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About Pasadena

Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and the Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home of many leading scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (the leading robotics and spacecraft design and manufacturing NASA center), Art Center College of Design, the Pasadena Playhouse, California School of Culinary Arts Pasadena and the Norton Simon Museum of Art. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 133,936, making it the 160th largest city in the United States. The California Finance Department estimated the Pasadena population to be 146,166 in 2005. Pasadena is the 6th largest city in Los Angeles County, and the main cultural center of the San Gabriel Valley.


Pasadena is located at 34°9′22″N, 118°7′55″W (34.156098, -118.131808)[1]. The elevation is 864 feet (263 m) above sea level. The greater Pasadena area is bounded by the Raymond Fault line, the San Rafael Hills, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.0 km² (23.2 mi²). 59.8 km² (23.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.30%) is water.

Pasadena is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The city is bordered by 10 communities—Highland Park, Eagle Rock, South Pasadena, San Marino, Temple City, Lamanda Park, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, La Cañada Flintridge, and Altadena. The communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Garvanza are incorporated within the city of Los Angeles and Altadena is an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County.

Despite its location well within the Greater Los Angeles metropolis, Pasadena retains a high-profile image throughout southern California due to its broad economic base, noted cultural, scientific, and educational institutions, and shopping and dining establishments that attract customers from the region. This along with Pasadena's many fine examples of architecture, and wealthy neighborhoods, provide Pasadena with a prominence enjoyed by few cities in the Los Angeles area, and is often considered the premiere city of the San Gabriel Valley.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 133,936 people, 51,844 households, and 29,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,238.7/km² (5,798.7/mi²). There were 54,132 housing units at an average density of 904.8/km² (2,343.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 53.36% White, 14.42% African American, 0.71% Native American, 10.00% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 16.01% from other races, and 5.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.40% of the population.

There were 51,844 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $86,523, and the median income for a family was $73,639. Males had a median income of $41,120 and $36,435 for females. The per capita income for the city was $58,186. About 11.6% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


The original inhabitants of Pasadena and surrounding areas was the Native American Hahamog-na tribe, a branch of the Tongva (part of the Shoshone language group). Pasadena is a part of the original Spanish land grant named Rancho del Rincon de San Pascual, so named because it was deeded on Easter Sunday to Eulalia Perez de Guillén Mariné of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. The Rancho comprised the lands of today's communities of Pasadena, Altadena and South Pasadena.

Prior to the annexation of California in 1848, the last of the Spanish owners was Manuel Garfias who was allowed to retain title to the property after statehood in 1850. Garfias sold sections of the property to the first Anglo settlers to come into the area, Dr. Benjamin Eaton, and Dr. S. Griffin. Much of the property was purchased by the honorable Benjamin Wilson who established his Lake Vineyard property in the vicinity. Wilson, known as Don Benito to the local Indians, was also owner of the Rancho Jurupa (Riverside, California) and went on to become the first Anglo mayor of Los Angeles. He is the grandfather of WWII General George S. Patton, Jr. and would have Mount Wilson named for him.

In 1873 Wilson was visited by one Dr. Daniel M. Berry of Indiana who was looking for a place in the country that could offer better climate to his patients, most of whom suffered from respiratory ailments. Berry was an asthmatic and claimed that he had his best three nights sleep at Rancho San Pascual. To keep the find a secret, Berry code-named the area "Muscat" after the grape that Wilson grew. To raise funds to bring the company of people to San Pascual, Berry formed the Southern California Orange and Citrus Growers Association for which he sold stock. The newcomers were able to purchase a large portion of the property along the Arroyo Seco and on January 31, 1874 they incorporated the Indiana Colony. As a gesture of good will, Wilson added 2,000 acres (8 km²) of then useless highland property, part of which would become Altadena.

Naming Pasadena

The mail came to the Indiana Colony via Los Angeles so marked. In an attempt to obtain their own Post Office, the Colony needed to change the name to something the Postmaster General would consider more fitting. The town fathers put three names up to a vote. The first was Indianola. The second was Granada, in keeping with the area's Spanish heritage. The third was proposed by Dr. Thomas Elliott, who had contacted an Indian missionary friend in Michigan who had worked with the Minnesota Chippewa Indians. He submitted four names for translation: "Crown of the Valley," "Key of the Valley," "Valley of the Valley," and "Hill of the Valley." The names came back starting with "Weo-quan pa-sa-de-na," "Hat of the Valley." All the names ended in "pa-sa-de-na (of the valley)".[4] The name was put to a vote, and due to its euphonious nature, it was accepted as Pasadena. Pasadena was incorporated, the second incorporated municipality of Los Angeles County after Los Angeles, in March 1886. In 1892, John H. Burnett of Galveston, Texas had visited Pasadena and when returned to his home near Houston, Texas he plotted a town along two bayous and named it Pasadena, Texas after the California city for its lush vegetation.

The popularity of the region drew people from across the country, and Pasadena eventually became a stop on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which led to an explosion in growth. From the real estate boom of the 1880s until the Great Depression, as great tourist hotels were developed in the city, Pasadena became a winter resort for wealthy Easterners. The first of the great hotels to be established in Pasadena was the Raymond (1886) atop Bacon Hill, renamed Raymond Hill after construction. The original Mansard Victorian 200 room facility burned down on Easter morning of 1895 and was not rebuilt until 1903. It was razed during the Great Depression to make way for residential development. The Maryland Hotel existed from the early 1900s and was demolished in 1934.

Two hotel structures have survived, the Green Hotel (a co-op since 1926) and the Vista Del Arroyo (now used as a Federal courthouse).

Hotel Green

Hotel Green, 1900.

The Hotel Green started construction on South Raymond Avenue at Kansas Street in 1887 by Mr. Webster who was unable to finish it. Colonel George Gill Green, a wealthy patent medicine distributor from New Jersey, finished the six story edifice in 1888. In 1898, he finished construction on a second edifice on the other side of Raymond and connected the two buildings with a bridge and a tunnel. The patrons arrived by train at the adjacent station. In 1902, the hotel was extended to the P.G. Wooster building at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Green Street. In 1924, the hotel became a private residence. The annex was razed to its first story and sold, today known as Stat's Floral Supply. In 1970, the two wings of the hotel were partitioned creating two separate buildings. The 1898 section remained the private residence now called the Castle Green. The 1902 portion was taken over by the government's HUD program for senior residents and disabled persons, and is called the Green Hotel. In 1929, Kansas Street was widened and renamed Green Street.


Performing arts

The Pasadena Symphony, founded in 1928, offers several concerts a year at the Pasadena Civic Center and the Pasadena Pops plays at nearby Descanso Gardens. The Civic Center also holds a few traveling Broadway shows each year. The Pasadena Playhouse presents seven shows a season, each show running six to eight weeks. The Furious Theatre Company is one of several small theatre companies in Pasadena. They are currently housed in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre adjacent to the Pasadena Playhouse. Boston Court Performing Arts Complex, opened in 2003, is near Lake and Colorado. Its resident theatre company, the award-winning Theatre at Boston Court presents four productions a year. [1] Zebulon Projects presents numerous music concerts each year, ranging from classical to jazz. The Friends of the Levitt organization presents a free summer concert series in Memorial Park, with the 2008 summer season marking its sixth year.

Beckman Auditorium and other venues on the Caltech campus present a wide range of performing arts, lectures, films, classes and entertainment events, mainly during the academic year. [2]

The California Philharmonic [3] performs two series in Pasadena, Cal Phil at the Ambassador Auditorium from November through April, and Cal Phil Music Martinis & the Maestro in the Romanesque Room at the Green Hotel from January to May. They also perform Cal Phil Festival on the Green at nearby Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia from July to September, and from July to August Cal Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In conjunction with The Old Mill Foundation, they perform a summer chamber concert series Cal Phil at the Mill in San Marino.

For more than ten years, twice annually Pasadena's cultural institutions have opened their doors for free during ArtNight Pasadena [4], offering the public a rich sampling of quality art, artifacts and music within the city. This has evolved into the yearly PasadenART Weekend [5], a three day citywide event which, as of 2007, encompasses ArtNight, ArtWalk, ArtHeritage, ArtMarket, and ArtPerformance, a vibrant outdoor music event showcasing emerging and nationally recognized talent. Free concerts take place on multiple stages throughout Old Pasadena.

In 2007, the native Pasadena band Ozma reunited and produced the album "Pasadena" in tribute to the city. The album photos and artwork were shot at the Colorado Street Bridge.

The 1960s song The Little Old Lady from Pasadena parodies a popular Southern California image of Pasadena as home to a large population of aged eccentrics. In the song, an elderly lady drives a powerful muscle car and is "the terror of Colorado Boulevard."

Visual arts

A number of artists of national repute, such as Guy Rose, Alson S. Clark, Marion Wachtel and Ernest A. Batchelder, made Pasadena their home in the early twentieth century. The formation of the California Art Club, Pasadena Arts Institute and the Pasadena Society of Artists heralded the city's emergence as a regional center for the visual arts.

The Norton Simon Museum contains over 2000 years of art from the Western world and Asia. The Pacific Asia Museum, with its tranquil garden in the center, features art from the many countries of Asia. The nearby Pasadena Museum of California Art hosts many temporary exhibits from Californian artists. The Gamble House, a National Historic Landmark, is a masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts Movement open for tours. The Huntington Library and its botanical garden are adjacent to Pasadena in the city of San Marino.


The California Institute of Technology is in the southern-central area of Pasadena, with Pasadena City College located just to the northeast. Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the largest multidenominational seminaries in the world[citation needed], sits just east of downtown Pasadena. The California School of Culinary Arts is located on Green Street and Madison. The school offers the Le Cordon Bleu accreditation and has five campuses around Pasadena. Pacific Oaks College is located next to Pasadena's National Historic Landmark — The Gamble House. The Art Center College of Design (also known as Pasadena Art Center) is in the San Rafael Hills overlooking the Rose Bowl, and ranks as one of the top five art schools in the United States and one of the top 10 art schools worldwide[citation needed]; it is particularly known for its design programs. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (managed for NASA by Caltech) is in Pasadena. Ambassador College was opened in the western part of the city just east and south of the route of the Rose Parade. The Pasadena campus of Ambassador was consolidated with its sister campus in Big Sandy, Texas in 1990. The campus is now home to Maranatha High School.

The Pasadena Unified School District encompasses Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre.

The Polytechnic School is a private K-12 institution, adjacent to Caltech's campus.


Old Pasadena is the revitalized downtown, which now provides both locals and tourists a genuinely urban mix for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Paseo Colorado is an upscale mall designed to be a modern urban village, with apartments above the mall. An exclusive shopping district is located in the South Lake Avenue neighborhood.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is a large swap meet that involves thousands of dealers and tens of thousands of visitors in and around the grounds of the Rose Bowl. The merchandise on display ranges from old world antiques to California pottery to vintage clothing. The flea market has been held every second Sunday of the month, rain or shine, since 1967.


The Rose Bowl, a National Historic Landmark, is host of the oldest and most famous college football postseason bowl game, the Tournament of Roses Rose Bowl Game, every New Year's Day. It is the home field for the UCLA Bruins football team and has hosted five Super Bowls. Important soccer matches include the 1984 Summer Olympics, the final of the FIFA World Cup 1994 hosted in USA, and the final in FIFA Women's World Cup 1999.

For some time, Los Angeles has been seeking another National Football League team to replace the Rams and the Raiders, both of whom played in Los Angeles from 1946-1994 and 1982-1994 respectively. In November, 2006, a voter initiative to encourage a deal between the Rose Bowl and the NFL failed at the polls, effectively ruling out a return of the NFL to Pasadena.

Rose Bowl Tennis is [6] is Pasadena's popular tennis facility located just to the south of the Rose Bowl football stadium.

Tournament of Roses Parade

Pasadena is home to the Tournament of Roses Parade, held each year on January 1 (unless that day is a Sunday, in which case the event is held on January 2). The first parade was held in 1890 and was originally sponsored by the Valley Hunt Club, a Pasadena social club. The impetus for holding the parade was, as stated by one of the members, Professor Charles F. Holder, "In New York, people are buried in snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise."

By 1895, the festivities had become larger than the Valley Hunt Club could manage, and the Tournament of Roses Association was then formed to take charge of the festival. In 1902, it was decided that a football game would be added to the day's events. The game, now known as the Rose Bowl, would become the first post-season college football game ever. The first game was between Stanford University and the University of Michigan. After suffering a tremendous financial loss, the Tournament of Roses Association decided to hold Roman chariot races in lieu of football games. However, in 1916, football returned. When it became clear that the stands in Tournament Park were too small to facilitate the crowd, the Tournament's President, William Leishman, proposed that a stadium be built to house the game. The Rose Bowl, designed by noted southern California architect Myron Hunt, was completed in 1923. The Rose Bowl has since been selling out to crowds since 1947. In 1998, the Rose Bowl celebrated its 52nd anniversary and became the longest running tradition of its kind.

The Rose Parade, as it is familiarly known, still features elaborate floats. According to the organizers, "Every inch of every float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. Volunteer workers swarm over the floats in the days after Christmas, their hands and clothes covered with glue and petals. The most delicate flowers are placed in individual vials of water, which are set into the float one by one." Over the two plus hours that the parade occurs, floats and participants travel over five miles (8 km) of terrain and pass by over one million viewers who generally camp out over New Year's Eve to have prime viewing spots along the parade route.

The Rose Parade is satirized by the popular Doo Dah Parade, an annual January event in Pasadena.

South Orange Grove Boulevard

One of several exclusive residential districts in Pasadena, South Orange Grove Boulevard has been a home for the rich and famous since the early 20th century. Because of the number of landmark mansions, the street earned the name "Millionaire's Row," an appropriate sobriquet considering that the estates that once lined this spacious boulevard and the surrounding neighborhood read like a Who’s Who of American consumer products. Some of the more notable families include:

Not all of the vast homes along Orange Grove belonged to the eastern titans of industry. As was typical of the early 20th century, many of the wealthy were doctors, politicians and retired military officers, with the odd Right Reverend sprinkled in. Some of the other notable personalities who lived in this area include notorious occultist Aleister Crowley and brilliant, but troubled, rocket scientist John Whiteside Parsons. In fact Parsons died in an explosion while working in his home laboratory just off of Orange Grove Boulevard in 1952.

Today most of the old estates are gone, replaced by 1960’s era apartments and condominiums. Though far less regal than the vast homes they replaced, these apartment units maintain verdant and meticulously trimmed grounds that still exude a sense of wealth and command high property values.


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