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Altadena’s Sagemont Estate, Home of Paul Johnson

 Altadenan Paul F. Johnson (1874-1946) “made a name [and his fortune] in the realm of temperature regulation, the Johnson system being one of the best known in the country, and the company has offices in nearly every large city in the world.”   Johnson’s father “invented thermostat heat control but his son invented perfections of it, including important adjustments”(Pasadena Star News, November 14, 1917).  

Johnson built his dream home, Sagemont, in Altadena, on 14 acres near the corner of Maiden Lane and Rubio Canyon Rd.

Paul Johnson’s Altadena estate, Sagemont
Photo from Altadena the Beautiful, published by the
Altadena Chamber of Commerce in 1926.

Johnson also participated in early experiments in radio.  “He owned the first wireless [radio] station west of the Atlantic Coast … and later owned and operated a small station, KGO, in Altadena.” (Pasadena Star News, March 21, 1946) Johnson set up KGO in 1922 and operated it from Sagemont, located, according to a 1917 issue of the Pasadena Star News, “about as close to the Mount Lowe incline as it is possible to get.”    

The driveway gates are all that remain of Sagemont, along with giant trees that still shade the site of the historic “ranch,” now dotted with an array of mid-century homes.

Sagemont’s original entry
 with gates today.

Johnson built another house, still standing at the corner of Maiden Lane and Dolores Road, for his son Seymour Johnson, who subdivided the property sometime after 1934.  The house was purchased and restored a few years ago.

Seymour Johnson house today.
Another view of Sagemont with
Johnson’s yacht