Jan 25, 2011

Small Town U.S.A

The Facts
What It Is:
A fourteen-square-mile city bordered by the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, Pasadena to the west, Arcadia to the south and Azusa to the east
Population: 37,996
Ethnic Diversity: Primarily Caucasian and Hispanic, but also 9% African-American and 7% Asian, the latter of which is oddly small given the large Asian population in neighboring towns
Median Household Income: $53,322

Key Players
By the 1880s, land that had gone through Spanish ownership was purchased by four men, including railroad builder William N. Monroe, namesake of the growing town. Early in the 20th century, railroad travel made it possible for Monrovians to commute to work in Los Angeles, and for tourists to make their way to Monrovia.

Telling Moments
As you might expect of such a picturesque locale (Victorian cottages, tree-shaded lanes, a vintage Main Street), Hollywood has found its way here—many films have used its fetching small-town location, Grosse Pointe Blank and Legally Blonde being two of our favorites.

Then & Now
In 1925, the fabulous Aztec Hotel, designed by architect Robert Stacy-Judd, was built on what we now know as Route 66. It’s pretty shabby these days, but now that the Aztec has historic-landmark status, it is slowly being renovated, and it welcomes travelers to stay the night or drop in for a drink at the Brass Elephant.

Our Favorite…
Beautiful building in Library Park in Old Town, 321 S Myrtle Ave.
Aptly named Recreation Park, on Shamrock and Lemon, with tennis, baseball, volleyball, basketball and more
Arts Organization: Monrovia’s finest art pieces are its older homes; the Monrovia Old House Preservation Group helps save those gems
Parades: Monrovia Days in May, with a parade, soapbox derby and festival; there’s usually a Christmas parade, too
Newspapers: Monrovia Weekly & Monrovia Today, a monthly newsletter
College: Mount Sierra College offers bachelors degrees through on-campus or online programs
Adult-Ed: Low-cost Monrovia Community Adult School on Mountain Ave.; classes in workplace Spanish, software, and the famed upholstery workshop, which has a two-year wait list.

Don’t Be a Lawbreaker!
All-righty then…that was Mr. ad Mrs. Smith, right?
It’s against the law to enter a fictitious name onto a hotel register.

Who Knew?
There is a wonderful eight-foot stained-glass window of C.S. Lewis and the characters from Narnia in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Slept in Monrovia
The great silent-film star Mabel Normand died of tuberculosis at a sanitarium here in 1930; Upton and Mary Sinclair lived in Monrovia, and their former house is now a landmark and is, at this writing, for sale.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena