Historic Preservation Lives on Main Street, S0uth Pasadena
The thing I love about South Pasadena is that it has always maintained a Small Town Atmosphere. By Southern California standards, South Pasadena’s 2010 estimated population of 24,904 qualifies it as a small town. The city’s boundaries have changed very little since its incorporation and today it encompasses approximately 3.4 square miles. The Mission and Meridian Street crossing — which can be seen in my painting below, is where the Gold Line metro station pass through. With its historically preserved old buildings it is truly a town where the old fashioned Main street still exists.
Please enjoy the first two paintings in my Historic South Pasadena Street Scene series!
Another factor that has been maintained since the incorporation of South Pasadena in 1888, is that it remains a commuter suburb. This occurred with the development in 1895 of the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway. The official name was changed to the Pacific Electric Railway Company when it was acquired in 1901 by railroad magnate Henry Huntington, but riders knew it as the “Red Car.” It carried commuters along the Pasadena South Pasadena line to office and factory jobs in Los Angeles from the beginning of the 20th century through the system’s heyday in the early 1940s. The last Red Car was retired in 1961.
The railway route through South Pasadena was converted to a bus route and more than 50 years passed before the City was once again served by commuter rail. With the 2003 opening of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail Gold Line and the opening of a rail station at the intersection of Mission and Meridian, the historic downtownof South Pasadena was born again!
Another beautiful historic building in South Pasadena is the library. Although it does not retain any of its original 1907 domed, classical-revival design, but it’s handsome 1930 Mediterranean Revival facade by original architect Norman Marsh faces El Centro Street, while a more modern facade dating from a 1982 addition by Howard Morgridge welcomes patrons to the Oxley Street entrance. With its manicured lawns and towering shade trees, the South Pasadena Library welcomes all, including the bright green parrot flock that favors the surrounding trees for more-than-occasional, distinctly non-library-voiced gab sessions.