Author Archive


Pasadena’s Progressive Spirit Began With Abolitionist Pioneers

Pasadena’s Progressive Spirit Began With Abolitionist Pioneers

Awhile back, we wrote about abolitionist John Brown’s three children and son-in-law, who settled in Pasadena in the 1880s. Though certainly the most famous, they were far from being the only abolitionists in early Pasadena; nor were they the only ones with connections to John Brown. The city’s ties to the pre-Civil War antislavery movement were [...]

When a Master of Suspense Met a Caltech Scientist, the Results Were “Explosive”

When a Master of Suspense Met a Caltech Scientist, the Results Were “Explosive”

In the spring of 1945, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and screenwriter Ben Hecht were hard at work on their latest project—Notorious, a story of expatriate Nazis hiding out in South America. Hitchcock and Hecht had pulled together the plot from parts of a Saturday Evening Post serial and real-life spy tales from Hitchcock’s friends in the Ministry [...]

Ghost Theaters of Colorado (Part 2 of 2)

Ghost Theaters of Colorado (Part 2 of 2)

It takes some keen architectural detective work, but if you look closely along Colorado Boulevard, you’ll see telltale traces of some of Pasadena’s lost movie houses. Repurposed marquees, empty ticket windows, and distinctly arched roofs give us clues to where they once stood. In the second part of our Ghost Theaters feature, we look at [...]

Ghost Theaters on Colorado Blvd. (Part 1 of 2)

Ghost Theaters on Colorado Blvd. (Part 1 of 2)

You see them up and down Colorado Boulevard—marquees, ticket windows, and arched roofs—the empty shells of some of Pasadena’s former movie houses. As we did in our signs feature, we take a look at the stories behind some of these picture houses of yesteryear. Clune’s Pasadena Theatre/Fox Pasadena Theatre  (1911-1953) – 61 W. Colorado Blvd. [...]

When Patriotic Fevers Ran High

When Patriotic Fevers Ran High

  “German Aliens Must Go On Records,” stated the headline in the Pasadena Star-News on January 26, 1918. “Registration in Pasadena Will Begin at Police Station Feb. 4.” “All natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the German empires or imperial German government being males of the age of 14 years and upward, who are within [...]

Signs of the Times

Signs of the Times

It’s an increasingly rare sight in Pasadena: signs remaining for businesses that have long since gone. In this feature, we take a look at several that have endured and the stories behind them. 1. Crown City Bank – 1176 E. Colorado Boulevard This tile mosaic dates from 1906, when the small Crown City Bank opened [...]

Pasadena Retirement Suited a Nemesis of Butch and Sundance

Pasadena Retirement Suited a Nemesis of Butch and Sundance

As a purveyor of Western mythology, Altadena dentist-turned-author Zane Grey got most of the publicity during his years in the city. For a brief period, however, a real-life icon of the American West lived nearby. From 1926 until his death in 1928, “cowboy detective” Charles A. Siringo, a former lawman and Pinkerton agent, resided in a [...]

A Former Fair Oaks Jazz Club – Shrouded in Mystery

A Former Fair Oaks Jazz Club – Shrouded in Mystery

The Club Onyx, at 109 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, was a jazz and blues venue in the black-owned Hotel Carver, once part of the historic Doty Block and still standing today across from the Hotel Green. Accounts vary as to what part of the building the club occupied, but it was either on the first floor [...]

Come One, Come All, to Christmas Tree Lane!

Come One, Come All, to Christmas Tree Lane!

City Hall may boast an impressive Christmas tree, but our neighbors to the north in Altadena have the Rose City beat when it comes to holiday displays. Christmas Tree Lane and the colorful lights of the Balian Mansion have become beloved parts of area tradition. Near December 24th, Santa Rosa Avenue, as it is known the [...]

The Fate of the Pacific Hastings

The Fate of the Pacific Hastings

Driving by the empty Pacific Hastings Theatre the other day, I remembered when it used to be the premier spot in Pasadena to see new movies. Even after theaters like the AMC in Old Town and Paseo opened, nothing could beat the experience of the Hastings’ massive 60-foot screen. The theater closed in 2007, and [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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