History Buff


Civil War Medicine

Civil War Medicine
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As a result of massive casualties during the American Civil War, a sea of hospital tents sprung up around Washington D.C. Walt Whitman called them “grim clusters.” Grim might be too tame of a word. At the start of the war in 1861, the “ways” of medicine was just coming out of what’s called the […]

Mystery History No. 34

Mystery History No. 34

Where are we? What’s happening? In this 1886 photo, right, All Saints Church is decorated for Christmas services.     Here’s a more modern look at All Saints at Christmas:     All Saints was founded in 1883, the first Episcopal parish in Pasadena. Members who had begun meeting in a private home three years […]

How a Former Isolation Hospital Became a Public Library

How a Former Isolation Hospital Became a Public Library

You can read about infectious diseases at the Allendale Branch Library, but you won’t contract one – I promise. Still, it’s a little unnerving that Pasadena’s smallest branch library was once used as a contagion ward for deadly illnesses, including smallpox. Built in 1923, the building began life as the Pasadena Isolation Hospital, became a research […]

When Johnny Came Marching West

When Johnny Came Marching West

On April 9, 2015 local churches, schools and public buildings can partake in a national observance. A nationwide commemoration of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army—150 years ago—will be observed on Thursday.¹ Locations with bells will ring them for four minutes beginning at 3:15 p.m. EST—one minute for each year of the […]

Moments in Time

Moments in Time

Last week I went to see Pasadena Museum of History’s companion exhibits Pasadena Pursuit and Mystery History for the third time. Fascinating historical facts, artifacts, and photographs fill two galleries. Fun, informative, and interactive! The curator of Pasadena Pursuit, Dan McLaughlin, set up a kiosk in the North Gallery where you can search Pasadena Public […]

Courage and Cowardice in San Marino

Courage and Cowardice in San Marino

  It was such a frightful torrent of abuse that it made her physically ill – sick enough that she had to retire from her job as a math teacher at Huntington Middle School in San Marino. “Filthy Jew – drop dead,” threatened one anonymous late-night phone call. “Jew, get out of San Marino,” read […]

Historic Interviews

Historic Interviews

He owned a barber shop. She was the first Black manicurist to work on white customers. He is Mr. LeRoy Mims. She is Mrs. Leona Lee. Both are Pasadena residents. The Pasadena Museum of History interviewed over two dozen African-American residents back in 1984. Not only did these interviews provide the content for the documentary […]

Jazzy Ash, Black Mexica, Dance & Song Jubilee, Tea Time

Jazzy Ash, Black Mexica, Dance & Song Jubilee, Tea Time

Continuing: Black History Month Display. A historical view of African-American families as seen through African-American literature and the Civil Rights Movement. For all ages. Free to the public. Hastings Branch Public Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena 91107. The Whipping Man at the Pasadena Playhouse through March 1st. Tickets: $25-$125. Location: 39 S. El […]

Our African-American History Celebrated

Our African-American History Celebrated

Learn, discuss, exchange, eat, and dance these last two weeks of Black History Month… Saturday, Feb. 21: 33rd Annual Black History Parade & Festival, 10 a.m. Begins at Charles White Park (at Fair Oaks and Ventura Street) in Altadena, heads south on Fair Oaks Avenue and ends at Robinson Park, 1080 N. Fair Oaks Ave., […]

Painting California: “…A Very Valuable Thing…”

Painting California: “…A Very Valuable Thing…”

“It seems to me it would be a very valuable thing if you could carry out your plan to make accurate water-color studies of the old buildings in this region. Accuracy is the first requirement; and such a series would have serious historic value. I hope you may be able to realize this plan….”[1] Charles […]

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