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Johnson Lake in Pasadena from “Celebrity Rehab”

Jul 12th, 2012 | By | Category: TV Locations

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A couple of weeks ago, while trying to track down the lake house belonging to Donna Meagle (Retta) in the Season 4 episode of Parks and Recreation titled “Sweet Sixteen”, I discovered that there was a lake in Pasadena and just about fell right off my chair! Having lived in the area – as a stalker, mind you! – for well over a decade now, I consider myself a virtual expert on Pasadena and its environs, so how in the world had I not previously known that there was a lake – like an actual lake! – within the city limits? Well, believe you me, I immediately added the place to my To-Stalk list and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out there.

There seems to be quite a bit of discrepancy online about the origins of Johnson Lake, which was formerly known as Mirror Lake and is also sometimes referred to as Johnson’s Lake, Johnston Lake and Beaudry Lake. According to the book Images of America: Garvanza by Charles J. Fisher, the lake is a natural one that was originally located on land belonging to Prudent Beaudry, the thirteenth Mayor of Los Angeles. At the time, the property was part of an area called Garvanza, but it was later integrated into Pasadena. Some other online reports stipulate that the lake was initially part of a natural spring that was dammed to provide irrigation to the 2,200-acre San Rafael Ranch, which was then owned by the Campbell-Johnsons, the very same family who built the oft-filmed-at Church of the Angels. And then there are further reports still which state that the site was first developed by the Annandale Golf Club and/or the San Rafael Winery in the late 1890s. (You can see a picture of the lake taken during that time period on the Pasadena Adjacent website here.) Whatever the case may be, at some point the lake became part of Brookmere, a private gated community comprised of about twenty homes. The Brookmere gates are pictured below.

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Because Johnson Lake is located inside of a gated community, I scoped the place out online before heading over there to make sure that it was viewable from the road. And, as you can see below, it is clearly visible via Google Street View. So I was absolutely shocked when we arrived and the lake was nowhere to be found! As the GC later explained, the Google Street View camera is elevated and therefore had a view above the large hedges which surrounded the Brookmere community. Man, I have got to get me one of those! Winking smile

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Have no fear, though – the GC was able to snap some pics of it by holding the camera up over his head. So while we never actually got to lay eyes on the lake ourselves, our camera got a nice view of it and, as you can see below, it is pretty darn amazing.

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You can also catch a very small glimpse of the lake through Brookmere’s front gates.

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Oddly enough, the house that seems to have the most lakefront land is not located inside of Brookmere at all, but is on La Loma Road, a public street, just a few blocks west of the Beaches mansion (which I blogged about here). The 5,100-square-foot Craftsman-style home, which was designed by area architect Doug Ewing in 2006, boasts four bedrooms, five baths, a .59-acre plot of land, a whopping seven patios, and a 20-foot boat dock! You can see some interior photographs of the place here and here. Have a bib handy to catch the drool, though, because the place is nothing short of breathtaking! I realize that I stated in Monday’s post (which you can read here) that Chris Traeger’s apartment from Parks and Recreation was my dream home, but I think I’d be OK with this place, too. Winking smile

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Because the residence is so incredibly unique, not to mention picturesque, it is, of course, no stranger to filming. In the Season 3 episode of Celebrity Rehab titled “Family Weekend”, Dr. Drew takes his patients, including Heidi Fleiss, Dennis Rodman, and Mackenzie Phillips, to the house for a reunion with their family members. In the episode, the home was referred to as the fictional “Johnston Lake Retreat Center”, but in reality the place is just a private home where actual (and extremely lucky) people live.

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Thanks to my buddy E.J. over at The Movieland Directory website, I learned that the home also appeared as the residence belonging to Gabrielle Cafferty (Marisa Coughlan) and Joel Tiernan (Max Casella) in the Season 5 episode of Medium titled “Soul Survivor”. In the episode, quite a bit of the property was used, including the front exterior;

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the interior . . .

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. . . and the backyard and lake.

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Be sure to “Like” IAMNOTASTALKER on Facebook here and “Friend” me on my personal page here. You can also check out the IAMNOTASTALKER About Me page here and you can follow me on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER. And don’t forget to take a look at my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.

Until next time, Happy Stalking! Smile

Stalk It: Johnson Lake can (sort of) be viewed from the 800 block of Burleigh Drive, just south of where it meets Laguna Road, in Pasadena. The Johnson Lake Retreat Center from Celebrity Rehab is actually a private residence located at 1260 La Loma Road in Pasadena.

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5 comments

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  1. GEORGE TASCH (Local #399) says:

    Scouted the property from a small “dock-side” row-boat about twenty years ago.Do not remember the names of the owners; at the time but they were very gracious.

    I enjoy your “blog” andwill have to peruse more of same in the future.

  2. Chuck Stanislawski says:

    Hi Lindsay,

    Thank you so much for your nice comments regarding our home on Lake Johnston (1260 La Loma Road). We are blessed to be living there. Since you are a location scout I’d be happy to give you a tour of our home and grounds as we are very interested in working with location scouts. My work number is 626 441 0330 x 102.

    Best Regards,

    Chuck Stanislawski

  3. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was being linked to a blog called “I’m Not a Stalker” but I think I’ve been to your site in the past. The home used in the Graduate comes to mind. So I was happy to oblige.

    As to your dream home, I think a bit of film flam film-ery is taking place here. The house your standing front of is actually a recent edition to the neighborhood – a tear down / rebuild. I understand where you might be fooled. Who ever did it, did a REALLY good job recreating a period piece of architecture. As to the lake – many of us feel it’s a shame that a natural lake should be in the hands of property owners. At one point they had put together some kind of public (pay to walk through) event that was pulled. It would be a nice gesture if the complex shared a bit of paradise with it’s neighbors by removing the vines (here and there) and place a side walk around the property. So many people walk that area and lack of lighting and sidewalks is a danger.


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  1. […] “Sweet Sixteen”.  (It was that search that led me to discover Johnson Lake in Pasadena, which I blogged about here.)  And while I was absolutely convinced that Donna’s home was located on the banks of the […]

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