Christmas Greetings from the Athenaeum & Pasadena

Christmas greetings friends from The Athenaeum on the campus of The California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) in Pasadena. Pasadena is among the most active communities in protecting its old architectural heritage, and The Athenaeum is part of that grand history.

I’ve visited The Athenaeum before but not during the Christmas season.  I thank Joan & Donna of Cal Tech for their Christmassy suggestion. This is the really busy time of the year for this landmark.


Main Entrance




A few may still be able to recall the reason for the Christmas season is to commemorate the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ – to believers/followers, Savior of the inhabitants of this planet. And lemme tell you, if anyone needs helps and saving it’s Me!!

My wish for y’all is this Christmas finds you in good health, and good enuf wealth, so you may be in good spirits and at peace.


Main Dining Room




A Hallway




Main Dining Room



There are several Christmas Trees throughout the building. The main tree is in the vaulted entrance hall. Despite taking several shots of that tree I wasn’t satisfied with any. The tree below is a worthy backup!


The Lounge (I believe)




A very, very, brief history of The Athenaeum: the private Cal Tech faculty club. Named for the Greek goddess Athena & a temple in ancient Greece where learned men would gather to discuss their ideas. About 1921 Dr. George Ellery Hale was the initial catalyst, as he was for many things, for an Athenaeum in Pasadena.  Cal Tech trustee Allan Balch & his wife Janet provided the funds, Gordon Kaufmann was chosen as architect, and William C. Crowell was put in charge of building it. Founded in 1930 “to promote social, cultural, and intellectual exchange.”  I’ve heard the style described as California Mediterranean.

It’s mission is focused to provide a meeting place for enhancing friendship and “the exchange of ideas among lovers of science, art, engineering and literature.” A place for scientists and others to share their ideas.

Membership is primarily Cal Tech faculty/alumni and those at associated institutions at the Huntington Library, JPL, and the Mount Palomar Observatory. 

In addition to being a private club, you could say the second floor above is a hotel with guest rooms for Cal Tech visitors and associates. Indeed, it has played host to many top scientists and Nobel winners. Among the famous guests putting in guest time: Physicist Albert Einstein. In fact his suite is now named for him and the first formal dinner was held in his honor in 1931. Reverend Martin Luther King also stayed at Cal Tech for a few days in the 1950s and gave a speech at The Athenaeum.

Anyhow, many events have and are held at The Athenaeum. And of course, “Hollywood”, eventually found the way to it doors with appearances in many movies and commercials. Prior to the building of Beckman Auditorium, the north lawn was used for Cal Tech commencements.

It’s a Platinum Club of America honoree, which means it’s recognized as one of the very best clubs for its service and general excellence. As far as I’m concerned, it’s enuf for me to say The Athenaeum is mainly a boutique hotel with excellent dining!

That’s my history in miniature. And my photos here are just a handful of this elegant building which don’t do it justice. Next year I hope to have time to put up photos of the Hall of the Associates and the exterior.


Excuse me, but I must take leave now. I have three brilliant scholars who’ve been patiently waiting a long time, at The Athenaeum, to have an audience with me…



Joy, Peace & Health this Christmas! Stay Thirsty My Friends


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