Offramp Gallery is located in a private historic residence in northwest Pasadena. The house was originally built on speculation as a one-story bungalow in 1924. Wallace and Evelyn Le Mone purchased the property in 1942 and began work on the addition that would become the Le Mone Studios.
Mr. Le Mone, born in Wisconsin in 1904, made his living as a painter and woodworker, using the garage of his home as his workshop. Mrs. Le Mone, born Evelyn Crist in 1907 in Upland, was a dancing teacher who had begun her professional career in 1935. She worked as the dancing instructor for the Pasadena Playhouse and was the founder of the Pasadena Junior Ballet.
By 1947, the Le Mones had established the Le Mone Studios at their Lincoln Avenue home. The school of dance would become one of Pasadena's best-known and long-lived cultural institutions, the training ground for many of Southern California's most renowned classical dancers. In 1958, Mrs. Le Mone founded the Pasadena Dance Theater.
Around 1961, the family established the Le Mone Ballet Center at 25 South Sierra Madre Blvd. The ballet school was managed by Mr. Le Mone, while his wife continued to teach students at the Lincoln Avenue studio. Wally Le Mone died in 1971 at the age of 67.
Mrs. Le Mone recalled that her husband built the Lincoln Avenue studio for her "in the mood of Japanese architecture [with] wood, high cupolas, filtered light, glass, and plants." It was a "place for contemplation" and "she created some of her best choreography in its inviting, soaring spaces."
Many famous dancers of the era appeared at the Lincoln Avenue site to visit and teach at her studio.
In May 1998, after over fifty years of ownership, Mrs. Le Mone sold the property. Since 1998, it has had several owners and undergone renovation to the living quarters. Evelyn Le Mone died in October 2005.
Gallery director, Jane Chafin, and architect, Chaz Alexander, bought the property in December 2007 and currently reside there. They are in the process of renovating the original bungalow and landscaping. Offramp Gallery opened on September 14, 2008 in part of what used to be the dance studio.
Information provided in part by Tim Gregory, The Building Biographer. timgregory @sbcglobal.net