South Pasadena Historic Street Scenes

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South Pasadena Historic District – Capturing the Magic in Pen and Watercolor!

I love living and having my studio in South Pasadena!  It’s got that wonderful small town charm while being right in the heart of Greater Los Angeles.  South Pasadena was incorporated as it’s own city in 1888.  With it boutique stores and interesting restaurants and cafes, the historic district of South Pasadena is a big draw for visitors and locals alike.  I have tried to capture that special So Pas feel in this series of paintings. (For those interested in history, below the paintings is a write up about this, mainly taken from the South Pasadena City website.)

The famous Buster's Cafe on Mission St
The famous Buster’s Cafe on Mission Street, South Pasadena
So Pas Library SMALL FILE
South Pasadena Library on El Centro Avenue.


Meridian Street, South Pasadena. Now home of the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
Meridian Iron Works on Meridian Street, South Pasadena. Now home to the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
Fair Oaks Pharmacy, South Pasadena
Fair Oaks Pharmacy, South Pasadena
Kaldi Cafe So Pas SMALL
Kaldi Cafe, South Pasadena. Formally this building served as one of the first banks in the city.

In early 1874, South Pasadena was a part of the San Gabriel-Orange Grove Association. In 1875, the stockholders of the association voted to name their town Pasadena and three years later, residents living in the southern portion of Pasadena considered themselves South Pasadenans.

In February of 1888, in order to control their own territory, South Pasadenans voted for incorporation. A board of trustees was elected and Ammon B. Cobb was appointed as the first marshal, with Marshal B. Selmen as his deputy.

On March 2, 1888, South Pasadena officially incorporated with a population of slightly over 500 and the City’s boundaries established in 1889 are essentially the same today. South Pasadena comprised of 3.44 square miles of prime residential property.

Few cities in California are better recognized for the quality of its small-town atmosphere and rich legacy of intact late 19th and early 20th century neighborhoods and residences. South Pasadena also has a strong claim to having the oldest and most historic sites in the San Gabriel Valley.  It was here that Hahamognas greeted Portola and the missionaries who later established the San Gabriel Mission a few miles to the west as for many centuries, its proximity to a natural fording place along the Arroyo Seco had served as a gateway to travel and commerce for aboriginal peoples here and along the coast.

The initial buildings on the Rancho San Pascual, which subsequently gave birth to the Cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena, were built here. The first of these adobe structures became headquarters for General Flores and his staff in 1847 where they agreed to surrender to American forces, ending Mexican Colonial rule in California.

In 1888, South Pasadena incorporated the southern portion of the Indiana Colony and land south and eastward to the Los Angeles border, becoming the sixth municipality in Los Angeles County. With establishment of the Raymond Hotel and the Cawston Ostrich Farm, the small community was able to attract tourists and increasingly large waves of new residents to the Pasadena area in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. With completion of the Pacific Electric Short Line, putting the entire city within easy walking distance of the “red car” stations, South Pasadena also became a one of the first suburbs of Los Angeles. It is now certainly one of the best-preserved cities, maintaining a small-town quality and humanity in the scale of its buildings, its residential streetscapes and historic commercial core.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this great community!