Friday, November 30, 2012

Arnold's Hardware

Arnold's, as taken last month, while the scarecrow employee was still hanging out on the front walk.
Arnold's Hardware is a marvel.  Their motto is "Where old-fashioned service is never outdated."  In our house, we just think of Arnold's as our own garage.  No need to keep a bunch of extra stuff around the house, when you can just go up to Arnold's for whatever you need.  You need a nut? A bolt? A broom handle?  Just check Arnold's.  They probably have it.  Paint? Birthday card? Small appliances?  Yep.  That too.  They kindly keep all the things we need, for as long as necessary, and they don't even charge us a storage fee. Then, when we want it, we give them a few bucks, and take it home. A grand relationship, to say the least!  Plus, the service, always delivered in a friendly manner, by employees wearing overalls, is outstanding! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"New" City Hall

Our City Hall is nestled between Memorial Park and the Police and Fire Facilities, across Sierra Madre Boulevard and down the street from Old City Hall

In 1969, the city purchased land belonging to the Woman's Club, and in 1973, the Club's building was demolished (the Woman's Club moved down the street, to the Essick House).  The present City Hall was then constructed, and dedicated on May 8, 1976.  In March of that same year, a time capsule was placed in front of the flag pole at the entrance to the City Hall.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old City Hall

Sierra Madre's first City Hall was located in a very small office, with minimal furnishings, in the Kersting Block.  The second city hall (above - now referred to as the "Old City Hall") was completed in 1927, and opened in 1928.  The City Hall housed the police and fire facilities, as well as the city's administrative offices.  The large windows to the left of the building were originally the large firehouse door(s).  Presently, the building houses businesses, as well as the Jailhouse Inn, a bed and breakfast located in the old city jail and which, at 200 square feet, is known for being the smallest hotel in the United States.  Their motto is "It's a crime not to stay here!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

His Name is Eddie

This friendly banana, who resides at Taylor's Meat and Produce Market, has a talk bubble that says "Hello, my name is Eddie!  How may I help?"  I was very curious about Eddie, the Talking Banana.  But when I asked the guy at the checkout why they had a banana named Eddie, working in the produce department, he said, "You know, I have no idea!"  Well, the mysteries just keep rolling in, folks! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Last Train to Who Ville

Just had to share one last bit of our town's Who Ville Festival with you.  This little train was offering rides to the kiddies.  I don't know who it belongs to.  What I do know for sure is that it's cuter than a...  Cuter than...  Hmm...  Well, it's cuter than just about anything cute I can think of!  Any cuteness similes you'd like to insert here are very welcome indeed!

"If you never did, you should. 
These things are fun, and fun is good!"
~~Dr. Seuss


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Who Ville Was Hoppin'

I made two trips to Who Ville yesterday.  The first time was in the early afternoon.  It was still very, very warm out, and while everyone was walking around in shorts and flip-flops, the festive atmosphere was starting to build.  Especially down at the Bank of the West, where the traditional sliding-down-the-snow-hill was getting underway.  We had some coffee (peppermint mocha for me), and headed off to do some Saturday errands. 

Later we swung back by Who Ville, to discover a fever pitch of holiday happiness.  There were two separate horse and carriage rides taking families around, and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" had a captive audience on a big-screen in Kersting Court.  Meanwhile, every restaurant was packed, and people were strolling and talking on the sidewalks in front of the shops.  From what I could see, Small Business Saturday was a huge success. 

Although I missed meeting the Grinch himself, I was able to catch Saint Nick as he was heading back up to the North Pole, and he kindly posed for this photo.  You know, I thought he would be more rushed, this being his busy season and all, but he was just as nice as I'd always hoped he'd be.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Who Ville is Here

~ A Quiet Town Awaits a Who Ville Invasion ~
Today, from 1:00 until 8:00, our city will be having a Holiday kickoff celebration, sponsored by the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce.  This is always a really fun event.  In past years, the event has had a Dickens Village theme, but this year the city will be transformed into Who Ville, from Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 

This promises to be an action-packed day.  Local non-profits will have booths, and there will be activities for the kids, including train rides and snow sledding.  There will also be carolers, horse and buggy rides, and even an appearance from Grinchy himself, who may have his heart grow a size or two, before the day is over.  Most importantly, I hear that there may be a visit from a gentleman by the name of Kringle.  Finally, at 7:00, the town Christmas tree will be lit. 

Today is also Small Business Saturday (participation info here), so please consider supporting your local businesses.  For more information on the Who Ville event, as well as some interesting stats on the positive impact that shopping locally can have on a community, please see this nice article on the website.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Today is Black Friday here in the U.S. and, like Eastwicke Village  (above), Christmas Season is officially "Open."  Sierra Madre has a lot of very nice small businesses, for the locally-minded shopper.  Eastwicke Village is in the Renaissance Plaza shopping area.  Check out the photos in this Yelp review of the shop.  I have seen the cute rocks that the owner paints (they look like animals), but I didn't realize that she will personalize them as well.  Can you say "great gifts for the animal lover in your life"?  Well, I'm sure you can, but I'll bet you can't say it three times fast!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harvest Celebration of 1621

Happy Harvest Celebration of 1621!  That was what the first Thanksgiving was called.  I read this great article in Smithsonian Magazine, and thought you might enjoy it too.  Lots of interesting stuff about the first Thanksgiving (as we call it now), and what food was (and wasn't!) served then. 

The article also has some good stuff about how we got to the holiday we now celebrate. It seems a certain Mrs. Hale petitioned thirteen presidents, until Abraham Lincoln gave the official holiday the go-ahead...  (Man. We should call it Mrs. Hale day!)

So, if your day is a little hectic, as holidays can sometimes be, take a little break, read the article, and then wow your friends and family with Thanksgiving Fun Facts at your holiday table!

Above all, please enjoy your day.  Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, why not take a little minute to be thankful anyway?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Park Place

This Victorian home on Park Avenue is for sale.  The house, built in 1900, is filled with gingerbread and also, at 2,584 square feet, a lot more rooms than you might think when looking at the house from the street.  This is the first time that the house has been on the market in thirty-nine years. 

According to the realtor's website, there are stories that say the home was built for Lucky Baldwin's sister.  I did a bit of digging around, and aside from finding out that he had a sister who may have been named Lucy, I couldn't find any solid info on anything else.  But, in my limited experience, stories like this don't just spring up out of nowhere.  Another mystery is waiting to be solved!  In the meantime, you can learn more about Baldwin's daughter, Anita, in a new exhibit that has opened up just south of us, at Arcadia's historical museum, The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage.

See the really cute "Park Place" Monopoly card on the front porch? Classic gamepiece on a classic house. I've always enjoyed that little nod to Monopoly, and hope that the next resident carries on the tradition. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Former Home of Stanley

This charming house* was formerly on the onetime, unofficial, Underground Tour of Sierra Madre.  I was taken on this tour by a group of friends who had grown up here, and knew of all kinds of fun things to see.  (It was truly Unofficial.  But boy oh boy, was it ever fun!)  This stop on the tour was the home of Stanley, the Hugging Cat.

Stanley was a cute and friendly little tabby.  His friendliness was extended to everyone who walked down his sidewalk.  Most anyone could stop out in front of Stanley's house and call his name.  He would come tearing out to the sidewalk, and you could pick him up and he'd give you a hug, little arms outstretched and everything.  That there was some serious cuteness, that was. 

This was ten or fifteen years ago, so I would have to assume that Stanley has moved up to kitty heaven by now.  But he still provides a little slice of joy each time I pass this house and think of him.  I'd like to think I'm not the only one.  Cute.  Seriously Cute.

*My memory tells me that this is the house where Stanley lived, but I could be wrong. It's happened before, and will likely happen again.  Either way, he was a cool kitty, and this is a charming house, so there ya go!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Quest

Last week, I set out to look for a nice group of Thanksgiving-themed photographs.  I had this craaaaaazy idea that I could feature a whole week of Thanksgiving decorations.  It turned out to be much more difficult than I thought.  Perhaps it just wasn't possible.  But, after much searching, I decided on this shot of the lovely pumpkins and autumn florals in front of Sierra Juice, on Baldwin at Kersting Court. 

BUT, what is that lurking in the background??  Yes, indeedy, folks, those are Happy-Holidays-style banners.  They have been there for at least a week or so.  (I won't even mention the Christmas Carols I heard while shopping on November 1st.  Oh.  I guess I just did.) 

It seems that Halloween can, like the cheese, stand alone. Thanksgiving?  Not so much. 

I found a couple of Thanksgiving photos, but not nearly as many as I had hoped, and I have given up the quest.  I do love the entire Holiday season (Halloween through New Year's Day), but I just feel sorry for little old Turkey Day, stuck in the middle, and kind of getting lost.  I guess I will just go with the inevitable, and start my Christmas shopping.  Right after Thanksgiving gets its moment in the sun (or rain, as the case may be).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fairy Tale House

This beautiful home is said to be of the Tudor style, which was prominent between 1890 and 1940.  According to, the Tudor style takes its name from England in the 1500's, but is more reminiscent of medieval times.  In America, large homes of the Tudor style were often built by the wealthy, to evoke images of old money and rich heritage.  The website says that around 1920, a more modest version of the style began to pop up, as a variation of the popular Craftsman Bungalow.  This 1930 beauty seems to fit right in.

So, all that technical description is very informative, but every time I see this house, it just makes me think of a fairy tale.  (And all that technical stuff kind of explains why!)  The house sold not too long ago.  I wonder who lives there?  Maybe someone with a home-based business, like a little shoemaker, or a pretty girl and seven tiny miners...

Saturday, November 17, 2012


- Beautiful Clouds On a Recent Rainy Day -

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
We've had some beautiful weather these last few days.  Enough rain to make it a turn-on-the-heater day, but not enough to foul up the roads.  This is often followed by blue skies filled with puffy white clouds.  We are very fortunate.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Wedding Singer

This 1904 home was one of the filming locations for the 1998 movie, The Wedding Singer.  The flick starred Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, and Christine Taylor.  The home, occassionally referred to as the "Tucker House," stood in for the home of Julia, played by Drew Barrymore. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


~~Enjoying an autumn morning, post-walk, with a delicious cup of coffee, and an umbrella to shade us. ~~

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns. 
~George Eliot

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Any Reader

~ A House Made for Poetry ~
Yesterday was the birthday of author Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Scotland in 1850.  I meant to post this on his actual day, but I am finding myself in that weird loop of thinking-one-day-is-another, which is caused by having a Monday holiday off. 

So, belated Birthday Greetings to Mr. Stevenson, who wrote Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Coincidentally, on his birthday I purchased tickets for the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde, which will be playing at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood this coming February and March. 

I found it very interesting that RLS did not learn to read until the age of seven or eight, yet he was dictating stories to his mother and nurse even before this time.  He composed stories prolifically during his childhood, and throughout his life.  He composed music as well, creating more than 100 musical pieces and arrangements.  And, if this isn't enough of a legacy, there are some who claim that he was the inventor of the sleeping bag!  All of this before his untimely death at the age of forty-four.

In his honor, I bring you a poem entitled, "To Any Reader," from his Child's Garden of Verses:

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you.  He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Only Place In Town

Only Place In Town has a huge menu.  You can get breakfast, burgers, salads, Mexican dishes, pasta...  You name it.  You'd think that with such a varied amount of food coming out of the kitchen, one or two of the items might be less than stellar.  Not so, Joe!  So far, everything I've had here is great, and I've eaten here a lot. 

When I first discovered the town of Sierra Madre, one of the first things I ate here was the Only Place in Town's Maggie Wong's Chinese Chicken Salad.  It is really, really good.  Last summer, I served a catering-sized portion at a book club meeting.  The salad met with rave reviews, as did the cheese bread and the zuchinni bread, either of which comes with the salad. 

I believe the restaurant used to be called The Headliner.  It is now owned by Barney's Grill and Pub, in Old Town Pasadena, and its official name is "Barney's Only Place in Town." 

Whatever it's called, it's great food, with a fun, kind-of-clubby / kind-of-old-timey ambiance.  You should go there.  I know I will, again and again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Buy/Hartman Pharmacy

Best Buy Drug is the location of what the Sierra Madre Vistas (1976) referred to as the "Oldest Business House."  The Hartman Rexall Pharmacy was opened in 1911 by Franklin H. Hartman.  Mr. Hartman had previously visited our area, and loved California's climate, so he bought the store (one year old), from W.E. Bechtelheimer.  It had been across the street at that time, and about one year later, upon the opening of the Kersting Block, Mr. Hartman moved the store to its present location. 

Mr. Hartman had a son by the name of Rudolph, who was born in 1895 and spent his teen years interning in the store.  "Rudy" graduated from the USC School of Pharmacy in 1916, and ultimately took over the store upon his father's retirement in 1937. 

Rudy was a vital and important member of our community.  He grew up enjoying airplanes, and even built his own glider, getting friends to give him a push down Baldwin to get it going.  He had an extensive photographic collection, which was a source of information for the Historical Society.  In 1970, the Chamber of Commerce named Rudolph Hartman as Sierra Madre Citizen of the Year.  According to an L.A. Times article from 1986, Rudolph Hartman suffered a stroke in 1986, and at that time was living in our own Skilled Nursing Facility. Mr. Hartman passed away in 1988.

Rudy Hartman had been active in the business until 1977, and sold out to his competitor in 1980.  In 1986, the Hartman-Rexall Pharmacy was purchased by Best Buy Drugs which had been located on Sierra Madre Blvd.  Best Buy then closed their location on Sierra Madre, and moved into the Hartman Pharmacy location on Baldwin.  In 1995, brothers Paul and Joseph Mansour purchased Best Buy, and the store celebrated its 100th birthday in 2010.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sierra Madre Veterans Photo Wall

On October 11, 2003, the Sierra Madre Veterans Photo Wall was dedicated.  Any veteran who lives, or who has lived for more than one year, in Sierra Madre is eligible to have their photo engraved and placed on the wall.  Click here to see some of the photos.  Additionally, any veteran (regardless of where they have lived) can be honored on one of the bricks that surround the wall. 

Our city's Veterans Memorial was the brainchild of Mr. John Grijalva, who I am proud to say was a dear friend of mine.  Over the years, John and his wife, Mignon, became my "Sierra Madre parents."  They are probably the reason I have a blog (so you can blame them for this!).  Listening to their stories about growing up in their beloved Sierra Madre, and the changes that have happened over the years, sparked my interest in the history of the town, and helped me to want to scratch below the surface to see what I could find.  John, who has been honored by the town as Older American of the Year, as well as Grand Marshall of the 4th of July Parade, has passed away, and I miss him very much.

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11, began in honor of November 11, 1918, the end of The War to End All Wars, World War I.  However, the day honors all Veterans of all of America's wars.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Step Into History

I love these stairs in the Upper Canyon.  Although they don't seem
to lead anywhere, I'll bet they've seen a lot in their time.

Friday, November 9, 2012


(More of the beautiful clocks at Baldwin Jewelers)
We must use time wisely and forever realize
that the time is always ripe to do right.
~~Nelson Mandela


Thursday, November 8, 2012


I have always enjoyed looking at this garage.  It's beautiful, independent of the house and people it serves.  Speaking of cool garages, comedian/talk show host Jay Leno apparently has the mother of all garages, and you can take a look at it, if you'd like.  Jay Leno's Garage is a website that shows the many, many cars in his collection.  There's some impressive stuff there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Voted!

Election Day Instructions
1)  Drive or walk to polling place
2)  Stand in line for a bit
3)  Vote
4)  Get "I Voted" sticker
5)  Get a little teary-eyed on the way out*
*The process gets to me (in a good way) every time...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Turtle Park Duck

This duck lives in Turtle Park, more formally known as Mount Wilson Trail Park.  He is located in the playground at the east end of the park. 

Toward the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the Playground Movement and the Mothers' and Children's Movement (an offshoot of Women's Suffrage) came into being.  They were responsible for the passage of policies designed to assist children, and to support schools and playgrounds.  Urban landscapes changed throughout this time as playgrounds became the focus of philanthropists and local governments.  Many of our playgrounds were built in the 1930's as WPA projects.  

As for the duck in Turtle Park, I wonder if it bothers him that he doesn't live in Duck Park.  I think he seems pretty okay with his lot in life. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Banned Books & Pink Shoes

This is the cute, pink-shoed librarian scarecrow that sits at the entrance to the Sierra Madre Public Library.  If you look at her book bag closely, you'll see that it says "I read banned books."  Having not heard much about banned books lately, I looked it up, and found that (of course) many of our classics have been banned at various times, in various countries, for various reasons.  Including this one: In 1966, Green Eggs and Ham was banned in the People's Republic of China, for its portrayal of early Marxism.  The ban was lifted in 1991, upon Seuss's death.  I do not like this book being banned.  I do not like this, Sam I Am.  (Okay.  That didn't really rhyme, but you get my point...)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rose as a Homonym

I don't know exactly when Rose Season is, here in California, but I have a hard time remembering when it isn't.  This variety seems to be especially prolific right now. 

Rose is a multiple-meaning word.  In addition to being a flower, it also happens to be a name.  Specifically, it is a part of my name (the middle part).  When I was a child, I was very proud of the fact that Rose had been my paternal grandmother's name, and that I had been named after her.  Adele Rose. 

Yet somehow, as children can do, I didn't like my name.  Not so much the Rose part, but the Adele part.  I found it daunting that people had difficulty remembering, or even pronouncing my unusual name (which was not, in fact, pronounced A-dee-lee).  And since Rose was the name that generally got tacked to the end of Adele when I was in trouble ("Adele Rose, put down that book, and clean up your room!!"), it was lumped in there with my general name displeasure.

It was a very easy name to have fun with:  Adelaware punch; The farmer and Adele. The all-time classic (from a beloved Uncle):

Adele Rose sat on a bee, and Adele Rose.
(Spoiler Alert: I absolutely love this one. Now.)

What I longed for in those days was a simple name, like Cathy/Kathy or Lynn. These were the two names most well-represented in the 3rd grade at my elementary school.  So, it was at about that time (3rd grade) that I launched my campaign to change my name to Kathy Lynn.  My mother, always the agreeable sort, said "Of course, honey!  You can change your name to anything you'd like.  Just as soon as you turn 18."  (Well played, Mom.) 

As you have likely figured out, by my 18th birthday, I had grown into my name, and learned to appreciate its unique qualities.  Now, I'm proud of it.  Lately, I've even experienced feelings of possessiveness, when people learn my name and say "Oh, like the Adele.  The singer!"  Um... No...  I'm the Adele, thankyouverymuch.   

So, today, on my 51st birthday, having been adjusting to my name since the 3rd grade, I'd like to thank my parents for their forethought in not naming me Kathy/Cathy Lynn.  These are fine names, attached to some very wonderful people.  But they're not me.  I'm an Adele.  Adele Rose.  And I've learned to love my name as much as I love the people who gave it to me.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sierra Madre Independent Honda

This place is The Best.  Chris, the owner of Sierra Madre Independent Honda, is a great guy, and a sort of Honda Whisperer. If you are a Honda owner, Chris won't steer you wrong (pun intended), with his stellar service, and very reasonable prices. 

I once had an old, crumbling CRX with a problem that numerous mechanics couldn't seem to identify.  I thought it was curtains for my little car, but Chris figured it out in the first visit.  He once told me that, at 100K miles, the car had "lots of life" left in it.  He was right, and "Zippy" and I were able to safely drive back and forth to college in Fullerton for a few more years. 

I've had two more Hondas since Zippy, and would likely buy another if I were to get a new car, just so the new car could hang out with Chris, like its predecessors did.  Hondas like him.  If you don't believe me, look closely at the photo above.  I'm pretty sure that Accord brought Chris a cup of coffee, when it came in for its oil change. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jameson Home

This is the Jameson House, built in 1910.  According to this L.A. Times article, the historic Jameson property was subdivided into ten lots, in 1992.  The plan called for the 7,892 square foot Jameson house and "two other structures" to be preserved.  New houses were to be built on six lots, with one lot being reserved for open space.  These new homes, according to the article would comprise the newly-created Ida May Lane. 

Ida May Lane is a fairly unusual street name.  It was named for Mrs. Ida May Jameson, who was born in Canada in about 1863.  Her husband, Mr. James W. Jameson, was born in California in about 1860, and made his millions in oil in the area of Taft, in Kern County.  The couple did not have children, and seemed to have led a cosmopolitan life.  In December of 1928, they sailed to Hawaii on the "City of Honolulu" and passenger records indicate that they were on the ship with entertainer Al Jolson and "Ruby Jolson," (actress/dancer/singer Ruby Keeler), who Jolson had married earlier that same year.

Mr. Jameson passed away in 1934, at the age of 74.  According to a 1936 public directory, Mrs. Jameson went on to become the president of the J.W. Jameson Corporation.  In the late 1950's she set up the Jameson Trust, and died in 1963 at the age of 102. 

Interestingly, at about the time that the Jameson Trust was sub-dividing the Jameson's Sierra Madre property, there was an unpleasant situation going on in Taft, regarding 640 acres that Mr. Jameson purchased in 1910.  According to a 1991 article in the L.A. Times, he originally purchased the land so his workers could build houses for themselves.  By 1991, when the last beneficiary of the Trust had passed away, the trustees wanted to sell the land, and use the funds toward the Trust's many charities. 

Unfortunately the people living in the houses at the time, many of whom were descendants of the original Jameson employees, were threatened with eviction.  They owned the houses, but not the land, which they had been leasing at a very low $30-$50 per month (up from $3 per month in 1910).  According to this 1995 article, there seems to have been a happy ending.  When the land was sold, the new owner allowed the residents purchase their land for $7,000 to $13,000 per parcel. 

In 1930, the Jameson House in Sierra Madre was listed as being worth $35,000.  Currently, the house is for sale for a tad bit more: $3,890,000.00.  Click here to go to the listing, which has 35 pictures of this historic house and property.  You'll see that the home is worth every penny they're asking for (if you happen to have that many pennies).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Theme Day: At Water's Edge

Look at this guy, hanging around in Renaissance Plaza, right at the water's edge, and never quite getting to have a drink.  Must be something about being made of stone...  Hopefully, someday he'll reach his goal.  I think he looks optimistic.

City Daily Photo is a large and wonderful network of people who love their cities, and enjoy posting about them daily.  Now, thanks to the brilliant Julie and Peter, both from Australia, you may now visit the group's new website

Click here to view the creative ideas that the rest of the City Daily Photo bloggers have come up with for Theme Day.  Visit many, and visit often.  You won't be sorry!