History Buff


Pasadena Society, 1898: The Octocorasion Supports Cuba Libre

Pasadena Society, 1898: The Octocorasion Supports Cuba Libre
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The young women were thrilled to see their newly formed club announced in the society section of the newspaper. Miss Leonora Muse cut the article out and pasted it center top on a fresh page in her scrapbook. The announcement read, “The Octocorasion is another club of recent organization. The membership includes eight young ladies, […]

The Great History Freeze of 2015

The Great History Freeze of 2015

It’s our history. Do we care enough to preserve it? Though the Pasadena Museum of History has worked diligently to properly and continually preserve the prints and negatives in its archives, maintaining a healthy environment—so they’ll be available to future generations—is in jeopardy. In 2012, a grant allowed PMH to conduct a preservation study. One […]

Music Makes Magic at the Old Mill

Music Makes Magic at the Old Mill

Built in 1816, it’s been described as the first water-powered grist mill in California, even though apparently the “mechanical marvel” of Franciscan Father José Maria de Zalvidea‘s horizontal, direct impulse water wheel left the subsequent flour damp and the mill only produced for seven years before a “superior” New England-style mill with a vertical waterwheel […]

Mystery History No. 40

Mystery History No. 40

What is this? Where are we? I stumped everybody this week. In this 1884 photo, workers begin construction of the Hotel Raymond on Bacon Hill (later renamed Raymond Hill), the top of which had been leveled for the massive project. Thomas Banbury won the contract for blasting through what to the naked eye looked like […]

The Smart Set

The Smart Set

When Eva Fenyes took her four little dogs to their photo session at Kohler Photo Studio on East Colorado Boulevard, Fairy, Prince, and Non se sa were composed and cooperative, sitting up nice and straight before the camera. Pinta, however, fidgeted and became distracted by something on the floor below his pedestal. His attention could […]

The Night Jack Kerouac Spent in Arcadia

The Night Jack Kerouac Spent in Arcadia

  In late September and early October 1947, author Jack Kerouac paid one of his few visits to Los Angeles—a destination he later referred to as “the loneliest and most brutal of American cities.” He was a penniless 25-year-old in the midst of a cross-country journey that later formed the basis of his most celebrated […]

Appraising “Treasures”

Appraising “Treasures”

Remember the old bellows someone bizarrely thought to make into a coffee table that’s been filling space in the TV room? What about that silver watch inherited from Grandma, which looks delicate but hasn’t worked in eons? Are those diamonds? Is it costume jewelry? What about that mystery object that no one in the family […]

Clara Who? Meet Clara Shortridge Foltz

Clara Who? Meet Clara Shortridge Foltz

For two weeks my home away from home was the 17-story criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. Notable trials here have included the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the murder trial of Phil Spector and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson, among hundreds and hundreds of others. Technically, […]

Happy 129th, Pasadena!

Happy 129th, Pasadena!

In 1886, Pasadena incorporated “largely as a measure to rid the city of its saloon.”¹ How’s that for a reason? Would Pasadena’s “founding fathers” cringe at the multitude of basic, casual, raucous, and fine drinking venues that currently exist? We hope not. Hopefully, a thimble of 93.7 proof Kentucky Ridgemont Reserve whiskey at the Blind […]

A Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name

A Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name

  “No license must be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person with a negro, mulatto, or Mongolian.” – Civil Code of the State of California: Adopted March 21, 1872, with Amendments Up to and Including Those of the Forty-first Session of Legislature, 1915 “It is my considered opinion that the statutes here involved […]

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