Friday, April 29, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – It’s the grand opening of Reese’s Retreat at Brookside Park – a delightful playground for pint-sized pirates of all abilities.

Saturday, April 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Celebrate the anniversary of Arlington Garden, Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden.

Tuesday, May 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. – Get a blood pressure check and diabetes risk assessment and screening at Santa Catalina Branch Library, 999 E. Washington Blvd., presented by Huntington Hospital Community Outreach. (626) 744-7272.

Wednesday, May 4, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “Pride and Prejudice” (2005, PG) starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen and Donald Sutherland in the adaption of the Jane Austen’s novel.

Wednesday, May 4, at 4 p.m. – Children will celebrate their moms by creating a special craft at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd. All materials will be provided. (626) 744-7262.

Thursday, May 5, at 3 p.m. – Children will celebrate their moms by create a special craft at Hill Avenue Branch Library, 55 S. Hill Ave. All materials will be provided. (626) 744-7264.

Thursday, May 5, at 3:30 p.m. – Teens are invited to a Cinco de Mayo party at Allendale Branch Library, 1130 S. Marengo Ave., where they’ll snack on chips and salsa while watching “Nacho Libre” (2006, PG) starring Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera and Efren Ramirez.

Friday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Teach yourself Microsoft PowerPoint using a self-paced, online tutorial at La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. (626) 744-7268.

Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – It’s the Free Comic Book Day celebration at Pasadena Central Library for children and teens, with special video screenings, a design-your-own-superhero event, a visit by popular graphic-novel illustrator Kazu Kibuishi and much more! (There’s also something happening at each branch library.)

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) at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Mystery History This Week

I'm taking a few days off for R&R. Mystery History will be back next week with a new head-scratcher!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Monday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Flintridge Center staff will conduct a workshop for grant seekers at La Pintoresca Branch Library, where you’ll learn how to generate targeted lists of funding prospects from an online database in seconds. Call (626) 449-0839 for a reservation.

Monday, April 25, at 5 p.m. – This is the deadline for submitting an application to serve as a Pasadena City Council appointee on the Charter Amendment and Sub-Geographic Districting Task Force.

Wednesday, April 27, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “Cleopatra” (1963, PG) starring Elizabeth Taylor as the Egyptian queen, Richard Burton as Mark Anthony and Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar.

Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Attend the first in a series of four community workshops where you’ll share ideas for the design of a proposed park in the Playhouse District.

Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Come to the grand opening of Reese’s Retreat, the universally accessible playground for pint-sized pirates at Brookside Park.

Wednesday, April 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Celebrate the sixth anniversary of Arlington Garden with guided tours, art exhibitions, expert garden advice and much more!

Please note all events are free.

View a more comprehensive list for April 25 to 30, including public meetings, here.

There are even more community events here (and you can add your own!).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Wanda wins with her 7:24 p.m. Tuesday guess "guests are enjoying their stay at the Arroyo Vista Guest House, which later became the Vista del Arroyo Hotel (quite a renovation) and is now the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."

In the circa 1890 photo above, guests congregate outside the Arroyo Vista Guest House.

This photo is circa 1888:

Mrs. Emma C. Bangs purchased the plot of land -- several acres -- between Orange Grove and the Arroyo Seco in 1882.

The Arroyo Vista Guest House was a boarding house and hotel that served winter tourists, travelers and several people with lung disorders who had come west for a climate more tolerable for their conditions.

Here's a really fun excerpt from my favorite local reference book, "Pasadena: Historical and Personal" by J.W. Wood, published in 1917, which can be found in the Centennial Room at Pasadena Central Library:

There are many ways that might be sought to amuse. Even the sick can find opportunities. Mrs. Jennie Banbury Ford furnishes the following as illustration.

"When Mrs. Bangs' boarding house was most flourishing, there were many consumptives coming and going. It became so depressing it was suggested that they band themselves together under the head of "the busted lung brigade," and create more hopeful and cheerful feeling. The suggestion was carried out and proved very successful. They elected officers, had a beautiful silk banner with "B.L.B." embroidered on it and met all "busted lungers" with open arms. Those whose stay was ended were started on their several ways with smiles and cheers. Each member was compelled to sign the by-laws, which were amusing at least. They must not sit in a draft, must consume just so much milk and so many eggs each day and look after each other's comfort, etc. To help the fun along, Mrs. Bangs bought a parrot in Los Angeles who knew how to cough exactly like a "lunger" and contributed much to the amusement. I don't believe a more grotesque club ever existed, do you? It lasted for several years."

The guest house was eventually demolished and then rebuilt in 1920 as the magnificent, 400-room Vista del Arroyo Hotel designed by architects Sylvanus Marston & Garrett Van Pelt. A year later, architect Myron Hunt added his touches, which transformed it into the resort hotel that became so famous for so many years.

In this undated photo guests are in front of the east wing of the hotel with a trellis over the main entrance:

In this 1940s photo a fashion show is taking place on the lower portion of the property:

Here's another view of the lower grounds:

Its life as a hotel ended in 1943 when it was procured by the federal government under the War Powers Act to serve as a U.S. Army hospital. From 1951 to 1974 the building housed a number of federal agencies. It was remodeled again, and since 1981 has served as the Ninth Circuit U.S. Federal Court of Appeals.

The interior is just as spectacular as the exterior:

Here's one of the courtrooms:

There's a nice little history on the federal General Services Administration site.

Tours are offered by appointment: (626) 229-7250

I've been there a few times, mostly for staff and board retreats in one of their community rooms.

I've always loved this photo, which is courtesy of the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Many thanks to the Pasadena Museum of History, University of Southern California and Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals.

Tuesday, April 19, 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, April 14, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Wanda wins with her 2:02 p.m. Tuesday gueas "This must be the interior of the Pasadena Steam Laundry, which had been located at the corner of Villa and Raymond."

In the 1888 photo above, workers at the Pasadena Steam Laundry take advantage of the natural light coming in from the large windows.

The business catered to residents and tourists and was located on Wilson Avenue at Villa Street -- in the outskirts of town at the time.

Before washing machines became a staple in many homes, Pasadena Steam Laundry picked up dirty laundry, delivered clean laundry and provided tailoring and mending services.

In addition to servicing residents and tourists, the business had contracts with some schools, retaurants and hotels.

In an 1892 advertisement in the Pasadena Daily Evening Star, the Pasadena Steam Laundry advertised the fact that no Chinese labor was used:
No leprous or diseased individuals around OUR laundry. None but white labor employed.

Chinese immigrants who helped build the transcontinental railroad from the 1860s to 1880s became cheap labor in other industries throughout the nation. In Pasadena, Chinese laborers worked in the orange groves and other agricultural fields, but were not necessarily welcomed in other enterprises.

This is a Chinese immigrant working at a local vineyard:

The Pasadena Fire Department was established after a makeshift Chinese laundry burned in 1885 and a race riot broke out. Read about that incident here.

Many thanks to the Pasadena Museum of History.

Tuesday, April 12, 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, April 11, 2011

Friendly Feud

By now most people who read my blog know there has been a long-standing feud between Lisa Derderian and me over who has the best PIO hat.

A couple of weeks ago Lisa, who is the emergency management coordinator and PIO for the Pasadena Fire Department, and Fire Chief Dennis Downs stopped by my office with a special gift: my very own Pasadena Fire Department PIO hat!

It includes a miniature firefighter, hydrant, fire truck, a PERT sign, a photo of Lisa, a whistle, a firefighter badge and perhaps the most important tool of my trade: lipstick!

Apparently Lisa thought I would fall for this faux peace offering.

Think again, sister.

In a moment of obvious weakness, she allowed me to place my new Pasadena PIO hat on her head.

Who has the best hat now, Lisa?

You're wearing it!

Photos by the mighty Zack Stromberg of the Public Affairs Office.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Bill H. wins with his 3:59 p.m. Tuesday guess "...this is a construction photo of the Christian Science Building at Green and Oakland."

In the 1910 photos above and below, construction of the First Church of Christ, Scientist is in various stages at the southeast corner of Green Street and Oakland Avenue.

The church cost $100,000 to build. It was designed by architect Franklin P. Burnham of Chicago, who also designed the Georgia State Capitol, Carnegie Art Museum, and the Riverside County Courthouse.

In 1903 Pasadena's burgeoning Christian Science community built its first church at the southeast corner of Colorado Boulevard and Madison Avenue:

It was expanded in 1905:

1905 was also the year the land at Green and Oakland was purchased. After years of fundraising drives and proposals from various architects, Burnham was hired and construction began in 1910. It was completed the following year.

The church had the largest number of square feet of any building in Pasadena at the time. It was designed to be completely fireproof and was topped by one of the earliest examples of a reinforced concrete dome.

Nearly a century after this church was built, structural work revealed the need for a large-scale seismic upgrade. The project team, led by Architectural Resources Group, analyzed the building’s condition, installed a major structural system that is virtually invisible, and restored historic finishes. And they did it all in 18 months with a budget of only $3.5 million, without disrupting a single church service.

The retrofit and restoration project received the prestigious Preservation Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy in 2009.

Pasadena's rich history includes incredible architecture of churches throughout the community, past and present.

The City of Pasadena has dozens of partners in the faith community that are actively engaged in helping us tackle issues ranging from homelessness to violence prevention.

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History, Los Angeles Conservancy, Architectural Resources Group and the University of Southern California.

Tuesday, April 5, 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, April 1, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Sunday, April 3, through Friday, April 8, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. -– Caltrans will close up to two lanes in both directions on the 110 Freeway overnight between Glenarm Street and Interstate 5 as part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway Improvement Project.

Monday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. -– Adults are invited to make their own unique greeting cards in a workshop conducted by Martha Anderson of Creative Memories at Santa Catalina Branch Library.

Tuesday, April 5, at 7 p.m. – Meet Vince Bertoni, director of the Pasadena Planning Department, at a town hall meeting hosted by Councilman Terry Tornek. You don’t have to be a resident of District 7 to attend.

Wednesday, April 6, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “All the President’s Men” (1976, PG) starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the New York Times reporters who uncovered details of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Thursday, April 7, at 2 p.m. – A four-part program will introduce homeschooled children ages 6 to 8 to basic library skills at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd. A different topic will be covered every Thursday in April at 2 p.m., from the parts of a book to how to use the library’s computerized catalog. Call (626) 744-7262 to make a reservation.

Friday, April 8, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. – Local colleges will compete in wacky games during the second annual Pasadena Collegiate Field Tournament at PCC’s Jackie Robinson Stadium. Come cheer on your favorites!

Saturday, April 9, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Pasadena Emergency Response Training (PERT) will be hosted by City Councilwoman Margaret McAustin and the Pasadena Fire Department.

For a more comprehensive list, go here.

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