Thursday, January 21, 2010
Mystery History -- Solved
Barbara Ellis was almost there with her 2:52 p.m. Tuesday guess "Waiting for President Taft to arrive at the Pasadena railway station after his visit to the city in 1909?" So I'm giving her the fabulous prize this week!
Yes indeed, President William Howard Taft visited Pasadena on Oct. 12, 1909, during an automobile tour of California. He was the first U.S. president to use automobiles for official state occasions. His automobile of choice: the Pierce-Arrow.
In the photo above, household help at the Fenyes estate wait for President Taft's motorcade to pass on Orange Grove Boulevard. The photo detail only includes their first names -- left to right are Mina, Catherine, William and Joe. This must have been a welcome respite from their daily work in the mansion on Millionaires Row.
Here's a photo of President Taft in his chauffeured automobile, complete with secret service agents.
The Oct. 13, 1909, Los Angeles Times article titled Pasadena "Heaven" to the President is too grand not to share with you, so I've included it at bottom of this post. You'll want to double-click!
Eva Scott Muse was a divorced mother with one child when she met Dr. Adalbert Fenyes, a Hungarian nobleman and physician, during her travels in Egypt. They were married in 1895 and the following year moved to Pasadena where she commissioned an architect to design the now-famous Fenyes Mansion.
She was a very progressive thinker and had a salon built at the mansion where she hosted groups of artists, writers, actors and musicians.
Here's a 1911 photo of (left to right) Eva Fenyes, her daughter Leonora Muse Curtin, granddaughter Leonora Curtin and husband Adalbert.
In 1970 the two Leonoras donated the estate to the Pasadena Historical Society, now called the Pasadena Museum of History.
Mrs. Fenyes's granddaughter, Leonora Curtin (the little girl two photos up), married Finnish diplomat Y.A. Paloheimo, who became Finnish Consul for the southwest region of the U.S. Today, in addition to the wonderful history, grounds, furnishings and collections at the Fenyes Mansion, there is a wonderful gallery of Finnish folk art and other items.
Here's a photo of the Paloheimos in period costume during an event in the 1970s at the mansion.
I was so fortunate to have been invited to Finland in summer 2008 with Mayor Bill Bogaard and his field representative Judy Kent for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Pasadena's Sister City relationship with Järvenpää. Our last evening there, we were hosted at a beautiful manor house owned by the Paloheimo Foundation.
OK, here's the L.A. Times write-up about President Taft's visit!
Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library and Pasadena Museum of History.