Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved


Aha! I stumped you this week.

In the photo above, a demolition crew prepares to raze the headquarters of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Campfire Girls in Memorial Park to make way for the Pasadena Senior Center.

Los Angeles Times -- June 22, 1958:

City directors ordered an immediate start on preparation of plans for a Senior Citizens Center in downtown Memorial Park after two years of discussion. In finally choosing the Memorial Park location, directors sidestepped a triple recommendation that the proposed $90,000 facility be built at Jefferson Recreation Center, 1501 E. Villa. After lengthy studies, the city Planning Commission, the Recreation Commission and the Pasadena Commission for Senior Citizens had all backed the Villa Street location.
The Campfire Girls headquarters was at the south end of Memorial Park, where the Senior Center is today. Here's a pre-demolition photo that shows the side and back of the headquarters (note Holly Street and the buildings across the way, which are still there):

I was nine years old in 1959 and didn't live remotely near Pasadena, but I feel guilty writing this nonetheless: Going, going, gone...


The Pasadena Senior Center opened on May 22, 1960, in Memorial Park. You'll find more history of the center here.

In 1961 the SGV Council of Campfire Girls conducted a major fund-raising drive to raise $40,000 for the purchase of new headquarters at the former Playbox Theater in Pasadena. (We're still researching the location of that theater building; anybody out there know?)

Here's a quote from Mrs. Ervin Wright, then-president of the organization, in an article titled "Camp Fire Girls Start Second 50" in the March 22, 1961, Pasadena Star-News:

We have excellent camps for outdoor activities but still need a permanent local headquarters. Since we left Memorial Park, we have been in temporary headquarters, but a housing committee is now at work formulating plans for what we hope may be a permanent home.


Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library researcher Stephanie Hough.

11 comments:

Petrea said...

I think they should have kept the house, but that's just my personal opinion.

Okay, so nobody won, but Kevin should get a prize for his answer anyway.

Jean Spitzer said...

I was going to suggest that you deserve the prize for stumping everybody, but that would just encourage you to make the questions even more difficult.

And Kevin's answer painted such an interesting history for Pasadena that I agree with Petrea.

Margaret said...

Drats.

altadenahiker said...

I guess Kevin gets some points if this was an essay question.

Petrea said...

Hee hee. I just thought he had a good imagination.

Kevin Cloud Brechner said...

Sorry you had to read a big long essay, but I really thought I had the right answer. I guess I meant to say Campfire Girls instead of Iceland and Senior Center instead of Vikings, but I was pretty close.

altadenahiker said...

That's ok, I meant to say girl scouts instead of gambol house, but my rice started boiling over and I got distracted.

True Freedom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

I hope you are recovering from your recent travails. Have a good weekend, and we look forward to welcoming you back next week!

pasadenapio said...

Thanks, Kelly. I'm back at it and things are going well (knock on wood).

Mademoiselle Girl Scout said...

It tears my heart out to see those windows being bashed in by a bulldozer. I could really use those @ my dump over here on Madison Ave. Recycle-restore-reuse!

I said dump when I meant sweet little homestead, but I was close.