Mystery History No. 15

Jun 3, 2013

Mystery History_15Where are we? And what’s happening?

In this 1986 photo, children climb the Ant Wall at the original location of Kidspace Children’s Museum inside the McKinley School gymnasium where they were located for 20 years.

In a move that was somewhat controversial at the time, Kidspace relocated in 2004 to the former Fannie E. Morrison Horticultural Center, which they spent five years renovating and expanding inside and out in Brookside Park.

The horticultural center, designed by Fitch Harrison Haskell (1883-1962) and funded by wealthy widow Fannie Demmon Morrison, became the first site in the western U.S. of major flower shows. These took place for many years. There were four buildings, three of which remain (a fourth was lost to fire in 1984).


When it became vacant, it was used for storage by the City of Pasadena.

Fannie Morrison was born in Wisconson in 1871 and raised in suburban Boston. Her father was the treasurer of a copper mining company and her husband, Barnabus T. Morrison, whom she married in 1899, was the treasurer of a rubber mill. She lived at 425 S. San Rafael Ave. in Pasadena.

Prior to moving to Pasadena, she was actively involved in suburban Boston civic affairs and was instrumental in improving the Demmon-Morrison mansion and coach house, which is now the home of Regis College.


The new Kidspace complex, which opened in 2004, has five times more square footage than the McKinley gym. The 3.5-acre site also includes gardens and outdoor exhibits designed to expose children to the Arroyo Seco environment.



Kidspace Stream

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History, Kidspace Children’s Museum and Regis College.

Copyright © 2012 Ann Erdman

Ann Erdman is happily retired after decades of loyal service to the City of Pasadena as Public Information Officer. Her blog can be found at

ann erdman, former PIO of the city of pasadena






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