Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm out ill and will post the big reveal to this week's Mystery History contest on another day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Monday, January 24, 2011

State of the City 2011

On Thursday evening, Mayor Bill Bogaard gave his State of the City report at Paseo Colorado's ArcLight Cinemas.

Hundreds of people came and gathered in the lobby prior to doors of Theater 9 being swung open for the proceedings.

Councilwoman Margaret McAustin came prepared for special effects!

The theater filled up quickly:

Vice Mayor Victor Gordo served as master of ceremonies:

The Blair High School JROTC presented the colors:

Mayor Bogaard is pleased every year to spotlight a local arts organization. This year it was Lineage Dance:

Before he began making his official remarks, Mayor Bogaard made a nice tribute to City Councilman Steve Haderlein, who received a standing ovation. After 12 years of service on the council, he decided not to seek re-election.

Mayor Bogaard also introduced Pasadena's new director of planning, Vince Bertoni.

Then it was on to the speech, the text of which you'll find here.

Mayor Bogaard reminded everyone that although there are enormous challenges, which he discussed openly, there are plenty of accomplishments to be proud of and it’s important to keep this in perspective.

By golly, he’s right.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our Name in Lights

Last night was Mayor Bill Bogaard's State of the City event in the ArcLight Theaters at Paseo Colorado.

How fun it was to see the event on the theater's marquee!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everyone this week.

In the photo above, a chimpanzee enjoys some supervised free time on a goal post at Tournament Park in 1923.

The Elks Lodge put on a carnival at the park that year with rides and other attractions, including a side show. The chimp was a big draw.

He was a friendly chimp.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Saturday, Jan. 15, at 9 a.m. – The parking study for North Lake Avenue will be discussed during a community meeting at Santa Catalina Branch Library.

Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3:30 p.m. – Children are invited to meet the 2011 Rose Queen and her royal court, who will read their favorite princess stories at Hastings Branch Library. Come dressed in your finery as kings, queens, princes and princesses!

Monday, Jan. 17 -- City of Pasadena administrative offices, libraries and community centers will be closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m. – It’s time to kick-start those New Year’s resolutions! Come to a heart health workshop at La Pintoresca Branch Library.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “Father of the Bride” (1991, PG) starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in a remake of the Spencer Tracy classic in which a nervous father who can’t imagine life without his “little girl” goes a little nuts during wedding planning.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. – Pasadena City Councilman Steve Haderlein, who is not seeking re-election, will host a District 4 candidates forum at La Salle High School.

Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. – Mayor Bill Bogaard’s State of the City event in the ArcLight Cinemas at Paseo Colorado will include a video showing last year’s accomplishments and the mayor’s speech looking into the future. Grab some popcorn (you pay for your own snackbar goodies), take a seat and learn where Pasadena has been and where it’s going.

Please note all events listed above are free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Bellis wins with her 9:06 p.m. Tuesday guess "Looks like one of the annual Caltech Mudeos, where the students play around in the mud."

In the photo above, students try to capture tires buried in mud and take them out of the pit during the 1941 Caltech Mudeo (like rodeo - get it?).

For many years this annual contest, which began in 1915, was held at Tournament Park on the Caltech campus.

Annual Mudeo events included tug-of-war in which 20 students were allowed on each side, wheelbarrow race with 10 teams of two with one man grasping the legs of the other and propelling him forward, a sack race, horse and rider featuring two-man teams engaging in battle with one sitting on the other's shoulders, and the tire spree pictured above.

Now the Mudeo, revived in 2004 after a hiatus of several years, is held on the Caltech campus and it's coed. This photo was taken during the tournament north of Avery House in March 2010:

Ultimate Frisbee has been added to the list of Mudeo games; the tire spree is lost to the ages.

Many thanks to Caltech.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Roberta wins with her 12:16 a.m. Wednesday guess "Ah, the joy of research. A crowd at J. Herbert Hall Jewelers, located on Colorado. An immense diamond is (being) placed in the store window."

In the 1910 photo above (uncropped this time), a Pasadena police officer stands guard outside the J. Herbert Hall Company as a small crowd gathers.

Here's an excerpt from The Pasadena Star, Sept. 24, 1910:
Hundreds of people gazed with awe at a big pebble in the window of the J. Herbert Hall company all day today, the awe being due to the fact that the insignificant stone is a diamond 61¾ carats in weight, worth an unknown number of thousands of dollars. All day a policeman in uniform stood beside the window to see that no one smashed the glass and made off with the costly pebble.

The big, smooth, uncut diamond rested on a mirrored placque surrounded by handsome unmounted but finished diamonds which in themselves would have made a considerable display...

...Because of the remarkable interest in the display the big uncut diamond will remain on show all day Monday.
And this is from an article published the day before:
...Mr. Hall anticipates that it will finally produce one perfect forty-two carat stone and, perhaps, some smaller ones...

...for twenty years it has been uncut in the possession of one family. It was found in a river bed in South Africa, pledged for a large loan and finally taken when the loan was unpaid. It is now to be put in finished form, one of the largest diamonds in the west...

...The value of the display is so great that a special policeman will be stationed at the window to thwart any effort at smashing the glass by some expert sneak thief who might chance to hear of the valuable stone...
On Nov. 13, 1899, Canada-born watchmaker and optometrist J. Herbert Hall founded a small optical and jewelry store at 43 E. Colorado St.

Timing is everything. Extensive diamond deposits were discovered in Africa in the late 19th century, and by the early 1900s a new trend had taken hold across America: The average betrothed young woman didn't want to wait for a simple gold wedding band to adorn her third finger, left hand; she wanted a diamond to signify her engagement.

J. Herbert Hall sold his first diamond ring for $22 and the business took off like a rocket, becoming the most popular spot in town for purchasing engagement rings, fine china ("Back then we were the place to go to register china patterns," a former employee said years later), strings of pearls and, of course, tried-and-true gold watches.

When wristwatches came into popularity in 1914, Mr. Hall stocked them to the rafters and made a killing.

A well-known businessman in Pasadena, he was a charter member of the Pasadena Rotary Club, served as president of the Pasadena Merchants Association, commander of the Pasadena Commandery of the Knights Templar (known popularly as the Masonic Temple) and president of the California Gold and Silversmiths Association. He also served on most of the committees of the Tournament of Roses Association over the years.

His philanthropy, which he planned with his wife Sarah, was renowned and much appreciated. Among his many gifts were a swimming pool for the YWCA summer camp in the mountains and monetary donations to local schools for curriculum materials.

In addition to a spacious home, the Halls owned an apartment building on what is now the Fuller Theological Seminary campus. They even commissioned that little architectural firm Greene & Greene to make some alterations in 1916. The building, at 451-453-455 Ford Place, is still in use and is a contributing property to the Ford Place Historic District, which recently was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

Throughout the years until his death in 1951 at age 79, he remained one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Pasadena. After his death, his brother Walter took over the company and oversaw a huge boom and expansion.

In 1973 J. Herbert Hall Jewelers was sold to Gordon Jewelers Corp. and was expanded to a 19-store chain in three states. I don't know what happened, but today there are only of couple of J. Herbert Hall Jewelers in Arizona and Texas.

Here's a really bad poem that was included in a Sept. 13, 1910, J. Herbert Hall Jewelers ad celebrating September as Sapphire Month:
September the Sapphire

Those who are born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September's breeze.
A sapphire on their hand should bind--
It will bring Wisdom to the mind.

We have them in pins, pendants, rings and bracelets as high as $250.00 and as low as $7.50

Many thanks to our talented researchers at Pasadena Central Library, including Dan McLaughlin who helped me with this post. There's never any challenge too great or small, and believe me I've tossed some doozies their way!

Please join me in congratulating our lead research librarian Martha Camacho, who in November was was named one of the American Library Association's emerging leaders of 2010!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.