’ve always loved the house and I was concerned for its future. I don’t think I could have imagined any future so wonderful as Spectra and the Adamyks are providing for the old home and the community. Kudos to you, Ray and Michelle, and thank you for moving to Pomona and restoring its historic buildings!

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