Week 207: Old Town Pasadena

June 14, 2020

10,000 Steps a Day in L.A. #26: The Eternal City Beautiful, 5.95 miles

My and Barbara's first attempt at this hike was rained out back in April, so we came back this morning and completed Paul Haddad's 5-mile hike around Pasadena in 6-miles. (Yeah, we couldn't figure out how we managed that, either.) If you're into history like I am, this hike covers 14 different architectural and performing arts points of interest in Pasadena, the city founded in January 1874 as the "Indiana Colony" by 27 midwesterners. Our first stop, a National Historic Landmark, was the Gamble House on Westmoreland Place off Orange Grove Blvd. Built in 1908 for David & Mary Gamble, Gamble House is on the list of Top 10 All-Time Houses in L.A., an American Craftsman design deemed the "apex of the American Arts and Crafts movement." The 1,000-ft. rock wall bordering the back of the property is made of rocks from the nearby Arroyo Seco. Following our map, we trekked along Arroyo Terrace and its collection of magnificent old Craftsman homes, each with a killer view of the Rose Bowl in the gulch. Back to Orange Grove and over the Ventura Fwy, we detoured west to Grand Ave. for a look at structures from Pasadena's golden era. The 1903, Spanish-Colonial, Vista del Arroyo Hotel—a hot spot for high society during the Golden Age of RR travel—became an Army hospital in the 40s and is now home to a branch of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth District. Back to Orange Grove for a stop at the 1914, Wrigley mansion, now housing the HQ for the Tournament of Roses, and then north again on Orange Grove to the Colorado Blvd. intersection for a close-up of the Pasadena Memorial Flagpole, dedicated in 1927 to commemorate Pasadeans who served in WWI. It's little treasures like a 115-ft. tall flagpole that make exploring a city from the sidewalk up so much fun—the detailed inscription on the base is something you would never notice from your car. Walking east on Colorado past the Norton Simon Museum sculpture garden, we window-shopped past Old Town buildings dating back to the 1920s. Even older, the ornamented buildings at the intersection of Colorado and Fair Oaks were once known as "The Corners," the center of activity as young Pasadena grew toward the 20th-century. A detour south through the Paseo Colorado Mall, ended at The Pasadena Civic. Built in 1931, the Civic is, as Haddad put it, "the site of the second-most-important moonwalk in history." (Think Michael Jackson, 1983 Motown TV special) From there, we walked east on Green to El Molina Avenue for the Pasadena Playhouse, a California Historic Landmark. The Spanish Colonial Revival, built in 1925, was the first theater in America to stage Shakespeare's entire canon and, in 1937, was designated the official state theater of California. Our last stop, the Civic Center and the grand, iconic Pasadena City Hall. This nationally significant monument of civic architecture was constructed in 1927, in a Beaux Arts design that features a Spanish Baroque-domed tower. Tired but impressed, we ended the morning with mochas at Starbucks on Colorado Blvd. 

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