Pasadena & Vroman’s Timeline of History

Happy Birthday, Pasadena!!  Born/Incorporated on June 19, 1886. So that made the city 127 years young yesterday.

Pasadena has packed a lot of history in 127 years.  Vroman’s Bookstore – Southern Cal’s Oldest & Largest Independent Bookstore & the 2008 Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year- is just one example.

The other day at the main Vroman’s Bookstore I had an opportunity to talk with Joel Sheldon III its Chairman & CEO. He was alone, quietly examining their new exhibit: The Vroman’s Timeline of History.




I left him alone in peace for a minute with the timeline.


We then started talking some Vroman’s history with the Vroman’s timeline in our company.

Pasadena will be celebrating its birthday this Saturday at the Pasadena Museum of History. Vroman’s has been a part of nearly all those years. Starting with its original store known as Glascock & Vroman, a sort of photo/stationery place in 1894, at 60 E. Colorado Street in what is now Old Town Pasadena. Then moving always forward & eastward with a satellite store in the Hastings Ranch area of Pasadena on East Foothill Blvd. But, also going westward into West Hollywood in 2009 to take over another excellent bookstore – Book Soup on the Sunset Strip.

And the Sheldon family has been a part of Vroman’s, working in, managing, then owing it, almost from the beginning.  We discussed just a few things about Vroman’s but my main questions surrounded his successor. To paraphrase:

Is there another Sheldon ready to take over when you decide to hang it up here?  “No,” Mr. Sheldon softly said.

Didn’t think I had heard him correctly, so I repeated the question.

So, another Sheldon family member won’t be following in your footsteps??  “No, there isn’t. But, we have someone in mind.”

Again, he spoke those words quietly, almost somberly. I paused for a second to reflect on what I had indeed just heard.

Well, you know I hope your successor will understand the role Vroman’s has played in Pasadena and its history.  “Oh, he/she will.”

We briefly talked about other Vroman’s history such as the remodel back in the 90s and  my first visit to Vroman’s in the early 80s. But, enough of talking about the past, it was time to reflect on what I had just heard, what the future holds and what Pasadena may lose next.


When I first viewed the Vroman’s Timeline of History a week past, one question I wondered about was what would be the next significant, future event on the timeline. This week I think I got an answer.


Gotta Read & Write! Stay Thirsty My Friends

Rose wet


10 responses to “Pasadena & Vroman’s Timeline of History

  1. It’s encouraging to know that independently owned bookstores are holding their own, even in this tepid economy, CP. I have always had a soft spot for stores like Vroman’s, may it, and Pasadena, continue to flourish.

  2. Happy birthday, Pasadena. And how touching that Vromans has had the Sheldon family influence all these decades. It’s sad that the torch will have to pass to someone else eventually, but it sounds like they will be finding a fitting custodian. Have a nice weekend, puppy dog.

    • Thanks for your continued interest in our local history, ShSh! And, from way down under too. I hope you find them interesting. I look 4ward 2 your next Dog & Macaron posting.

  3. Cool! It’s sad to know that the family line will be ending there, but I guess it’s a wonder it carried on as long as it did. The Sheldons have definitely done all of us a great service with Vroman’s.