Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everybody this week, although there were some very clever and creative guesses!

In the 1903 photo above, young students plant gardens at James A. Garfield Elementary School.

The school, at what is now the northeast corner of Pasadena Avenue and California Boulevard, was designed by the firm Ridgeway, Stewart and Son in the Anglo-Teutonic style.

It opened in 1888 on a large property that included gardens and orchards planted and tended by students (with supervision, of course).

In their 1902 book "The World's Work: A History of Our Time," Walter Hines Page and Arthur Wilson Page wrote:

The Garfield school at Pasadena, California, is again conspicuous for its masses of pink ivy-geraniums over the stone wall which supports the sloping lawn, its beds of pink and white geraniums, its clusters of rose bushes and palm trees. In New York, limited space has prevented extensive gardens but an occasional playground is oulined by a hedge of green.

With Pasadena’s population boom in the late 1800s, additions were built on the campus, including this charming kindergarten building that opened in 1902:

I love this photo of kindergarteners learning woodworking skills on one of the building's porches:

Garfield School is long gone (a Vons shopping center is there now). These hale and hearty young boys bid you farewell.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library and Pasadena Museum of History.

Monday, June 27, 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, June 23, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Mike wins with his 10:23 a.m. Wednesday guess "this is Don Juan Benavidez playing his guitar to these kids, and I assume serenading their mothers too, at Citihall."

In the May 18, 1961, photo above, Don Juan Benavides entertains two rootin' tootin' cowpokes in front of Pasadena City Hall during the kickoff to the city's week-long 75th anniversary celebration.

Here are some photos and excerpts from the Los Angeles Times (sorry for the quality -- they're photocopies, not from negatives).

Mrs. J. Robert Paine, left, of the Shakespeare Club and Mrs. Don C. McMillan, wife of Pasadena's city manager, show off their 1886-era costumes:

A schedule of events for the celebration is as follows:

Wednesday: Kick-off Breakfast, 7 to 9:30 a.m.; costume contest during breakfast featuring clothes of 1874, 7 to 8:30 a.m., sponsored by the Shakespeare Club and Shakespeare Club Juniors.

Open house at City Hall, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., displays showing operation of city government; free transportation for tour of Civil Defense Center, 1 to 4 p.m., also for tours of power plant, 1 to 8 p.m.; Pasadena City College Oratorical Contest finals, 3:30 p.m., council chambers, sponsored by Women's Civic League of Pasadena.

Barbershop Harmony Show, 8:20 p.m., Civic Auditorium; square dancing, 8:30 p.m., City Hall Plaza.

John Walmagott (left), Mayor C. Lewis Edwards and William R. Thompson admire a 1913 car that will be entered into the horseless carriage parade:

Thursday: Open house, same exhibits and trips as previous day; Kiwanis luncheon, noon, Masonic Temple, honoring citizens who resided in area during year of incorporation.

Mormon Choir of Southern California, 8:30 p.m., Civic Auditorium.

Friday: YMCA open house, commemorating 75th birthday of that organization, all day and evening. Boys Club of Pasadena open house, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: Open house at the new home of the Tournament of Roses Assn., the former Wrigley family estate, 2 to 5 p.m.

Wanda Anderson, the reigning Miss Crown City, sits atop the city's vintage 1909 Seagrave engine. (To this day the engine is housed at the Pasadena Fire Museum at the Station 31. Stop by and see it and the other treasures some time!)

May 22: State and County Day, open house displays at plaza, Board of Equalization Building and County Courts.

Horseless carriage parade 11 a.m. from Bullocks parking lot, north on Lake Avenue to Colorado Boulevard, west to Garfield Avenue, north to City Hall. Presentation of resolutions from county and state marking the occasion.

Luncheon at Huntington Sheraton Hotel for public officials, 12:30 p.m. Richard Nevins, member of the State Board of Equalization, will represent the state and Supervisor Warren M. Dorn will represent the county.

May 23: Industrial Show, 1 to 10 p.m., Pasadena Civic Auditorium, sponsored by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

May 24: Industrial Show, same hours; Pasadena Symphony Orchestra concert, 8:30 p.m., Civic Auditorium.

Throughout the celebration the Santa Fe Railroad will display two old engines, the Death Valley Scotty engine and a wood-burning engine of 1880, at their yards on Arroyo Parkway near the station.

The history of Pasadena will be shown with photographs and historical documents at Bullock's Pasadena Monday to May 22. The mementos are the property of the Pasadena Historical Society.

Fast forwarding to 2011, this is the 125th anniversary of the city's incorporation in 1886. Throughout June and into July and August, we're partying like it's 2099!

See a full lineup of events and more information here.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library and USC.

Tuesday, June 21, 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.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Tuesday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. – Councilman Steve Madison will host a District 6 town hall meeting in the Crawford Family Forum at Southern California Public Radio, 474 S. Raymond Ave. Special guest Vince Bertoni, director of planning, will discuss the General Plan and the future of Pasadena.

Wednesday, June 22, at 1 p.m. – This week’s free film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “Away from Her” (2006, PG-13) starring Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent and Olympia Dukakis in the story of a man who plunges into an emotional abyss after moving his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife to a nursing facility. Christie earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the fading yet graceful Fiona. (626) 744-4066.

Thursday, June 23, 2:30 to 4 p.m. – Learn about the four alternatives to the General Plan land use and mobility updates and how they would affect jobs, housing, greenhouse gas emissions and more. This workshop in the Creveling Lounge (Building CC) at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., will include exhibits, presentations on the alternatives and an opportunity to ask questions of the community members who helped draft the alternatives.

The next opportunity to learn more about the General Plan is Saturday, June 25, from 9;30 to 11:30 a.m. in the auditorium at Madison Elementary School, 515 E. Ashtabula St.

Saturday, June 25, at 10 a.m. – Children 12 and under will enjoy “Stories from the Old Country” as Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre tells folktales and fables using costumes, props and a healthy dose of laughter in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. This is a Summer Reading Club event (see below).

Saturday, June 25, at 6 p.m. – About 90,000 people are expected to attend the Gold Cup final soccer game at the Rose Bowl Stadium, so be prepared for traffic in the areas surrounding the stadium.

Sunday, June 26, from noon to 4 p.m. – Free HIV testing will be offered in Lot B at the Rose Bowl Stadium sponsored by California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and the Pasadena Public Health Department.

Through July 8 -- Take the General Plan Survey and tell us which land use alternative, or combination of alternatives, you preferred for six planning areas. A special newsletter with information on the alternatives with the survey has been mailed to all households and businesses.

Through Aug. 14 and Aug. 20 -- It’s Summer Reading Club time with the theme “One World, Many Stories” through Aug. 14 for children 12 and younger and through Aug. 20 for teens. They can register at their nearest Pasadena public library. Children will get a special reading log, stickers and book bag, then bring their reading records in when they’ve read 200 minutes to receive their prizes. Hey, teens: Every time you finish a book, magazine, graphic novel or audio book, fill out a prize entry slip with a bit of information about you and the item you’ve finished, then drop it into a specially designated prize box.

All events listed above are free.

See a more comprehensive schedule of events for the same time period, including commission meetings and city council meetings, here.

See even more community events (and add your own) here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Ben, our resident baseball guru, got it right off the bat (get it?) with his 6:30 a.m. Tuesday guess "Walter O'Malley checking out the Rose Bowl as an option to house the Brooklyn Dodgers."

In the 1957 photo above, National League President Warren Giles, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and Pasadena City Manager Don McMillan stand on the field of the Rose Bowl Stadium during contract negotiations that would enable the Dodgers to play at the stadium for up to two seasons during their transition to Los Angeles.

O'Malley, a real estate mogul, decided to move the Dodgers out of Brooklyn because the decrepit Ebbets Field was no longer a viable option for league play and his proposal for building a modern stadium in that burrough fell through when he could not get support for suitable land.

In May 1957 the National League approved the move to Los Angeles, and in October 1957 the L.A. City Council made it official.

But where would the newly named Los Angeles Dodgers play their 1958 season? And how about 1959?

O'Malley's grand plans for a stadium at Chavez Ravine couldn't take shape in time for a number of reasons that I won't go into here (look it up), so he and L.A. city officials turned to Pasadena to discuss a possible temporary home at the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Here from left to right, Los Angeles Mayor Norris Poulson, Pasadena Mayor Seth Miller and O'Malley pore over a map of the Rose Bowl Stadium on Dec. 11, 1957:

During the Dec. 17, 1957, meeting of the Pasadena Board of City Directors (now called the City Council), the chamber was packed with people, many in favor and many opposed to the Dodgers using the stadium.

Excerpt from the minutes of that meeting:
The Chairman announced that the matter of use of the Rose Bowl by the Brooklyn Dodgers would now be taken up and on the order of the Chairman, the City Clerk announced that to this hour, 150 letters were received expressing opposition to the use of the Rose Bowl by the Dodgers, which includes 5 organizations, and that 40 letters were received favoring the said use by the Dodgers which includes 9 organizations.

There was plenty of testimony in the chamber during the meeting.

Here's Oliver B. Prickett representing the Linda Vista Association in opposition of the proposal:

Richard Spaulding representing sporting groups in favor of it:

And James B. Wilcott speaking in favor on behalf of the Pasadena Quarterbacks:

Dozens of people gave their public testimony, for and against. After all was said and done:
Moved by Director Benedict,
"That we direct the City Manager to work out the details of a contract with Walter O'Malley for his Dodgers Baseball Club to use the Rose Bowl as a temporary location for a period of one and one-half to two seasons".

The motion passed six to one.

Excerpts from a Los Angeles Times article Jan. 6, 1958:
Walter O'Malley will climb aboard the Dodger merry-go-round again today, hopeful that he can grab the brass ring -- temporary tenancy for his big leaguers in the Rose Bowl.

This morning the Dodger prexy will resume his discussions with City Manager Don C. McMillan of Pasadena, which were broken off temporarily last month when O'Malley flew east to bring his family back to California.

Their initial negotiations merely were exploratory, but with time running out -- the Dodgers' first home game will be April 18 against the San Francisco Giants -- O'Malley realizes that he must get down to brass tacks.

There is some organized opposition to the Dodgers in Pasadena, principally from residents in the vicinity of the bowl. However, the bulk of the Crown City's citizenry, including leading merchants, labor groups, service and fraternal organizations, are enthusiastic about the prospect of hosting O'Malley's homeless waifs.

Joining O'Malley in his negotiations with McMillan and Rose Bowl Manager Bob McCurdy will be his legal eagle, Harry Walsh; Amos Buckly of the Allied Maintenance Co., Dick Walsh, assistant director of the Dodger farm system, and an engineer.

Business Manager Harold Parrott will be back at his Wrigley Field office today after a brief trip, and Vice President Buzzie Bavasi is expected to return from the East shortly.

Here are Don McMillan (left), Bob McCurdy, Warren Giles and Walter O'Malley going over tentative plans on Jan. 6, 1958:

But here's the thing: Just because a motion passes and negotiations begin, that doesn't mean a contract will actually be executed.

Los Angeles Times - Jan. 14, 1958:
After weeks of careful study the Dodgers' engineers reported that it would cost a minimum of $750,000 to transform the 100,000-seat Rose Bowl into a ball park of major league standards.

A joint statement issued by McMillan and O'Malley asserted that "this amount of money could not be amortized in a short-term, two-year lease." Furthermore, they agreed that "the alterations would leave physical scars on the beautiful Rose Bowl."

During the Pasadena discussions the Coliseum Commission declined to deal further with O'Malley, but some members said they would be willing to revive negotiations if the Rose Bowl plan failed.

The Dodgers would play four seasons in the Coliseum until Dodger Stadium opened on April 10, 1962.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, the City Clerk's Office and USC.

Tuesday, June 14, 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, June 13, 2011

Our 125th Birthday Kickoff

Thousands gathered throughout the day on Saturday for the kickoff to Pasadena's 125th birthday celebrations. The opening bash was at the Pasadena Museum of History, where the galleries and grounds were bustling with excitement.

People waited eagerly for events to begin on stage:

Mayor Bill Bogaard was a big part of the festivities:

Children's activities included storytellers who engaged audiences throughout the day...

...and fancy hat-making, such as this chapeau created and worn by Anastasia Rodriguez:

And then it was time for the enormous and elaborate birthday cake created by pastry chefs at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena:

But wait -- there's more! Click here for information about additional 125th birthday celebrations in the near future.

Many thanks to Linda Centell, Petrea Burchard and Terry Miller.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everybody this week, although plenty of people provided clever guesses.

In the photo above, shot on Oct. 25, 1951, Pasadena City Manager Don C. McMillin accepts $2 from 7-year-old Bobby Bukshpan for a previously owned bicycle at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium during what was billed as the world's largest rummage sale. McMillin served as a volunteer cashier at the event, which was a benefit for the California Junior Republic Auxiliary.

I'll let these other photos speak for themselves:

Nowadays rummage sales aren't so popular. But plenty of people in Pasadena have yard sales on their properties. Remember, you need a permit! You can get two yard sale permits annually, each of which is good for up to three consecutive days.

Many thanks to USC.

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, June 3, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Saturday, June 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Get Healthy Pasadena is a day of free health screenings, healthy food and lifestyle demonstrations and activities, talks by leading health professionals, live music and much more at Pasadena Senior Center and Memorial Park. Pre-register here or call (626) 389-2758.

Saturday, June 4, from 10 to 11 a.m. – A new tree has been planted at the top of the Victory Park’s “V” garden at the northeast corner of Altadena Drive and Paloma Street in recognition of former Pasadena City Councilman Steve Haderlein’s 12 years of service to District 4. Stop by and see the tree, greet Steve and enjoy this very special section of the park.

Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Bring your family and friends to an open house at the Pasadena Police Department Heliport! See the helicopters up close, meet the pilots, see K-9s in action, watch CSI demonstrations, enjoy refreshments and much more.

Monday, June 6 -- Is your child or teen the artsy type? Today’s the deadline for entries in PWP’s water conservation poster art contest.

Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. – Wondering why all that road construction is being done on North Los Robles and when it will be completed? Learn all about it during a community meeting hosted by Pasadena City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson.

Tuesday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m. – This is your final opportunity to meet with City Manager Michael Beck and give him your input on the ideal qualities the next director of public works should possess and the issues the director should be prepared to undertake.

Wednesday, June 8, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “Charly” (1968, PG) adapted from the novel “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. The film stars Cliff Robertson, who won the Academy Award for his role as a developmentally challenged man who gradually develops a genius-level IQ following experimental surgery and then learns it won’t last long.

Wednesday, June 8, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. – The community is invited to a reception welcoming Mercy Santoro, the new director of the Human Services and Recreation Department.

Saturday, June 11, from noon to 7 p.m. – It’s Pasadena’s 125th birthday party extravaganza at the Pasadena Museum of History, complete with a cake created by chefs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, live music, dance, theater, storytelling, exhibitions, children’s activities and much more! Admission, activities and birthday cake are free; food prepared by local restaurants will be offered for sale. Birthday events are also scheduled throughout the summer at City Hall, the Rose Bowl Stadium, Memorial Park and other locations.

Admission is free to all of these events. See a more comprehensive schedule of events sponsored by the City of Pasadena for the same time period, including city council and commission meetings, here.

See more community events (and add your own) at

Many thanks to Kevin Joyce for the photo from the 2010 heliport open house and Pasadena Museum of History for the 125th birthday photo.