Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Pepper Trees


Our town's first schoolhouse was built in 1882, at the corner of Live Oak (now Orange Grove) and Hermosa. 

By 1884, the original one-room schoolhouse had become too small, and the second schoolhouse was built.  The new two-room building was located at the corner of Central (now Sierra Madre Boulevard) and Baldwin, on land that was purchased from Nathaniel C. Carter.  This two-acre space, in the area that is now the Kersting Court, was purchased from Nathaniel C. Carter for $3,000.  One feature of the school building was an iron rail, for the burros and Shetland ponies that brought some of the children to school. 

Mrs. Chloe B. Jones, the schoolteacher at that time, asked the school's trustees to plant California Pepper Trees on the school's grounds, and in two rows along the surrounding sidewalks.  She assured them that she would take care of the trees during the school year, if they would take care of them during vacations.  There were several school boys who were honored, on occasion, to be asked to bring their garden hoses to school to water the trees.

Over the years, many of the trees have been lost for various reasons, including fire damage, street widening, and general safety concerns.  But this lovely tree remains in Kersting Court.


Source: "The Early School Days of Sierra Madre," by Mrs. J.C. (Mary A.) Dickson, in Annals of Early Sierra Madre, published in 1950, by the Sierra Madre Historical Society


8 comments:

  1. They are gorgeous but they reseed and are a pain.. Our HOA doesn't allow those tress... hopefully they prune the tree yearly, that's one way of keeping that tree on that court.

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    1. Hi KBF, Luckily, the town takes care of them. Looks like they've done an awfully nice job. This one seems to be thriving happily. :)

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  2. That is a beautiful old tree. We have one similar near our house and (like Kalie says) a good prune and it grows back as beautiful as ever.

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    1. LOL, I think it's beautiful, too. Great to sit under/near while having an afternoon coffee.

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  3. I love old trees and this one's a beauty, so much history imbued in its story... Somehow, it almost looks like the branches are moving, while all around it stays still, lovely.

    (I've heard but never read The Lady and The Unicorn, thank you for the book suggestion! I'd love to see those tapestries in the Cluny too, as they're almost a 'sister' unicorn cycle with the ones in the Cloisters :)

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    1. I hadn't noticed, but it really does look like that. I do love this tree. Especially since I found out how they got there.

      I'd love to see those tapestries too - both the Cluny's and the Cloisters'. Let me know if you read the book. It's not a fast one, but well worth it, in my opinion. :)

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  4. I love old trees and see them as a live connection to the past.

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    1. I agree. Knowing when, and by whom, these were planted, really brought the past alive for me. Thanks for visiting - I really enjoy your blog!

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