Friday, August 31, 2012

The Greatest Pumpkins

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot
cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
~~Jim Davis 

(Can't quite figure out if this is the Jim Davis who is the "father" of Garfield,
or the one who is the "father," aka "Jock Ewing," on Dallas)


A few blocks from my house I came across this beautiful pumpkin garden. Not only have they grown amazing pumpkins, they have done it in a really creative, and beautifying place. 

We have tried, on more than one occassion, to grow pumpkins, and have had consistent, significantly-poor results.  I chose to think it just couldn't be done in our area. 

Obviously I was wrong.  Probably, my whatever-is-opposite-of-green thumb is playing a major role, but we're going back to the drawing board.  More research, and we'll try again next year. 

Coming in 2013: Pumpkins for all my friends!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reservoir Benches

This interesting bench resides on the outer wall of the Grove Street Reservoir, which provides water to one-third of the city's approximately 11,000 residents. 

This reservoir replaced a previous version in 2004 and, it turns out, was an award-winning project due to its unique approach to the problem of limited space.   

The challenge faced by the design/construction team was that because the reservoir was surrounded by houses, it was impossible to expand beyond the existing footprint.  A unique concentric tank system was used, so that one of the two tanks sits inside of the other, and the tanks operate in tandem.  However, one can continue operating if the other needs to be taken out of service for cleaning, etc. 

Next time you pass through, take a load off.  The bench has a pleasant throne-like quality and is surprisingly comfortable, for a concrete seat.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Heart of the Tree

(Sierra Madre at Sunset)

WHAT does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high.
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard —
The treble of heaven's harmony —
These things he plants who plants a tree.

This is a stanza from "The Heart of the Tree," by H.C. Brunner.  (Click here to see the rest of this poem, and others by the same author.)  Brunner lived from 1855 until 1896.  In his time, he was well known as a novelist, as well as a poet. 

For the record, I first heard this poem on an episode of Leave it to Beaver.  It set me off on a frenzy of looking up, and reading, poetry.  So, don't ever let anyone tell you that TV exists for the sole purpose of rotting your brain.  Theodore Cleaver and I would simply have to beg to differ.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Post Office, Prior to Opening on a Monday Morning

Sierra Madre's first Postmaster was a man by the name of Professor E.T. Pierce.  He was also our first school teacher, before the arrival of Mrs. Chloe B. Jones.

The Pierce family arrived in Sierra Madre in 1881, having purchased a 20 acre parcel of land.  At that time, the nearest post office was in San Gabriel, and when there were enough families to warrant it, John Richardson was hired to carry the mail twice a week.  The mail was then placed on the Pierce's dining room table, where families came to pick it up at their convenience. 

Once the settlement was given the official name of "Sierra Madre," our Federal Post Office was established on September 18, 1882.  Professor Pierce was named Postmaster (at $150 per year!), and William Robinson became the official mail carrier.  At that point, the office was moved to Mr. Robinson's house, at 65 N. Baldwin, which is now the home of the Lunch Salon. 

Since 1882, our Post Office has been housed in seven different locations, until its final arrival at its permanent home, in 1964.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Mini-Vacay


On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I went to Arnold's Hardware, to pick up some what-not or other (they always seem to have the thing you can't find anywhere else).  We ended up buying ice cream bars that they sell there, and stopped at the picnic tables in Memorial Park to eat them. 

People were all over the park, enjoying it in various ways.  There were kids playing in the playground, people training their dogs, families playing with their babies, and people setting up chairs for the final concert of the summer.  If you look at the top of this photo, you'll even see some leftover balloons from a birthday party that must have happened earlier in the weekend. 

Yet, with all that activity going on, everything seemed to be quiet and peaceful.  Not even hot, just warm and pleasant.  It was like a mini-vacation.  The heat is supposed to come back this week.  We were glad to enjoy some pleasant outside time while it lasted. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bean Town - It's the Place To Be!

Omar, the Lovely & Patient Sophia, and a glimpse of the really good lemonade
Yesterday, I had coffee with my friend Omar, and his amazing daughter Sophia.  Omar and I have been friends snce high school, so we defintely qualify as Old Friends.  But I really wish our society could come up with another term for that, because the "old" part is starting to hit a bit too close to home... 

Anywho, when we discussed where we should meet, Bean Town was a natural choice.  It's the kind of place where everyone, from tiny people to elderly people, can have a great time. 

Although it's a very roomy place, it's sometimes hard to get a table at Bean Town, due to its popularity.  Just as we got our coffee, we were lucky to spot someone who was leaving, and we hovered, just a bit, to get their table. This is generally not considered "rude" at Bean Town - more like "a necessity."  Once we found a table, Sophia, a nice and patient girl, enjoyed some really good lemonade and sat with her dad and I for a couple of hours, as we talked about the "old" days (there it is again), and got caught up on what our families have been up to. 

I've been lucky enough to have been hanging at The Bean since its beginning, when it was less than half the size it is now.  (Little Known Fact: If you look up at the ceiling, you'll see a beam about 2/3 of the way across - front to back.  The smaller 1/3 was the original, teeny-tiny coffee bar.)  When I was in college, I used to go there to study. Then I met too many nice people, and had to quit going for awhile, because the only thing I was achieving was lots of socializing. This is a typical Bean Town hazard - You will always see someone you know.  Great for socializing.  But for studying, not so much, unless you are a person with a modicum of restraint...

In addition to coffee, tea, and baked goods (like cupcakes!!), Bean Town has lots of other food choices.  They have salads, sandwiches, paninis and wraps, the best soup around and, the latest, breakfast buirritos and bowls.  Pretty much, if you want to eat it, they have it.  Just don't go there on the day they have the Toscana Soup - it is terrible, so I will be a giver and eat your share.  (Wink-Wink)

So, if you are getting together with friends, new or "old," give Bean Town a try, if you haven't already!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ocean View House

This home was originally a hotel run by N.C. Carter.  The hotel's name might sound strange to us now, since we don't think of our city as an Ocean View kind of place (maybe from the very top of the mountain, on a reeeeeeeeally clear day?). 

But, there was a time when things were different.  In 1930, at the age of 84, Mrs. Annetta M. Carter (widow of Nathaniel C. Carter) was interviewed at her home, "Carterhia." Mrs. Carter spoke of the changes she had seen since coming to Sierra Madre in the 1880's:

"It is not the same, even in daytime.  Why, I remember when we could see the Pacific every day.  It was like a silver ribbon way off there.  But the cities have brought smoke to screen it and we don't see it as often now." 

Ocean View property, right here in Sierra Madre.  Nice!

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's (well, you know the rest...)

Work is a necessity for man.  Man invented the alarm clock.
~~Pablo Picasso
Well, summer vacation is almost over, and work is beckoning. 
No more staying up late into the night, reading an "unputdownable" book.  No more daily sleeping in, after said marathon reading session.  No more long, leisurely lunches with friends, followed by shopping, or a nap, or whatever the H-E-double-toothpicks I want.  The whole thing is kind of sad, really.
Yet, I think that at the end of vacation (extended or otherwise), many of us feel recharged and ready for new beginnings, with new challenges to conquer.  It reeks of the dreaded New Year's Resolution Syndrome.
"I'll bring my lunch to work every day, and save tons of money!"
"I'll exercise three times a week after work!"
"I'll become the world's most impressive employee, while simultaneously gaining the eternal respect of my colleagues!!"  (Sometimes we can get just a tad carried away...)
But, first things first. The bit about having to set our alarm clocks?  That's the part I find the most challenging of all.
Au revoir, Vacation. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Signs of Change

Well, this year's Concert in The Park series will wrap up on Sunday, with Top 40 band "Take Two."  The concert banner across Baldwin was removed early Monday morning. 

What replaced the previous sign? A banner advertising upcoming sign-ups for the Sierra Madre Girls Softball Association. For the Fall Season. Yep.  School is starting and Fall, with its associated sports, is on its way.

I will miss the long, sunny summer days. (See how quickly one can forget about heat waves? Even those that are still in residence?) But it was bound to happen. Fall is getting ready to step in and take over.  So, bring on the pumpkins!

(If you are interested in sign-ups for Girls Softball, the sign says to go to for information and on-line registration.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Evening to Remember

The Fabulously-Talented Karyn O'Bryant

Last Friday night, I was privileged to attend "Incident at Vichy," currently running at our Sierra Madre Playhouse.  The Playhouse's production of Arthur Miller's 1964 drama, about a group of detainees in 1942 Nazi-occupied Vichy, France, is a Los Angeles Times Critics Choice.  The show was wonderfully acted and thoroughly thought-provoking.

In addition to this extraordinary play, my evening included a visit with Petrea Burchard, of Pasadena Daily Photo fame, who graciously invited me to see the play with her (Thank you, Petrea!!).  Although I feel like we are old friends, this was our first get-together IRL (In Real Life), as they say in the blogging world, and it couldn't have been more enjoyable.  She kindly answered all the blogging-related questions I could throw at her (and there were many), and we managed to talk about all sorts of non-blog topics, as well.  Here's Petrea's post about our evening.  She took a wonderful photo of The Buccanneer, across from the theater.

The play has a run-time of 90 minutes, with no intermission, and I have decided that the "intermission-less" performance is my favorite type to attend.  Especially when the show maintains such a level of intensity as this one does. I always feel kind of disjointed when the spell is broken for intermission, and we all have to switch gears and stand around discussing unrelated trivialities until the play resumes.  (You just have to plan your pre-show activities to be prepared for 90 minutes with no break!)

Following the show, Petrea introduced me to her friend Karyn O'Bryant, who was one of the main characters in the play.  Karyn, a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and an accomplished stage actress, played the part of "Professor" with chilling realism. 

Incident at Vichy runs Friday and Saturday evenings, with matinees on Sunday afternoons, through September 8.  For tickets or more info, call (626) 355-4318.  If you are able to, please go and see it.  You won't be sorry. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Old Hotel Sierra Madre

The Hotel Sierra Madre was built in the mid-1920's, and was for both resident and tourist needs.  From the beginning, the ground floor contained professional offices and stores, with the hotel being located on the second floor.

The complex is now called the Renaissance Plaza, and the sign in front says the property is available for "commercial and residential" purposes.  The top floor continues to be residential, while the first floor houses several shops and salons.  Also on the first floor is the office of Century 21 Village Realty, which posed as a newspaper office in the episode of "Touch" that was filmed here in town last Spring.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Time Capsule

This is the area between the City Hall building, and the Sierra Madre Fire and Police Facility.  In the foreground of the photo is a plaque, reading "Historical Society Time Capsule 1976."  

The historical time capsule was buried beneath the flag pole on March 19, 1976, and several items were placed inside a sturdy metal box.  These items included the following: special copies of the local newspapers; lists of city officers, boards and employees; information on our Search and Rescue Team, trails and the Wistaria Vine; a telephone directory from 1976, and varied brochures of city activities. 

The historical documents were chosen and placed in the box by the Bi-Centennial Committe, the City of Sierra Madre, and the Sierra Madre Historical Society.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just Like Going to the Beach?

When I was a kid, my parents took us to Balboa Island fairly regularly, where we would each get a chocolate covered Frozen Banana.  To this day, that is one of my most treasured memories. 

So the other day, being typically hot and tired, and nowhere near the beach, I went into Yogurt & More, in good ole Kersting Court, and "invented" my own version of the Frozen Banana.  Here's the recipe:

1/2 Banana Yogurt +
1/2 Chocolate Yogurt +
a sprinkle of almonds on top 
= Practically A Trip to the Beach! 

Okay, I realize it's not exactly the same as a trip to the beach, but it's really delicious frozen yogurt, and the price of gas can't be beat.  In a pinch, I'd say it's a pretty good alternative!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot August Evenings

In the past couple of weeks, while the weather has been freakishly hot, our clouds have been delivering a pretty decent consolation prize.  We've also been enjoying some luxurious sunsets.  Unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to capture the sunsets very well from here in town, due to those pesky beautiful trees all over the place.

But, if you'd like to hang out with those fancy clouds for a bit, you'll have a chance this evening, as tonight marks the last of this summer's Family Movie Fridays in Kersting Court. 

On tonight's schedule is the 1982 classic, "E.T.: The Extra Terrestial," about a lonely boy who befriends an oddly-cute little alien*.  The movie begins at 8:00 p.m.  

When you head over to watch the movie, bring your own chairs and blankets, get there a bit early, eat some food, do some people watching, and enjoy the evening.  It's a great deal.  The movie is free, and there may even be a lovely Cloud & Sunset Pre-show.

*As far as I know, the last aliens in town were the pod people who landed during the filming of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," in 1956.  So, let's be careful out there, fellow townsfolk!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Bridge Nearby

It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it.
~~ Judi Dench

I happened upon this nice spot near a bridge, while walking in the canyon.  It's great when people put things together in just the right way...  It makes you smile.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Old Adobe

Mr. Ammi Hawks purchased 20 acres of property in 1881, and in 1887 he began to develop his ranch, planting oranges and lemons.  He also imported from Japan the then-famous "Oonshiu" orange, a tangerine-type fruit, which I believe is now referred to as the Satsuma orange/tangerine.  In 1895, Mr. Hawks built this adobe building for the purpose of curing his lemons.

The building was constructed from adobe soil from near the mouth of Bailey Canyon, along with straw and water.  It had one door and no windows, a dirt floor and a ventilator in the roof.  The building made a perfect place to cure lemons, due to its being dark and cool year-round. 

Through the years, the Old Adobe has served many purposes, including being part of the Suman pottery factory, the meeting place for the V.F.W. (before they had their own building), and an early location of the Creative Arts Group.  It is now the home of the Ixora Floral Studio, as well as Gallery 39, which opened in May of this year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Art of the Park

In case you haven't heard my whining from where you are (and if not, you might consider getting your hearing checked), it's been HOT lately.  So yesterday afternoon, my sister-in-law and I took a pleasant field trip to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, to use their air conditioner seek cultural enrichment.  We had a great time visiting Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and my personal favorite painting at the museum, "Saint Cecelia," by Guido Reni. 

On my way home, feeling more refreshed and less cranky and hot,  I stopped in at Sierra Vista Park for a moment.  It was 6:00, the temperature was somewhere in the 90's, and most people were still inside.  I decided to extricate myself from my climate-controlled vehicle and join the other 2.5 brave souls (one was very small) who were at the park.  I'm glad I did.  The park, the mountains, and the sky looked like a piece of art, with a little bench for viewing and pondering, right there in the front.

Monday, August 13, 2012

90 Years of Safety

This interesting piece of early firefighting equipment sits to the left of the large doors which house the Sierra Madre Fire Department's (modern) vehicles.  Nearby is a plaque with the following words:

"The Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Dept.
Proudly Protecting The Community
Since 1921"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Old North Church

The Old North Church, built in 1890, is part of the Sierra Madre Congregational Church.  The church began as a Sunday School in 1882, and met in the original one-room schoolhouse at the corner of Hermosa and Live Oak (now Orange Grove). 

Following a few years of informal church services, the First Congregational Church of Sierra Madre was established in 1886, with Mrs. Nathaniel C. Carter as one of the 13 founding members.  The Old North Church was their original church building.  Their second, and current, building was built across the street in 1928.  But that's a photo for another day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cure for the Summertime Blues

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped in to Savor the Flavor, a Very Favorite Store of mine.  They've been open since 1998, and the mother-daughter team of Karen and Maddie have been providing me with gift-giving salvation, of the gourmet specialty-food variety, since the beginning. 

These ladies have something for just about everyone, from barbecue sauce, to teapots, to cookbooks, to award-winning cookies.  They attend all the major food shows, and come back with everything from Soup to Nuts (literally).  They'll put together gift baskets for you with items you've chosen (or they can do that for you too).  Also, during the holiday season, groups can book private, evening Shopping Parties.  I've attended a few of these, and they are always fun and festive.  They'll even ship your gifts (awesomeness!).

On yesterday's mission, I needed an apron for my upcoming Tomato Canning class at Mother Moo's and, being the Domestic Goddess that I am (not), I didn't own one.  Naturally, Savor the Flavor had a nice selection of them, and I was able find the perfect apron, taste a couple of their always-present samples, and get right back out into the heat (yay). 

While I was there, I noticed they had a great display of Fall merchandise.  So, it seems that Summer and its accompanying heat-waves will one day be over, and we will live to celebrate my true favorite season - Pumpkin Season.  Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Latte, Pumpkin Candles, Pumpkin Ice Cream.  I can hardly wait...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Orange You Glad It's Friday?

A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden–swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Former Ripple Mortuary

This beautiful building on Sierra Madre Boulevard was formerly the Ripple Mortuary.  It now belongs to the Sierra Madre Congregational Church.   

I tried to find more info on the history of the building but came up short, for now.  As a consolation, I can offer you an interesting bit of funeral info that I found online.  Apparently, the funeral industry, as we know it in our country today, didn't emerge until after the Civil War.  Prior to that time, the dead were often displayed in the parlor of the family home, hence the term "Funeral Parlor," that is sometime still in use today.  Really, what would we do without the internet...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Broderick Crawford Would Be Proud

From the 4th of July Parade

This 1955 Buick was beautifully restored to look almost exactly like the iconic CHP Car from the 1950's TV series, "Highway Patrol."

Owned by Gary Goltz, who may well be the show's biggest fan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mother Moo Creamery

So, the sad news is that the cow stolen from Mother Moo's Creamery was never recovered.  But, if you look closely at this photo, you'll see that the owner, Karen, was given a similar cow.  In fact, she's been gifted with several cows in the last couple of months.  Because people like her business, and they like her.  I can see why. 

The other night, after dinner at Sierra Madre Thai, we ended up stopping by the Moo to try one of their homemade ice cream sandwiches (homemade peach ice cream + homemade snicker doodle-type cookies = To. Die. For.).  We marched up and robustly pulled on the door, not realizing that it was past closing time.  Now, I think many business owners would hide behind the ice cream freezers, just hoping you'd go away so they could go home.  But not Karen.  She kindly walked over and opened the door, and not only sold us two ice cream sandwiches, but she visited with us at length about the whole process of canning tomatoes.  Have I mentioned that I'm going to attend their Tomatoes 101 class?  Fun, huh?  I can't wait.  Since I know you can't wait to hear about it, I'll be sure to report back on all the fun I have!

Oh, and you know that "plastic cow" that was stolen?  Turns out she wasn't just any old cow from someplace like Wal-Mart.  She was a Donald Featherstone cow.  He's the guy that first came up with the mold for the world-famous pink flamingoes, and even won a fun award called the Ig Nobel Prize.  It's an American parody of the Nobel Prize and it's purpose is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think."  It's like a metaphor for a well-led life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sierra Madre Thai

This is our favorite Thai restaurant, Sierra Madre Thai.  I've mentioned it once before, as it is right next door to the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Although they have great lunch specials, we tend to go in the evening, and the food is always scrumptious (a word I don't toss around lightly!).  It's run by a very nice family, and no matter when you come in, they are happy to see you. 

Often, it doesn't seem busy, which used to make me worry for them, but it seems that they do a brisk take-out business.  But just in case, I think we should all eat there more often.  I aim to do my part, ASAP.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stairway to Coolness

Not sure what I can say about this.  I just really like it, and feel that I am in the presence of coolness every time I walk past it.  Oh yeah, and if I lived here, I wouldn't be so bugged when I got home each day, knowing that my house is way up there, and I'm way down here.  As long as my path from Here to There included a trip up this stairway.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lizzie's Trail Inn

I thought you might enjoy seeing a photo of Lizzie's, as it looks today. At one point, this building and the adjacent Richardson House were part of a compound which also contained rental cabins, and stables for burros. The burros were available to help people get their belongings, and sometimes themselves, up the steep trail to mountain camps and the Mt. Wilson Hotel. Much of the compound was basically located on the site of what is now Mt. Wilson Trail Park.

Sometime early in the 1900's, everything began to change. The building of a road from Altadena to the top, made it easier to access Mt. Wilson via automobile. Additionally, Sierra Madre outlawed pack animals and stables within city limits. At that point in time, according to an interesting article I found on the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society Website, "the days of a full service facility at the trailhead were coming to a close."

The Trail Inn was able to stay in business until 1948, and the barn, stable, and other structures were not removed until 1961. Luckily, Lizzie's Trail Inn and The Richardson House were saved, so we can all visit a bit of that time in our history. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Best Used Books Sale

If you're in the area, don't forget to stop by the Sierra Madre Public Library this afternoon/evening from 3:00 until 7:00, or tomorrow morning from 10:00 until 2:00.  By purchasing books from the Best Used Books Sale, you'll be helping out the Library's Friends organization, plus you'll get to feel good about yourself.  (...and good books at a cheap price aren't a bad thing, either!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.
~Henry James

Enjoying a hot summer afternoon with
a dear friend, and a change of pace.

Rosa's Very Special Hibiscus Iced Tea,
made from her grandmother's recipe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Theme Day - Numbers

August Theme Day - Numbers
On the first of each month, the City Daily Photo Blog community has a Theme Day.  This month, the theme is "Numbers."  Around here, 1890 and 1900 are considered very OLD numbers.  Practically Ancient History. 

(To see the interesting things that other Theme Day participants
from around the world have come up with, click here.) 

Richardson House and Lizzie's Trail Inn Museums

Lizzies' Trail Inn
In about 1890, a lunchstand was opened near the base of the Mt. Wilson Trail, where hikers could pick up food on their way up or down the mountain.  In 1913, the little building which, according to the Historical Preservation Society's website, was "ever evolving" was moved (or rebuilt) on the east side of the trail, and went through a succession of owners.  Lizzie McElwain ran the business from 1925 until 1935, and "Lizzie's Trail Inn" became famous for fried chicken, ravioli, and even "distilled spirits" during prohibition. The business was then run by Thelma and Robert Orme, who kept the tradition alive until 1948, when Lizzies Trail Inn closed. 

Richardson House
In the early 1860's, John Richardson came to California, and obtained 150 acres of federal land.  He developed a ranch and built two small dwellings, one of which is the current "Richardson House."  (It is thought that this house was originally located near the corner of Mountain Trail, and was moved to its present location in later years.)  Mr. Richardson subsequently sold the land to N.C. Carter, who was developing the town of Sierra Madre. 

During the years that the Trail Inn was operating, some of the people who worked there lived in the Richardson house.  In fact, Maurice Orme, who is on the Board of Directors for the Historical Preservation Society, grew up in the house.  His mother, Elsie Orme worked for Lizzie McElwain, until his family took over the running of the Trail Inn after Lizzie's death.

The Museums Today
Resting at the foot of Mt. Wilson Trail, the Richardson House and Lizzie's Trail Inn Museums are owned by the City of Sierra Madre, and run by the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society.  The Society has spent countless volunteer hours, in order to restore and maintain the buildings.  The museums contain vintage furniture, photographs, historical documents, and artifacts.  Both of the museums are open on Saturdays from 12:00 - 2:00 for tours, and special tours and field trips can also be arranged.  Best of all, according to a recent issue of the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society Newsletter, Maurice Orme is there at the museums on Saturdays.  Stop by - He has some great stories to tell!