Pasadena Before, and After


Today I’m calling it Before & After. Next week maybe Then & Now. Next month, Pasadena Makeover or The Way We Were.

Anyhows, I best blog about Pasadena before someone starts asking if I’m still alive or something worse.




Before: Early 1930’s. Colorado & Garfield looking north, dead ending with the central library in the background. (Image: LA Public Library Archives)





After: May 2011. Colorado & Garfield looking north, dead ending with the central library in the background.


Happen to find this image very quickly by accident, and trying to find it again on purpose, I’m afraid would probably take a lil more time! I have more images like these – just don’t have much time to blog about it. And I certainly don’t have the time to go into depth on our history like some do, ahem, the tireless wonder that is our Ann dePio as a prime example!


Thus, lettuce do some quickie comparative analysis of these fotos. Based solely by the fotos one could make reasonable assumptions such as:

  • We in 2011 have cleaner, bluer skies, & less of a smog problem than our ancestors 80 years ago!
  • In the 1930s women confidently strolled the streets without need of the male species.  Unlike what you often see today on Colorado Blvd with women walking their male companions.  Therefore, women appear to have been more independent & liberated in the old days than today.
  • People were less colorful last century than we of this. They were more into more black & white, shades of gray, whereas we’re all over the rainbow.
  • Look at those cars & pedestrians! Traffic & overpopulation appear to have been a bigger headache back then.
  • The main Post Office on the northwest corner still stands, although, “main” in name only. The Orange Grove/Lincoln office is now numero uno.
  • Citihall is the most architecturally significant building in the city. And Colorado Blvd is the main street; one of the most famous in the world. You would think the city, leaders, in their wisdom would want it’s architectural masterpiece to be seen from the famous boulevard as it was back in the 30’s. Instead, they allowed one of the tallest buildings to be built right in front of this Pasadena landmark. All but covered up from main street!  Oh, and knocked down what appears to be a wonderful office/bank building of the Roman/Greco style on the northeast corner.
  • I don’t know the history of how that grand old building got to be cut down and how the new came to arise upon its grave. But I’m sure it would make a fascinating read. Like a crime novel or mystery history. Well heck, I still miss the Pasadena Cafeteria (and any cafeteria for that matter) right in that part of Colorado!  Remember that Pasadena Plaza or whatever they called it before the Paseo?  Well, the point is Citihall is mostly hidden from Colorado Blvd for now. Buildings, or trees, some things are just difficult to understand. Oh well, no worries – this was just one example.  Evolutionary progress continues.


That’s all I’m gonna say. Maybe these images sparked some thoughts of your own. 



Gotta Move On. Stay Thirsty My Friends




23 responses to “Pasadena Before, and After

  1. I thought of the Beatles Abby Road when I saw that old photo. But when I compare the two, there’s very little similarity. What can I say? It’s late.

    • There are some similiariities but upon closer examination there are more differences. For ex, girls walk our streets Colorado Bl, whereas the Beatles are guys who walked Abbey Rd.

      CL: interesting history you also have!. I don’t get down to Argentina much but whenever you visit the Cafe Pasadena it will serve as a reminder to check in with you also!

  2. I´m very happy to be here. I feel a part of this because my father lived in Pasadena in the late 60´s and then he came back to Argentina and got married with my mother. They decided to move to the States again, but they didn’t do it because of my father´s family influence. So I was born here, but a part of my heart lives there too. I hope to know more about this beautiful place and since I´m an artist here I hope to share with you my works and experience. You can check my blogs and have a very nice time. All the best to all of you there. Enjoy spring time! Carlos from Argentina.

  3. UPDATE: Source of black & white image of the 1930’s is L.A.Public Library archives. Also, since no one mentioned the STOP sign embedded in the road: These metal “STOP” signs were installed in the 1920’s before road striping became standardized. They served to mark the center of the road at an intersection, as well as a STOP sign.

  4. I wish they wouldn’t build multi storied buildings across Colorado. It blocks the view of the mountains

    Speaking of tall buildings, wasn’t that one on the right the one that had a Swedish smorgasbord in it? I remember another cafeteria on the south side of Colorado. Maybe Beadles

    • PA, yeah mountains is another thing the city leaders in their finite wisdom seem to fail to see. The tall white bldg with a Swede Smorgasborg? I’ve been in it very few times to tell you but your mention of the SS does almost ring a bell to me. So you’re prob at least half correct.

      The Earl J. Beadles cafeteria was indeed on Colorado – before it met it’s tragic death on the corner of Green & SLake. But there were many cafeterias in Pasadena so u could easily be thinking of another. It just occurred to me that cafeterias had such a stranglehold on the Pasadena restaurant scene in the last century that it may be the chief reason why Pasadena still to this day is not considered an exceptional restaurant place to go kinda town. imho

  5. I love how so much of the history is still there. The before & after (then & now?) photos are fabulous. We’re all about building new things here, especially in the city. So much so that whenever I see a run down building I want to go up to it and hug it 🙂

    PS: Hope you’ll dig more up and post about them!

  6. I like this a lot! You have me thinking about white shoes and cafeterias. I remember my folks taking me to Mannings Cafeteria when I was a little bitty kid. I think it was on Colorado too.

    • Barbara. I never been to Manning’s – maybe to young for it- but yes it wood be on Colorado Bl also. Maybe this will jog your memory: do you remember how that cafeteria bldg looked like from the outside? (cuz the bldg is probably still there!)

      Doesn’t surprise me that this would fascinate you, K.

  7. Oh I always love when people post past and present pictures of the place they live… The comparison between past and present is always so fascinating!

    • Wherever “here” is at, Miss J, I’m glad you’re there – and feeling feisty enuf to blog again! 🙂

      Irina, you’ll just have to be patient if you want more from me. However, I can be bribed via my stomach.

  8. I love this and can’t wait to see more of the series! Can’t believe how many cars there were in the “before” photo. Fun!

    Off to check out Ben’s link. 🙂

    • Ok KB, I’ll try. But you can be insatiable. But if anyone can do it for you, it’s this canine.

      MC, I Like the way your observation. If you come up with some food history please lemme know!

  9. That is great,BW. Have you mentioned that before? The only downside is livejournal is all but dead as a blog platform. Do you know if he uses photoshop or something else?