Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Happy Thanksgiving!

JM comes closest with his/her guess "The field of the Rose Bowl or at Tournament House and this is part of the Rose Queen selection. Sorry, don't know the year." (JM, please email me at and I'll tell you about your fabulous prize.)

In the photo above, contestants for Rose Queen of 1930 pose in late 1929 inside a giant question mark.

The winner was Holly Halstead, below (and third from the bottom in the question mark).

She passed away in July 2004 at 95. From an article the following week:

When Holly Halstead Balthis reigned as the queen of the Tournament of Roses in 1930, the Rose Bowl was only 7 years old, and, as she once noted, Old Town Pasadena was new.

Mrs. Balthis, the oldest living Rose Queen, died at age 95 of natural causes Friday at her home in Laguna Beach, said her son and sole survivor, Frank Balthis Jr.

Mrs. Balthis never dreamed her stint as Rose Queen would mean much once it ended.

"I thought it was a short deal, New Year's Day, and that'd be it," she said in a 1986 interview. "But it's something that stays with you all your life."

Indeed, in recent decades Mrs. Balthis was considered "the grand dame" of the Tournament of Roses. She remained active in tournament functions up until her death and each year welcomed the new queen.

Mrs. Balthis was born in Pasadena in 1908 and graduated from Pasadena High School in 1925.

"At first I felt overwhelmed and honored, but I think I really did it because of my dad," she said. "He was so proud of the fact he had been an early comer to Pasadena."

Her escort was her future husband, Frank S. Balthis, a Harvard law student who would later become a Superior Court judge and an appellate court justice.
Halstead Street in Pasadena was named after her father, Richard Halstead, who was a prominent businessman.

The grand marshal of the 1930 Rose Parade was James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, mayor of San Francisco.

Every week my Mystery History posts have something to do with City of Pasadena operations. So how does this post apply?

The City of Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses Association have a long-term contract. As we get a little closer to the end of the year, I'll go into more detail about that.

Suffice it to say that we're going into high gear here at City Hall. Every year, as the T of R maneuvers the monumental task of planning the parade and the game, the City of Pasadena is behind the scenes inspecting grandstands, barricading streets, planning traffic control, managing public safety, cleaning streets afterwards, you name it.

The New Year's Day operations manuals for the Public Works Department, Police Department, etc., are voluminous.

And do you know the City of Pasadena owns the Wrigley Mansion (Tournament House)?

Here's 2010 Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi at her coronation earlier this month.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger will serve as grand marshal.

New Year's Day is just over a month away. We're off and running!

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library and Tournament of Roses Association.


Petrea said...

It's exciting!

I drove by the mansion when they were shooting the publicity shots with Captain Sullenberger. I didn't know what they were doing, but I saw the bright, yellow, "2010." I had my camera but I was in a hurry and couldn't stop! Bummer.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Congrats to JM. She/He got up very early to answer this.

(P was probably in a hurry to a sale at the 99cent store)

"Every week my Mystery History posts have something to do with City of Pasadena operations. So how does this post apply?" --You're outta town, PIO, so you probably can't explain exactly what this means!

Petrea said...

Cafe, you're very close.