Around 1900, Pasadena, California, was a famous winter resort. The town had more bicycles per capita than anywhere else in the country, most likely because of the wealth of its residents and the pleasant climate. Railroads whisked vacationers from the East and the Midwest to six large seasonal hotels, where they enjoyed winter sunshine, views of tall mountains, and natural beauty right outside of town.
Orange Grove Boulevard, the starting point of the Rose Parade, was Pasadena’s Millionaires’ Row, the location of between fifty and fifty-five mansions until the 1930s. Homes on the west side of Orange Grove Avenue, as it was called back then, overlooked a wooded stream valley, the Arroyo Seco. These homeowners spent the cooler months in Pasadena and left for their other mansions during the hot part of the year.
Some of these homeowners’ names are familiar from the products they or their family manufactured that were the source of their fortunes. Three homes that still stand are the Bissell House (carpet sweepers), the Wrigley Mansion (chewing gum), and the Gamble House (Procter & Gamble soaps). The Bissell house is now a bed & breakfast. The Wrigley Mansion, pictured here, is the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses, which presents the Rose Parade.
The Gamble House is an architectural treasure that is open to the public. This National Historic Landmark, designed in 1908, could not be more different than the Victorian architecture of a decade before. This is about simplicity, blending with natural surroundings, and bringing the outdoors in.
|The Gamble House (photo by Pam Tartaglio)|
This stairway is just inside the front door and panels, which has art glass in the design of a tree.
“Past and Present with Pamela” is a blog celebrating the arts, history, and places, focusing on the late 1800s and the early 1900s. http://www.PastAndPresentWithPamela.com. In a brief departure from this era, Pamela is now posting her vacation photos of Rome on her blog. Pamela Tartaglio, as 2013 Past President of Women Writing the West, chairs its 2013 WILLA Literary Awards. She is writing a novel set in the 1890s in “the world’s greatest gold camp,” Cripple Creek, Colorado, and volunteers at the Pasadena Museum of History. To read a very short story set in the present and published in the e-zine EveryDayFiction.com, see http://www.everydayfiction.com/photocopies-by-pamela-tartaglio/.