Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Walk in the Canyon - Part 3

Still round the corner there may wait,
A new road or a secret gate.
~~J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Walk in the Canyon - Part 2

The Sierra Madre Canyon has a lot of things, not least of which is a great deal of charm (and fun!). 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Walk in the Canyon - Part I

I'll be out of town for a few days, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you a few pictures I took while walking in the Sierra Madre Canyon last week.  See you all when I get back!  

This truck was parked near Mary's Market (which deserves a lengthy, well-researched post of its own...).  On the truck's sign, it mentions the We Um Attaxxum Pack Station.  I believe this was once the name used by what is now (and formerly) known as the Adams' Pack Station.  (Did you follow that???) 

The packing of mountain supplies up and down the mountain by mules and burros is an important part of the early portion of Sierra Madre histoy.  Pack trains began on Mount Wilson in 1864, originally in Sierra Madre, and in 1937 moved to Chantry Flat (above Arcadia, at the top of Santa Anita Avenue). 

To this day, Little Santa Anita Canyon has cabins whose owners cannot carry all their supplies themselves, and utilize the services of the pack station.  It is thought to be the oldest pack station in the United States.

In addition to its pack services, the Pack Station has a general store where hikers and picnickers can purchase last-minute supplies, or have a bite to eat. Also, they often have events, such as the upcoming Fourth of July Barbecue.

If you are at all interested in local mountain history, I highly recommend you take a look at the pack station's website (here). 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jacaranda - The Final Chapter

Although the petals are falling, we will still get to enjoy our Jacarandas for awhile longer.  I think, though, that it's time to end the Jacaranda-Extravaganza I've been enjoying for the last couple of weeks, and move on to other things/trees.  Thanks for taking this trip to Jacaranda Heaven with me! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Purple Carpet

A lot of people say that these trees are messy (one man's "carpet" is another man's "messy"). I've always wanted one in my yard, and feel that the cleanup would be a small price to pay.

Of course, I don't actually have one and therefore, have never had to clean up after it. So really, I don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

Since there aren't too many Jacaranda petals on the grass in this photo, maybe this would be considered more of an area rug??

Monday, June 25, 2012

Masonic Lodge

Sierra Madre Masonic Lodge #408 was completed in 1925.  A few members of the lodge, who had been meeting in the Woman's Club building since 1910, formed a fund-raising group called the Feed and Fun Club.  According to the Sierra Madre Vistas, this group raised funds for the lodge with "unusual fund-raisers and social gatherings."

Currently, this building houses a dentist's office, as well as "The Lodge at Sierra Madre." The Lodge is a meeting and banquet facility which, among other things, has hosted Kiwanis Club weekly meetings and the Sierra Madre Fire Department Awards Banquet. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Day of Appreciation

There has been a lot of discussion lately (on Patch and all around town), about whether or not Sierra Madre will be getting a Fresh and Easy Market. 

Consequently, the discussion also exists about whether or not our beloved Taylor's Meat and Produce will be able to stay in business (in the same place, or in another...). 

Yet, in spite of all the excitement, Taylor's hosted a Customer Appreciation Day yesterday, from 11:00 until 2:00, where customers were treated to hamburgers, hot dogs, and other goodies (including a Pie 'n Burger Food Truck, pictured above). 

As you can see from this photo, a large crowd gathered to enjoy the day.  Thanks, Taylor's for appreciating the town that appreciates you!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cow-Napping at the Moo

Mother Moo Creamery is a relatively new, yet popular, business in town.  They sell ice cream, and also have classes for preserving your own foods such as peaches, oranges, and pickles.  Since their opening, they have had a plastic cow in front of their business, who is the store mascot.  "Moo" has a little bell that local kids enjoy ringing as they pass by and give her a pat, and she even changes her outfits for different occassions.

Unfortunately, it looks like future descriptions of this little cow will need to be in the past-tense.  According to the Sierra Madre Patch, about a week ago, someone stole the cute plastic cow, and the theft was captured on video surveillance from nearby Baldwin JewelersFlyers have been put up all over town (some looking like Old-West wanted posters), and several L.A. news outlets have featured the story. But this just seems like a mystery that might never get solved. 

All bovine humor aside (and there has been a lot of it - check out the comments at the bottom of the Patch article), it is crazy that someone would just take something like this.  What is the point?

Apparently, statue napping is something of a local pasttime.  According to an article in the L.A. Times, in 1969 a local artist donated a five-foot statue of a violin spider, made of sheet metal and steel rods, and it was placed in Memorial Park.  A month later the statue was stolen, and people thought that it would be returned at some point.  To my knowledge it hasn't shown up either.

I'm happy to report, though, that a missing cow didn't hurt business.  When I passed by last night, there was standing-room only at Mother Moo's, as well as every other business in Kersting Court, and on Baldwin.  It was udderly delightful and, in fact, quite mooving (sorry - I got caught up in the whole thing...). 

But, regarding the cow's theft, the situation can best be summed up by what Karen Klemen's 7-year-old son said: "It wasn't nice." 

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Ready For My Closeup"

The Jacarandas are going strong.  The carpet of purple that is starting to form on our streets is an indicator that things may wrap up sooner than later.  Petrea, from Pasadena Daily Photo posted an amazing photo of a purple carpet the other day.  She calls Jacarandas "stunning," and I agree.

So, not to sound like a Negative Nelly, but it seems to me that the overall display of Jacarandas isn't quite as spectacular this year as in years past.  Figures.  As soon as I become obsessed with photographing them in all their purple glory, they get a wee bit shy.

I got up close and personal with this tree though, in order to share the pretty blooms with you.  Because I'm generous like that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Celebrations

Yesterday marked the 2012 Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year here in our Northern Hemisphere.  I read on the interwebs that there were many choices for celebrations this year, including a parade in Seattle, yoga in Times Square, and watching the sun rise over Stonehenge. 

Here in Sierra Madre, things seemed a bit more quiet.  (Although I guess there could have been big celebrations going on.  I'm usually unaware about a lot of things.)  My friend and I marked the event by walking and walking, followed by a trip to Starbucks.  Oh wait - we do that all the time.  Still, we got to do it with a pinch more daylight, and that made us feel celebratory!

This dad and daughter were out for an evening bike ride, and as they passed by we caught a snippet of a perfectly lovely conversation.  The kind that all dads and daughters should have on long summer evenings.  Nothing too earth shattering... She was telling him something, and he was listening.  Just enjoying each other's company, riding into the (slightly later) sunset.  And that, in my opinion, is also worth celebrating.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Doggone Good Fun

Last night, I stopped in at our library to return some books, and these cute guys (girls?) were waiting outside for their owner. 

I, of course, felt I needed a picture of them, but they were much too busy smiling at some little girls who were standing nearby, waiting for their dad. 

The girls were kind enough to walk behind me, so that the dogs would at least turn their heads in my general direction.  The whole thing happened seamlessly and wordlessly.  Funny how a couple of nice dogs can make us all jump through hoops. 

Then, the girls' dad came out, and we all went our separate ways, except for the dogs, who continued to relax and enjoy the end of the day. 

Just a typical summer evening in town.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This is one side of the stone gateway that marks the entrance to N.C. Carter's former home, "Carterhia," originally built in 1882. 

Pronounced " Carter High-a,"  the name is said to have been humorously coined by Mr. Carter, to top the name "Kinneloa" given to the home of Abbot Kinney, president of the American Tobacco Company.  Kinneloa was just to the east of Eaton Canyon, in the Sierra Madre Villa area of Pasadena.

Much controversy has surrounded this property in recent years.  At present, the land is owned by a developer, to be turned into a housing tract.  While home plots have been laid out, and streets have been paved, no new homes have yet been built.

Meanwhile, we still have the stone gateway, to remind us of our roots.

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Kid on the Block

The Jacaranda blooming season is going into full swing.  So many of the trees are large and beautiful.  This newish guy on the left is still kind of small, but already making his mark in the Pretty Category.  Maybe he's getting beauty training from some of the larger trees on his block. 

I hope you'll bear with me as I post several Purple Pictures over the next few weeks as our Jacarandas carry on, doing what they do best.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What's Cooking? Part Deux

The other day, I showed you the first of two murals I recently noticed on the side of the former Sierra Bistro Building, which was located in a long-ago Ford Dealership.  As you may recall, I don't know when these two murals were placed there.  I do remember that Charcuterie (which occupied the building before Sierra Bistro) had a large mural inside the restaurant itself, but that painting is no longer there.   

Yesterday, I showed you the back of the building, which once housed the service bays for the Ford Dealership, and now contains offices

Today, our tour concludes with the second mural, located directly next to the first one.  This one, if you look very closely, contains baked goods, a ladder, and a view into another "room." 

But, I'm really curious about the window itself, because it contains some sort of interesting sliding panels that seem to have once been a walk-up style window.  It may have been used in the Ford days, for payments of some sort.  The front building, in the photo I saw, contained at least the showroom.  But the window could have been put in later, maybe for a restaurant.

So, I'm wondering what business was there between the Ford Years and the Charcuterie/Sierra Bistro years.  I can't for the life of me remember anything before the most recent restaurants. Can anyone fill in the blanks for me??

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ford Dealership

This is the back of the building that was once a Ford Dealership.  I've seen a picture of Sierra Madre Boulevard in the early 1960's and the dealership was there at the time. 

These offices, from what I hear, were previously service bays.  Ford's slogan in the 1960's was "Quality is Job One," and I think this cool example of adaptive reuse must have kept that in mind.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Night at the Theater

Last night, I took this shot of Sierra Madre's own Playhouse.  Over the years it has served different purposes, including a movie house and an arcade. The building, built in 1923, originally opened as The Wistaria Theater, and became the Sierra Madre Theater in 1929.  Operating in its present form since 1979, the Playhouse features a January to December season,  with about six to eight plays yearly, including an annual production of "A Christmas Carol." 

In addition to the Main Stage plays, there is the children's Fairytale Theater, which is currently featuring "The Wizard of Oz."  The theater also has acting workshops for both children and adults. 

I've been to several plays here, as well as a phenomenal one-woman show called "Satin Dolls," which was part of their "Second Stage" series of Sunday evening events. 

Sierra Madre Thai, next door, is one of my faves.  Awesome Pad Thai!  So, dinner and a show, all on the same block.  How can you lose? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Secret Garden

Goldberg Park is often a brief stopping-point when we are out walking.  I love the park, but especially this little tunnel.  The whole thing is a delight to the eyes and nose, and even the feet (which, I'm told, enjoy crunching along the path). 

It kind of feels like maybe, when you pass through this verdant tunnel, you may come out in another time or place.  So far, I've just come out about ten feet from where I started.  Perhaps it takes a certain number of times.  I don't know what that number is, but I'll let you know if I figure it out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Cooking?

This beautiful mural is one of two located on the side of the (now-closed) Sierra Bistro Building.  They seem to be placed in what were once windows. 

I'm told that this building was once a Ford Dealership, and I do know that not too very long ago, you could see a shadow of the Ford logo on this side of the building. 

What I don't know is how long these murals have been there, because I'd never noticed them before yesterday afternoon.  Of course that doesn't mean they haven't been there since the beginning of time.  Being observant is not my best skill.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Things That Make You Go Ahhhh...

I love this garden.  I thought maybe you would, too!

I have never had so many good ideas day
after day as when I worked in the garden. 
~John Erskine

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where Carter Meets Baldwin

In 1881, Nathaniel C. Carter purchased 1,100 acres of land, which ultimately became our present City of Sierra Madre.  845 of those acres were purchased from Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin.  I'm very glad they met.  (If not, what would I be blogging about right this very minute?) This street sign is at the intersection where Baldwin and Carter continue to meet, to this day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mirages in Our Daily Lives

The other day, the lovely and talented Petrea, from the Pasadena Daily Photo Blog, posted about how sometimes you can walk the same route, day after day, until one day you make a small change (a new direction, a different time of day) and something new just pops out at you.  She describes it as Mental Oz.  I cannot think of a better description.

I had a similar experience just a few weeks ago, and was quite amazed by it.  There is a street I've walked down at least 50 times on daily walks.  Well, actually, I've walked "up" the street, since I am usually heading north.  On the day in question, however, I happened to head south, "down" the street and Bam! -  I saw this house. It just jumped out.  A mirage perhaps?  Perhaps, but I grabbed this picture before it disappeared, because we all know that mirages can be wiley like that. 

So, it seems that for all 50 (or probably more) times I've walked by it, this lovely house had been looking at the back of my highly-unobservant head.  Meanwhile I didn't know to swivel said pointy-head to the left, over my shoulder, to look right back at the house and say a friendly Hello.  My loss for the first 50 times, but now I'd like to think I'm smarter.  Isn't it a beauty?  I can't wait to see what pops out at me next.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pretty in Pink

A friend, and Loyal Reader, was spotted on this pedi-cab awhile back.  It was just too cute to not post.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creative Arts

Creative Arts Group, on Baldwin, was formed in 1960.  According to their website, Creative Arts "offers students the continuing opportunity to develop a joyful expression of creativity in their lives." That about covers it.  It's a pretty cool place.  

They have exhibits and also a gallery where you can purchase works that students have created.  My favorites are usually the ceramics.  I keep threatening to take a drawing class, but haven't quite worked up the nerve yet.  One of these days, though...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One More Day

Today is the last day of school.  At least it is for me, and for those who work where I do.  While the kids are running around, thinking only of swimming and endless hours of video games, the mostly-taller among us are thinking mainly of final paperwork, and where might we have put our keys.

Yet, in the back of my head lurks the thought that summer is almost here.  And that there is a quiet bench, much like this one, in my very-near future.  A bench for relaxing after a nice walk.  A bench for drinking wine while reading a good book and enjoying the garden.  Maybe a place for drying off after a swim.  All the relaxing things that summer brings.  I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Serenity Now

Here we are, almost at the end of the most
 hectic time of the school year.  (At
least for those of us who work for a school.)

Just passing by this spot on an evening
walk makes me feel more relaxed...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Seeing Red

So, apparently the other day was Red Vehicle Day in Sierra Madre. I didn't get the invitation, but I am not offended, since my car is blue.   Being left out of Blue Vehicle Day would have been another matter entirely.  I haven't heard about anything like that, so I will hold off on Feeling Blue, for now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Animal Crossing

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated
~~Mahatma Ghandi

Sunday, June 3, 2012

You Don't See This Every Day

On Earth Day weekend, the City and the Water Department held a Toilet Exchange in Sierra Vista Park.  You could sign up at the City in advance, and pick up your shiny new toilet on the day of The Big Event.  Then, apparently awhile later (a week or two?), you would turn in your old one.  I thought the day of the first Toilet Party was really fun, and I enjoyed seeing all the action, as people picked up their brand-spankin' new commodes.  I'm glad I missed the day when the old, used ones were returned.  You really have to hand it to any City and/or Water Department and volunteers who worked that shift.  Probably not so much fun, that day... 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Pinney House

The Pinney House, built in 1887, was designed by Samuel and Joseph Newsom for Dr. Elbert Pinney.  The Newsoms designed the historic San Dimas Hotel/Mansion, also built in 1887, as well. 

Dr. Pinney, a retired civil war surgeon, purchased his land from our esteemed founder, Nathaniel C. Carter, when Pinney was 70 years old.  The house was first built as a hotel, called the Sierra Vista, on 35 acres of land purchased at $50 an acre.  Dr. Pinney also planted vineyards and citrus on his property.

The hotel hosted many social events, and some overnight guests hiked the Mt. Wilson trail the following day.  Guests also played tennis on the courts that were there in the early days, and an early tennis club was formed.  The Pacific Ocean could be seen from the eighty-foot tower. 

Over the years, the Pinney House served different purposes for different owners.  In addition to being a hotel/social hall (where a Mrs. Sara Collins, owner in 1908, gave dance lessons to children in its ballroom), it was the Hord Sanitarium for addiction treatment in the 1920's, and was later used to help patients suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems.  In 1963 a local, Hugh Warden, gave it to his wife as a birthday present.  The best gift ever, I'd have to say....  The house has been featured in Hollywood, and is the site of the filming of the 1954 Bob Hope movie, "The Seven Little Foys."

Prior to its current incarnation as a private home, the Pinney House was an apartment house, with nine separate apartments.  Today, however, it is a 10,000 foot, single-family home, with 10 bedrooms and 11 baths, that is for sale for $2,795,000.  Check out this link if you'd like to see some pictures of the inside (or if you'd like to buy it!).  Also, just recently, the Pinney House was approved for being turned into a Bed & Breakfast, should the next owner decide to do so.

1. "Lost and Found: Historic and Natural Landmarks of the San Gabriel Valley,"
by Elizabeth Pomeroy
2.  Pinney House Website