Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pasadena's New Friendship City

Pasadena has five Sister Cities, but many people don't know that we have two Friendship Cities.

The first, established in the late 1980s, is Kasukabe, Japan.

Our newest, as of this week, is Paju, South Korea.

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Paju Mayor Ryoo Hwa-Sun sealed the deal on Monday during a signing ceremony in the council chamber here at Pasadena City Hall.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Green Balloon for Iran

Many bloggers around the world are posting green balloons on Fridays in support of the people of Iran.

Read more about it on Petrea's blog.

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.


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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mystery History

OK, I've made it way too easy on you the last couple of weeks, so here's one that may come close to stumping you.

What's happening here? Take your best shot!!

The first person who answers correctly will receive a fabulous prize.

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

No more Ms. Nice Guy (for this week, anyway).

Friday, June 19, 2009

President Roosevelt's Speech to the People of Pasadena

Here's the speech President Theodore Roosevelt gave to the people of Pasadena on May 8, 1903:

Congressman, Mr. Mayor, and you, my fellow citizens, men, women and children of Pasadena:

I am not going to talk to you very long this morning, because I am too much interested in your community. I want to see all I can see. We speak often of the old pioneer days, and the wonderful feats of our countrymen in those days, but we are living right in the middle of them now, only we are living under pleasanter auspices.

To think of the well-nigh incredible fact that all of this that I have been looking at—the city, the development of the country —that it has all occurred within twenty years; that twenty years has separated the sheep pasture from this city, from the fertile irrigated region round about. It is hard to believe it. You have done this great work of building up a new community; you have built up the new community, and yet have preserved all the charm, all the refinement, of the oldest civilizations. It is all so striking that it is difficult for me to know what to comment upon.

Yesterday and today I have been traveling through what is literally a garden of the Lord, in sight of the majestic and wonderful scenery of the mountains, going over this plain tilled by the hand of man as you have tilled it, that has blossomed like the rose -- blossomed as I never dreamed in my life that the rose could blossom until I came here.

Everywhere I have gone I have been greeted by the men who wear the button that shows that they belong to the Grand Army of the Republic, men who fought in that army in many different regiments, from many different States, who have come here from many different States; but who as they fought, all, no matter from what State they came -- as they fought all for the federal flag and the federal Union have come here from their original home to become Californians while remaining Americans.

For, oh, my friends, the thing that has impressed me most here in this State of the West, this wonderful commonwealth that has grown up on the Pacific Slope, the thing that has impressed me most is that I am speaking to Americans just as I speak in any other section of the country! We are all pretty much alike, and I believe so unqualifiedly in the future of the country because I believe in the average American, because I believe in the average standard of our citizenship; and I believe that serious though the problems are that now confront us, they will all be solved exactly as you solved the far more serious problems of the early '6o's, if we approach them in the same spirit in which you approached yours. You went to war for liberty, union, and the brotherhood of man, and now, in peace, it rests for us to stand for the indivisible nation, for liberty under and through the law, and for brotherhood in its widest, deepest and truest sense; the brotherhood which recognizes in each man a brother to be helped, which will not suffer wrong and will not inflict it.

I wish to see the average American take in reference to his fellows the attitude that I wish to see America take among the nations of the world; the attitude of one who scorns equally to flinch from injustice by the strong and to do injustice to the weak. You fought for liberty under the law, not liberty in spite of the law. Any man- who claims that there can be liberty in spite of and against the law is claiming that anarchy is liberty. From the beginning of time anarchy in all its forms has been the hand-maiden, the harbinger, of despotism and tyranny. We must remember ever that the surest way to overturn republican institutions, the surest way to do away with the essential democratic liberty that we enjoy, is to permit any one under any excuse to put the gratification of his passions over the law.

The law, the supreme law of the land, must be obeyed by every man, rich or poor, alike. Ours is a government of equal rights under the law, guaranteeing those rights to each man so long as he in his turn refrains from wronging his brother. We cannot exist as a republic unless we are true to the fundamental principles of those who founded the republic in '76, and those who perpetuated it in the years from '61 to '65. And if we remain true to the philosophy preached and practiced by Washington and Lincoln we cannot go far wrong.

New problems come up all the time. The tremendous growth of our complex industrialism means that we have to face new conditions, that we enjoy new benefits, and must overcome new difficulties; but the spirit in which we must face them must be the old spirit which has won victory in military strife and under civic conditions since the dim days when history dawned.

We can win only if we show the principles that made you win. You did not win by any patent device. You did not win in that way. There is not any patent device for getting the millennium, and any man who says that by following him, that by invoking some specific remedy, all injustice, and all evil, and all suffering will be done away with misleads himself and you. Something can be done by law. Much can be done by honest and fearless administration of the law; but in the long run the prime factor in deciding each man's success must be the sum of the man's individual qualities. We must work in combination. We must work together; but we must remember that no man can do anything with others unless he can do something for himself.

In the army you will remember that there was an occasional man whom nothing under heaven could have turned into a good soldier. You could train him, arm him, drill him, but on the important day he fell sick. If he stayed in action you had to watch him so narrowly for fear he got out that he simply distracted your attention from your legitimate business. You have got just the same type of man in civic life. And still each one of us must remember that any one may and will at times slip. There is not a man of us here who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother. While we must remember that every man at times stumbles and must be helped up, if he lies down you cannot carry him. He has got to be willing to walk. You can help him in but one way, the only way in which any man can be helped permanently -- help him to help himself.

We can solve aright all the difficult problems that come up because of and through our modern civilization, if we approach them in accordance with the immutable laws of righteousness and of common sense; if we treat each man on his worth as a man; if we demand from him, be he rich or poor, obedience to the law and just dealing toward his fellows; if we demand it and are scrupulously careful in return to do the right we demand; if we remember our duties just as keenly as we remember our rights.

Glad though I am to see all of you, to see the grown-ups, I think I am even more glad to see the children. I was greeted by the high school in a way that made me feel perfectly certain that the nine and eleven had their parts in the curriculum. It is, of course, the merest truism to say that important though it is to develop factories, railroads, farms, commerce, the thing that counts is the development of citizenship; that the one thing that decides ultimately what the nation is, is Ihe character of the average man or woman in the nation. That is what decides the future of the commonwealth; and I am very glad to see the kind of children and to see how many there are. I like your stock and I am glad it is being kept up.

I wish to say a special word of appreciation to those engaged in doing the most vitally necessary work in the community -- the school teachers, all engaged in education. They are the people who are deciding, next only to the fathers and mothers themselves, what the future destiny of this country shall be. If we have the most marvelous material development that the world has ever seen, and yet if we train up the next generation wrong, that material development will be as dust and ashes in the balance; it will count for nothing and less than nothing. It is indispensable as a foundation, and it is worthless unless there is a superstructure upon it.

I believe in you. I believe in your future. I believe in our future. I believe in our people, in the American people from one side of the continent to the other, because I believe that the fathers and mothers, the teachers of this generation, are bringing up the children, the boys and the girls, to be in the future such men and women as those who in the iron days of the Civil War left us a heritage of glory and honor forever.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Petrea almost became a three-time winner with her guess of "Teddy Roosevelt's visit" but then Paul Little, CEO of Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, came in with the specific location so he wins the fabulous prize!

Sure enough, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Pasadena on May 8, 1903. In the photo above, Benjamin D. Wilson School* stands decorated and ready for this unusual state occasion. Roosevelt gave a speech at the school, which was one of many Pasadena locations to be festooned to the hilt.

It was a high school from 1892 to 1903. Here's how it looked without all those decorations:

Newspapers throughout the land were reporting on the planning of Roosevelt's Great Western Tour during which he would visit states from Kansas to California, including a walk through Yosemite with the great John Muir himself.

When Pasadena community leaders learned of the upcoming tour, they sent a specially made key to the city along with an invitation to visit this community during his travels.

From the Feb. 28, 1903, New York Times:

President Roosevelt today received a valuable invitation from the citizens of Pasadena, Cal. What its exact value is has not been made known, but it is worth a good deal, for it is in gold. The invitation, which was handed to the President today by Representative McLachlan of California, asks Mr. Roosevelt to visit Pasadena on his coming trip to the West. It is in the form of a key of solid gold, and around the stem of the key is a splendidly engraved crown.

The key is emblematic of the key of Pasadena, and the crown is emblematic of the Indian name for Pasadena, "The crown of the valley." Pasadena is located at the head of the San Gabriel Valley. The invitation is extended by the Mayor and business officials of the town. The key is four inches long and is a good representation of the mammoth keys of the olden days. It is attached to a small piece of native wood that lies in the bottom of a specially made box. The box is of orange wood, with hinges of gold, and gold trimmings at the corners. A gold plate in the centre is inscribed as follows:

"Presented to Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, by resolution of the citizens of Pasadena, Cal., Jan. 6, 1903."

On the inside of the lid of the box is the following inscription:

"Pasadena. Greetings to our President."

Then follows a formal invitation for a visit, signed by W.A. Heiss of the City Council, and members of the trade organizations of the city.

Most of the invitations received by the President have met with the reply that the matter would be taken under consideration. The President, however, was so much pleased with this invitation that he directed Secretary Loeb to arrange for a stop in Pasadena in May.
On the way to Benjamin D. Wilson School, the president's coach came down Marengo Avenue, which was decorated with a huge, elaborate arch of lilies and tall wooden posts with palm fronds and wreaths on them.

Then, when he arrived at Wilson School, a rose-strewn walkway had been laid down for him.

And here's the man himself, giving his speech, no doubt saying "Bully" to this stuffed grizzly bear!

Roosevelt was a passionate conservationist. While in Pasadena, he was taken to the Arroyo Seco where he famously declared his support to Mayor William H. Vedder for the movement to keep it as a natural park: "Oh, Mr. Mayor, don't let them spoil that! Just keep it as it is."

That was just the momentum that was needed, and within eight years the City of Pasadena began acquiring acreage in the Arroyo Seco.

You know I can't miss the opportunity to show you Mayor Vedder from the Hall of Mayors, right?

By the way, son of Pasadena and baseball great Jackie Robinson's middle name was Roosevelt in honor of this President.

Come back tomorrow (Friday) for the speech President Roosevelt delivered to the people of Pasadena.

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

*Benjamin Davis Wilson, for whom this school was named, was more popularly known as Don Benito. Mt. Wilson, Wilson Avenue and Don Benito School were named in his honor. The current Wilson Middle School was named for President Woodrow Wilson.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

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

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

One of Many Reasons Pasadena is Such a Special Place

Here's a friendly reminder that if you live in Pasadena there are some rules and regs -- and programs and services -- that help make our community a very special place.

Click here for more info.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Petrea wins with her 12:04 p.m. Tuesday guess "Could it be the early bicycle way that was meant to go from the Raymond Hotel to downtown?"

In the photo above, a portion of the Dobbins Bikeway, also known as the Arroyo Seco Bikeway and the California Cycleway, crosses over Bellevue Street. (The Pasadena Grand Opera House was at Raymond Avenue and Bellevue Street.)

Horace Dobbins, chairman of the City Board of Supervisors (precursor to City Council) from 1900 to 1901, had the vision for a tollway that bicyclists could take from downtown Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles.

Here's his portrait in the Hall of Mayors:

In 1897 Dobbins formed the California Cycleway Company. The vice president was former California Governor H.H. Markham, a Pasadena resident, and together they championed the cause, took it to the California legislature twice, provided the start-up funding, supervised construction and were the cycleway's most ardent promoters.

Construction began in 1899. It was quite an ambitious undertaking and an engineering feat. The toll was 10¢ one-way or 15¢ round-trip.

The first mile and a quarter, from the Hotel Green to Raymond Hill, opened on Jan. 1, 1900.

Note the toll booth at the bottom of this photo:

Here are some passages from the November 1901 issue of Good Roads Magazine:

On this splendid track cyclists may now enjoy the very poetry of wheeling. At Pasadena they may mount their cycles and sail down to Los Angeles without so much as touching the pedals, even though the gradient is extremely slight. The way lies for the most part along the east bank of the Arroyo Seco, giving a fine view of this wooded stream, and skirting the foot of the neighboring oak-covered hills. The surface is perfectly free from all dust and mud, and nervous cyclists find the track safer than the widest roads, for there are no horses to avoid, no trains or trolley-cars, no stray dogs or wandering children...

...Throughout the entire distance from the center of one city to the center of the other it has an uninterrupted right of way, passing over roads, streets, railway tracks, gullies and ravines. At its highest point, the elevation of the track is about fifty feet...

...At present, the cycle-way is wide enough to allow four cyclists to ride abreast, but its width may be doubled presently...

...From the engineer's point of view, the road is a triumph. No fewer than 1,250,000 feet of best Oregon pine were used in its construction. The wood is painted dark green. At night, the cycle-way looks like a gleaming serpent, for it is brightly lit with incandescent lights on both sides.
But eventually a practical invention -- the horseless carriage -- caused the demise of the bikeway.

Dobbins used the bikeway as a backdrop as he posed on his new-fangled wheels -- a decision he may have lived to regret!

The cycleway was dismantled due to disuse and all that lumber was sold (early recycling!). Later the Arroyo Seco Parkway (now the Pasadena Freeway) was constructed on the same route, and Dobbins became known as the grandfather of the scenic freeway.

Pasadena has been a bike-friendly city for well over 100 years. You can learn more about current City of Pasadena bicycle programs here.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena Museum of History and U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration for information and photographs included in this posting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Järvenpää Visitors

A delegation of high school math and physics teachers from our sister city of Järvenpää, Finland, visited Pasadena last week.

For obvious reasons they visited Blair High School, Polytechnic School, Caltech and JPL; they also enjoyed being tourists, taking in the sights including The Huntington and Venice Beach.

And they visited Pasadena City Hall, where they learned (from yours truly) about the history and architecture of the building.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Mayor Bill Bogaard and Judy Kent, his field representative, to Järvenpää last June; Patsy Lane, director of our Human Services and Recreation Department, was there for a professional exchange a few years ago.

While in Järvenpää, Patsy, Judy and I became friends with Leena Ritala, the manager of international affairs for the City of Järvenpää.

Here's (l-r) Patsy, Leena and Judy as we walked to lunch at the Westin Tuesday of last week.

On Friday there was a luncheon for our Järvenpää visitors and special guests at Caltech's Athenaeum organized by the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee.

Mayor Bogaard presented a proclamation, accepted by Pasi Ketolainen, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Pasadena and Järvenpää. Pasi was wearing two hats on this trip: He is president of the Järvenpää Chapter of the Finnish-American Society and he is a high school physics teacher.

The great Finnish pianist Janne Mertanen, who played for us during a reception and dinner in Järvenpää last June, is currently on tour in the U.S. What a pleasant added bonus to have him perform for us on Friday (he flew down from San Francisco). I was doubly fortunate to be seated next to him at the luncheon, and we caught up with each other's goings-on.

Then on Friday evening Patsy, Judy and I took Leena to dinner at Central Park Cafe. It was a lovely evening filled with food, fun and friendship.

On Sunday Patsy, Leena, Tuija (one of the teachers) and I enjoyed the Music Under the Stars concert in front of Pasadena City Hall.

The delegation headed back home on Monday (with the exception of Janne, whose U.S. tour continues). Yesterday Leena sent an email that reads, in part:

"Safe and sound back from Pasadena from our 'it never rains in California'-days. Thank you so much for the many new impressions, scientific challenges and feelings given during the days of my first ever visit to States - but not the last if I only manage to get my luggage back from Paris..."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mystery History

Speaking of bridges, what's this?

The first person who guesses correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking for Something to Do this Weekend?

Saturday, June 6

Help Pasadena firefighters raise money for a great cause! They'll be in their full turnout gear (what they wear to fight fires) at three intersections in Pasadena, holding out their boots and encouraging passersby to donate cash and checks to MDA.

Sunday, June 7

The annual Music Under the Stars by the Pasadena Pops in front of City Hall begins with pre-concert festivities at 5:30 p.m. including ballroom dancing demonstrations and free lessons, children's activities and much more, followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring all-American music including a tribute to Louis Armstrong and selections from "Guys and Dolls" and "West Side Story." After the sun sets, Broadway songstress Valerie Pettiford will celebrate the night with standards such as "Moon River" and "How High the Moon." For the rousing grand finale, an 80-voice chorale will join the orchestra for patriotic songs including "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful." Bring a folding chair or a blanket to sit on; enjoy your own picnic or purchase dinner at a food booth. Best of all: It's free!

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Nobody got it right on the money but Ben came closest with his answer "first bridge over the Arroyo Seco." He wins a fabulous prize! (Ben, I don't have an email address for you, so please email me at aerdman@cityofpasadena.net and I'll let you know what you've won.)

From the late 1880s to 1913 the Scoville Bridge served as the first and only reliable link between the west and east sides of the Arroyo Seco. It stood within a few yards from where the Colorado Street Bridge is today.

The bridge connected Arroyo Drive (now Arroyo Boulevard) on the east side to a country road that ran along what is now Colorado Boulevard on the west side.

The opening of the bridge represented a whole new world to people who wanted to get from Pasadena to Glendale and vice versa.

The privately owned trestle bridge was part of the Scoville Dam, Bridge and Water Works (you can see the bridge at center left below, peeking out from the trees).

James W. Scoville was a real estate developer, businessman and philanthropist in Oak Park, Ill. (near Chicago), who came to Pasadena along with many other captains of industry in the late 1800s. In suburban Chicago he had been vice president of the Elgin Watch Company and president of the Prairie State Bank. After moving to Pasadena, he was an early trustee of Throop University, which would later become Caltech.

Before the existence of the Scoville Bridge, the only way to get from one side of the arroyo to the other was by riding a horse or walking along trails down the steep embankments, crossing the stream and climbing up the other side. The area was prone to landslides and floods, so it was often a precarious proposition.

The Arroyo Seco was not public land at the time. A land boom in Pasadena in 1886 -- the year the city was incorporated -- was followed by a depression during which James W. Scoville and his son, Charles Burton Scoville, hired workers to construct the dam, bridge and pump house. This project kept otherwise unemployed workers busy for some time.

The pump house sent water from the pond behind the dam up the banks of the Arroyo Seco to irrigate the Scoville family's orange and avocado groves.

The bridge was washed away by storm waters in 1914. The good news was that the mighty Colorado Street Bridge had opened for traffic in 1913.

For the sake of perspective, here's the mighty Colorado Street Bridge under construction near the Scoville Bridge.

The Scoville bridge, dam and pump house are included in an application submitted two years ago by Pasadena Heritage in hopes of having the Pasadena Arroyo Parks and Recreation District included on the National Register of Historic Places. It became official in November 2008.

Remnants of the Scoville project can be seen to this day under the Colorado Street Bridge.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library and Pasadena Museum of History for use of the photos.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Palm Springs, AKA Memory Lane

I was in Palm Springs Thursday through Sunday, hanging with nine long-time PIO pals. Most of us met 20 or more years ago when we became involved in the then-new California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and over the years became great friends for life.

On my way out of town on Sunday, I stopped by some of my old haunts and took some photos to share with you.

My children and I lived in Palm Springs for a few years before they flew the coop and I moved to Pasadena.

I loved living at 225 N. Orchid Tree Lane in the Sunrise Park neighborhood. It's a classic 1958 Alexander Home, a style that is iconic in Palm Springs. Many of the Hollywood elite of the '50s and '60s lived in this neighborhood.

Hey, it's for sale! $399,000 moves you in. Three bedrooms, two baths, living room, family room, circular driveway, plus a big pool and grapefruit trees in back.

We moved to Palm Springs from Walnut Creek because my friend Jan Curran had gotten a job as a senior account executive at The Jones Agency. We had worked together at a little agency in Lafayette, near Walnut Creek. When she told Palm Springs kingpin Milton W. Jones, president of The Jones Agency and publisher of Palm Springs Life Magazine, about me and explained that she and I were a dynamic duo, he flew me down at his expense, put me up for a couple of days, grilled me to the max about my experience and hired me as a senior AE.

So Jan and I continued our working relationship and our friendship at this building, owned by Milt. You can't tell from the boxy front of the building, but The Jones Agency is on the second floor. My office had a sliding glass door behind the desk that led to an inner courtyard with lush gardens and a big fountain. It was pretty nice.

(Side note: As I write this on Tuesday night, I just got off the phone with Jan and we agreed that we worked for a couple of freaks of nature!)

At The Jones Agency I developed major campaigns for clients including Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, The Living Desert and Las Casuelas Terraza. After I led an international tourism marketing campaign for my client the City of Palm Springs, the city made me an offer I couldn't refuse. That's when I first became a PIO for local government.

Speaking of iconic desert architecture, I worked here at Palm Springs City Hall.

My office was straight across the front lobby.

The mayor when I first worked there was the beloved Frank Bogert, an honest-to-goodness cowboy who became a PR man and photographer and was largely responsible for putting Palm Springs on the map as a celebrity playground during Hollywood's golden age.

About 20 years ago the city commissioned a sculptor to create bronze statue of Mayor Bogert. It stands in front of City Hall.

He was very kind to me and a pleasure to work with. After he left office he hired me to edit his book "Palm Springs: The First Hundred Years" and we had great fun working on it together. That book sits on my coffee table to this day and I cherish the inscription he wrote to me.

Sonny Bono ran against Mayor Bogert in a hotly contested race. During the campaign, Sonny often compared himself to Clint Eastwood, who was the mayor of Carmel at the time.

I'll never forget Mayor Bogert's most famous quote: "Comparing Sonny to Clint is like comparing chicken shit to chicken salad."

Sonny won, and at City Hall we prepared for the inevitable culture shock. I hit the ground running on a massive learning curve to soak up everything I could about entertainment media, with Sonny's help of course. He also taught me a lot about promotion. He started the Palm Springs Film Festival from nothing but his movie industry contacts, and I'm proud to say the first meeting was in my office! Those were heady times, I tell you.

To this day I can write his signature flawlessly, which I did on countless promotional t-shirts, posters and other items that were sent far and wide, in the U.S. and abroad. (I just tested my forgery skills and I've still got it!) That merchandise added a lot of money to the city's coffers.

I learned of Sonny's tragic death when a friend called me from Palm Springs before it even hit the media. By then I worked for the City of Pasadena. God, it was just horrible and it's still hard to believe. I immediately wrote a note to his wife Mary, who used to always stop by my office at Palm Springs City Hall for a chat when she made her daily visit with their then-baby boy Chesare.

That's my trip down memory lane. Thanks for humoring me!

We really can't turn back the hands of time but it sure is nice to reminisce.