History Buff


Limited Use, Discard Thereafter: Finding Pasadena’s Past in Old Receipts

Limited Use, Discard Thereafter: Finding Pasadena’s Past in Old Receipts

Rarely do I save grocery receipts. As soon as possible, I shred and recycle those slick strips of white thermal paper that some magical tabulating machine generated with a click and a whir and a generic, “ Thank you. Please visit our website at….” These seemingly bland records of purchase are nonetheless bits of true […]

Mystery History No. 30

Mystery History No. 30

Where are we? What’s happening? In this 1930 photo, right, a delivery man poses with an American Austin coupe in front of the Royal Laundry complex at 443 S. Raymond Ave. at Bellevue Street.         Here is the original photo before I retouched it (badly) and cropped it:   Established in 1910 just down […]

When South Pasadena Was For Whites Only

When South Pasadena Was For Whites Only

“In South Pasadena, restrictive racial covenants, denying persons not of the Caucasian race the right to live within its municipal boundaries, are a matter of official policy. […] Of course, persons not of Caucasian ancestry will not be completely barred from residence in South Pasadena. The restrictive covenants specify that non-Caucasians may reside in the […]

Come Home Instantly! Part 3

Come Home Instantly! Part 3

In Part 2 of “Come Home Instantly!,” Eva and Adalbert Fenyes, our traveling Pasadenans, sailed home from Europe just days before a succession of political and military threats and ultimatums kindled the world’s Great War. Fortunately for the Fenyeses, they arrived safely in New York on July 29, 1914, the day after Austria-Hungary declared war on […]

Even More Ghost Signs of Pasadena

Even More Ghost Signs of Pasadena

In Pasadena, faded signs serve as emblems of the past. You see them on buildings, sidewalks, and rooftops—the enigmatic reminders of a time gone by. They may consist of a disembodied sentence fragment, a single word, or even a few mysterious letters. Standing in dissonant contrast to their surroundings, they add to the quirk and character of […]

Mystery History No. 29

Mystery History No. 29

Where are we? What’s happening? Tuesday’s guess by Daniel: “Colorado Street Bridge, temporary suicide prevention fence – sometime in the 1930’s.”       In the Aug. 9, 1937, noir-esque photo above, a man pauses to look through the tall, chain link, suicide prevention fence topped with barbed wire on the Colorado Street Bridge. It […]

Come Home Instantly! Part 2

Come Home Instantly! Part 2

One hundred years ago this summer, as told in Part 1 of “Come Home Instantly,” the Fenyes and Curtin families of Pasadena, California, went abroad on a European vacation. They traveled together across the Atlantic Ocean on the S.S. France and enjoyed the sights of Paris before going their separate ways in early June. Leonora […]

Family History: Finding Yours

Family History: Finding Yours

How did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints corral the market on genealogy research? “One of the LDS Church fundamental tenets: that deceased family members, especially ancestors, can be baptized by proxy, as well as receive other saving ordinances.…Baptism is essential for salvation” (Mormon.org). Even if a baptism isn’t on your schedule, we layman can be grateful […]

Digging Up Secrets in Lamanda Park (Part 3)

Digging Up Secrets in Lamanda Park (Part 3)

“We wish to do the tourist who reads this book a good turn, having his comfort and enjoyment at heart; therefore we advise him to stop at Lamanda Park and make his headquarters for a day, or a week, or a fortnight, in this delightful spot.” – Over the Range to the Golden Gate: A Complete Tourist’s […]

Come Home Instantly! Part 1

Come Home Instantly! Part 1

July 28, 1914: “In mid-ocean received news by ‘wireless’ that war had been declared between Austria and Servia. Great excitement and anxiety.” Eva Fenyes noted this pivotal moment in history, the start of World War I, on the cover of the S.S. Vaterland’s Bordspiele – Games & Amusements booklet, which depicts a carefree group of […]

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