Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved


The person who signed in as TAMMY wins. A couple of people emailed me to remind me that I had not changed the file name of the photo to Mystery History but instead still had it named for what was happening. I could presume that TAMMY got the answer from the photo's first file name (before I changed it), or I could give her/him the benefit of the doubt.

Under the circumstances, I'm giving TAMMY the benefit of the doubt. Contact me, TAMMY, and I'll let you know about your fabulous prize!

In the photo above, R.L. Daugherty (center), chairman of Pasadena's Board of City Directors, presides over the opening of a time capsule in January 1931. (The others in the photo are not identified.)

In 1903 the time capsule had been cemented into the cornerstone of the first City Hall owned by the City of Pasadena. It was at the northeast corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Union Street and stood for 29 years before being demolished. (The Container Store is now at that corner.)

Here's a color-tinted postcard that is not dated, but note the horse and buggy and dirt streets.

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE -- HOLD YOUR HORSES!

If the City of Pasadena was incorporated in 1886 and this first City Hall was built in 1903, where was city business conducted all the years in between?

Just about everywhere, it seems!

The first municipal business was conducted from June to August 1886 in E.C. Webster's office over Stevens Hardware Store -- the building on the left in the photo below -- on the south side of Colorado Street between Raymond and Fair Oaks. Webster had been elected to the first board of trustees, which years later would become the city council.

Then it was on to more spacious quarters from August 1886 to Jan. 2, 1887, over A. Cruickshank's Dry Goods Store at the southwest corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Kansas Street (now Green Street). We couldn't find a photo of that building.

From Jan. 3 to March 20, 1887, municipal offices were back with E.C. Webster, this time in his Carlton Hotel on what was (and is) known as the Exchange Block on the north side of Colorado Street between Raymond and Fair Oaks.

Here's a color-tinted woodcut of the Carlton Hotel from the Pasadena City Directory of 1888:

And then the municipal government hit the relative big time when it occupied the entire Old Central School building from March 21, 1887, to Dec. 10, 1889.

The school had been built in 1878 on the south side of Colorado Street. It was moved to Raymond Avenue at Green Street and leased to the City of Pasadena to serve as the City Hall. There's no mention on the back of the photo below about who's who on the front steps of the building, but I presume they were the civic leaders at the time.


When that lease expired, the city leased a brick building owned by C.T. Hopkins on the northwest corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Union Street beginning Dec. 11, 1889. We have no photos of that building.

Then, on Feb. 27, 1893, the move was made to the other side of the street to the southwest corner of Fair Oaks and Union -- a brick building owned by George W. White. We couldn't find any photos of the building in that era, but here it is today:


Continuing the love affair with this intersection, the very first taxpayer-owned City Hall opened for business Nov. 3, 1903, at the northeast corner (note that in this later photo there are automobiles and the streets are smoother).


And of course, this architectural treasure opened for business on Dec. 27, 1927 (just in time to collect the fees for the Rose Parade, as the old joke goes). This photo pre-dates the opening by several weeks.

And here she is today.


To see construction photos of our current City Hall, click on any or all of the links below:

When City Hall was a Hole in the Ground

More Original City Hall Historic 1920s Construction Photos

Historic City Hall 1920s Construction Photos, Continued

By Popular Demand...

The Light through City Hall's Secret Windows

Many thanks to crackerjack reference librarian Dan McLaughlin for helping me with the research for today's post, and thanks to Pasadena Public Library and Pasadena Museum of History for use of some of the historic photos.

6 comments:

TAMMY said...

Thanks, but I think it should actually go to Paul. I did see the file name which I assumed others had too which I why I added my comment about the men possibly being the architects. Paul was closer in that he pointed out it was the old city hall.

Jean Spitzer said...

Fascinating history you two put together. Was that a rail line running on Colorado in the later photo of the pre-1927 city hall??

Petrea said...

I like the contest because the answers are always so fascinating. What a fantastic post.

pasadenapio said...

I have as much fun researching them as you do reading them!

Mademoiselle Gramophone said...

This is great great GREAT!

I love seeing photos of the same spot-- yesterday and today.

Get a load of some of my old cartoons on my blog today. A little laugh from the past.

Paul (the talker guy) said...

But I found the answer in a Pasadena history book that I'm sure Ann has too. (And I've got lots of City Hall stuff already... )

But thanks for the kudos.

Paul