How Pasadena Grew

Aug 7, 2013
In preparation for this year’s Latino Heritage Parade and jamaica I’ve been doing research that I hope will provide me with a sense of who was living in Pasadena from 1912-1932.  
Because we don’t have an existing Latino Heritage collection I get to explore the archives.  
Among the more interesting tools available is Thurston’s Directory.  This is a precursor to what I knew as the Yellow and White Pages – combined.  There are advertisements galore and information on residents’ addresses.   Depending on the year the Thurston’s was published a listing might be – Verdugo, Philip, laborer, r. 213 W. Green.  Pretty straightforward stuff, once you know that r. stands for renter and h stands for homeowner.  
But then, there’s a listing that reads – Villa, Raymond, h ns E. Walnut, 2 h e of N.Allen av, Lamanda Park.  I translate this as ..north side of E. Walnut, two houses east of N. Allen av, Lamanda Park.  Lots of information here incuding the fact that this is very likely the e end of town.  We’re visiting someone in an un-numbered part of Pasadena.  Imagine.  Lots of research went into this directory.  I’m betting someone took the railcar or car to visit the area in person.  Perhaps Mr. Thurston?
So who was Mr. Thurston?  The short answer is, I don’t know I couldn’t find a great deal about him on the net.  Given other deadlines I’m probably not going to do a lot of research about him.  
Here’s a bit of what I do know. 
Albert G. Thursston lived in Pasadena and in the 1900 Census lives on Kirkwood Avenue with his wife, Eva T. and his daughter, Dorothy.  His neighbors mostly speak English and hold  jobs that include:
Schoolteacher, dressmaker, attorney at law, minister, farmer, stonecutter, day laborer, housekeeper, and nurseryman.  His neighbors have migrated from over a dozen states as well as Germany, Mexico, England, Austria, and Canada.

The chart below is from Thurston’s 1909 Directory.  It is clear that in this era Pasadena was growing at a rate we’re not used to thinking of when we think of the Good Ol’ Days or the lives of those on Millionaire’s Row.  Thanks to Mr. Thurston, we have a sense of who some of those folks were.

See you in about a week.

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