Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hippity Hoppity

~~ A basket of fun, in the window at Leonora Moss ~~
All I really need is love, but a little
chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.

Whatever Easter is to you, I hope you get to celebrate (or not) in the way that pleases you the most.  (I'm hoping that there is a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg in my immediate future...)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dinner at Casa

Weekend nights are a great time to be at Casa Del Rey.  Any night is good, really, but weekends have that extra celebratory feeling that comes with having a day or two off from work. 

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Of Pig and Piglet

“I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh.
"I wish I were there to be doing it, too.” 
~~ A.A. Milne, "Winnie the Pooh"
This home was once on the Completely Informal Underground Tour of Sierra Madre, as the home of Neil the Pig.  Neil was a very popular character with kids and adults alike, all of whom loved to stop by and feed him snacks.  Finally, his doctor advised that a note be put on the fence, with sanctioned snacks (e.g., veggies), that Neil was allowed to eat.  Whatever it was one offered (before or after the junk-food was cut off), Neil walked right up to that fence and enjoyed it! 
I've walked past this house several times recently and while Neil's belongings are still in the yard, I'm not sure whether he's still there.  I read online that pigs only live for about 10 years, but feel free to correct me (although, I believe that everything you see on the internet is true...).  So he may be inside his little Pig Domicile (which looks very much like a dog house, but obviously can't be called that), sleeping away his golden years.  Whatever the case, Neil has sure made a lot of people smile.  I miss seeing him.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Secret Door

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

~~ Helen Keller

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

W.S. Andrews, Entrepreneur

~~ Haynes & Oakley, Architects.  Former site of W.S. Andrews & Co. Grocery ~~

According to census records, as well as "Annals of Early Sierra Madre," Walter S. Andrews was born in 1851 in Massachusetts.  Walter was one of eleven children, Ifd the Andrews family later moved to Connecticut.  In 1875, Walter married Miss Frances (Fanny) Bates, and the couple had four boys; however, two of the boys died young, and only Burton and Raymond lived to adulthood. 

In 1882, due to Mr. Andrews' ill health, the young family left Connecticut.  They came to California, and ultimately bought a 20-acre plot of land near what is now Sierra Madre Boulevard and Michillinda Avenue, and built a family home right near the corner.

In 1886 W.S. Andrews and his brother opened the Andrews & Co. Grocery, one of the first two grocery stores in town. (The first grocery store was Mr. Robinson's house/store, which still stands at 65 N. Baldwin.) Andrews later sold the grocery to Stephen R. Norris, keeping the packing house that was located at the rear of the property.  In 1907, when the Pacific Electric came to Sierra Madre, Mr. Andrews arranged for a spur line to his packing house. 

Over the years, Mr. Andrews, along with his brothers, his cousin, and several friends/business associates, had many business interests.  These included the grocery store and packing house, a hardware store, ranching, real estate, and insurance.  Mr. Andrews died in 1937, at the age of 86.  At the time of the 1940 census, son Raymond and his family still lived in the original family home.  From what I can see, this address is now part of a large condo complex, constructed in 1963.

While not the original Andrews Grocery building, there was a grocery store called Crystal Farms on this corner when I first moved to Sierra Madre, in 1989.  In 1976, Roess Market was in this location.  The building now houses the offices of Haynes & Oakley, an architecture firm.

Update:  Click here, for an 1887 photo of the original grocery store. 

Additional Sources: (1) Sierra Madre Vistas, 1976, Sierra Madre Historical Society; (2) Michele Zak, Southern California Story: Seeking the Better Life in Sierra Madre

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


There was a time when farming, including citrus, was big business in Sierra Madre and the surrounding area, and provided a living for many local families.  Here in town, this included the Pegler ranch, the Hawks ranch and packing house, and (even to the present day) the Ward ranch.  Now, with the exception of the Ward ranch, orange trees are not so much a business in our city.  More like a really nice luxury item that many of us are lucky enough to have in our yards.  I very much enjoyed the wonderful scent of these orange blossoms as I stood under an orange tree taking several photos, in an attempt to capture these pretty blossoms.  Then, I came inside and sneezed for several minutes.  Ahhh (choo) - the things we bloggers will do for just the right shot!

Monday, March 25, 2013


"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today." squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day." said Pooh

Well, although "today" is often my favorite day, this particular "today" happens to be a Monday, which tends to fall somewhere below the top on my Favorite Days of the Week list. 

This photo reminds me of a typical beginning-of-the-work-week.  There's stuff to look forward to, yet it's slightly out of focus.  BUT, if you look closely, you'll see something with loads of possibility, that you may be able to turn into something beautiful, with just a bit of hard work. 

Hope you all have a week that is, if not perfect, then at least filled with potential.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feathered Nests

I realized that if I had to choose,
I would rather have birds than airplanes.
~~ Charles Lindbergh

I've really been noticing a lot of birds singing, tweeting, and chirping this past week.  It must be spring.  Or maybe they're discussing directions to these cute little houses?

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Earlier this week, I happened by the old skilled nursing facility on Sierra Madre Boulevard, which has been shuttered for many years, and saw that demolition had begun.  I know this photo is a long way from pretty, but I find something intriguing about all the history that is in a building that gets demolished.

In place of the old facility will be a brand new assisted living residence called the Kensington Sierra Madre.  The project, which is just across the street from City Hall and Memorial Park (click on the Memorial Park link, for something a bit more scenic), will be such a nice place for seniors.  I hope to live there myself, someday.  Not just yet, of course, but in a future that is probably a lot closer than it seems... 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blogging While Hungry

Going through my archives, this photo from last Mothers' Day popped out at me.  These are the homemade scones that can be had at the Four Seasons Tea Room, if only one is smart enough to make a reservation.  And believe me, it is worth your time to make the reservation, head up to Sierra Madre, drink some tea (many flavors available), and get at least one of these scones.  Owner Rosa and her team will even make them to go, but I haven't done that yet.  Too dangerous.  Besides, I like to enjoy them there, in the beautiful, peaceful atmosphere of the Tea Room.  Take my advice.  Go to Four Seasons.  Get some scones.  You won't be sorry.  (Also, I was just thinking, Bon Appe-tea, but that's too corny, so I won't say it.)  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lockart House

Today, I discovered that three families I've already written about, and now another, were all related.  I had a lot of fun writing this post.  This home is known as the Lockhart House, and also the Lockart House.  However, census records list the family name as Lockart.  So here's what I found... 

Adeline Louisa ("Adda") Lockart arrived in Sierra Madre in 1884, with her aunt, Mrs. John J. Hart.  Subsequently, Adda's younger brother David arrived in Sierra Madre, and the brother and sister built this home in 1885, for their widowed mother Mary Ann Mannerling Lockart. 

Many of our town's early settlers boarded with Mrs. Lockart while building their own houses, including the men who worked on The Pinney Hotel in 1887. Miss Adda Lockhart married Mr. Stephen Rendell Norris, and the couple had two children.  David and Adda's older sister, Katherine ("Kate"), was married to Mr. Almarin Decker, and the couple's home was next door to Mrs. Lockart's home. 

David Lockart worked with Mr. Decker on the Mt. Lowe Incline Railway.  Following Mr. Decker's death, Kate Lockart Decker and her daughter Marian returned to this home to live with Kate's mother, Mrs. Lockart.  At a later tme, Marian lived with her aunt and uncle, the Norrises.  Marian Decker Shaw passed away in 1981, at the age of 93, and she is buried in the Sierra Madre Cemetery.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring has Sprung

Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their
fool heads off, and the ground all mucked up with plants.
...and ain't it grand????


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's Happening?

The bulletin board at our local Starbucks always has interesting things to tell us. 
First, a word that you don't usually see on the bulletin board is BEWARE.  It turns out that a couple of mountain lions have killed some small pets in the canyon, and have been spotted as far south as Sierra Madre Boulevard.  Residents are urged to call 911 if they should see this pair.  So sad that they are having to come down this far, looking for food. 
On a cheerier note, one thing on the board that I'm really excited about is a fundraiser at the Pasadena Whole Foods.  This April 3rd benefit is for the San Gabriel Humane Society, and 5% of the store's net sales will go to the shelter. This shelter is near and dear to my heart, as they were our little Spencer's custodians for almost a whole year.  He came to us happy, healthy, and very well-adjusted.  Truly some of the kindest people around.  So, shop healthy on the 3rd!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cactus Garden

This garden is a favorite sight of mine, when I'm out walking.  I love how it looks different at different times of the year.   

 "I bought a cactus.  A week later it died.  And I got depressed because I thought, Damn.  I am less nurturing than a desert."
~~ Demetri Martin
(p.s.  This has happened to me...)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Former Town Hall

I'd say this is about the most scenic gas station around.  If you get the island at the west end of the property, you can fill up your tank, see what's happening in town, and enjoy the view of the mountains. 

But until 1937, this was the location of the Town Hall which, in the 1890's, was the only building at the intersection of Baldwin and Central (now Sierra Madre Boulevard) and where the whole town gathered at one time or another. 

While not actually a public building, the Town Hall shared its space, particularly the second floor hall, with many public activities.  At various times, the building hosted Episcopalian and Congregational church bazaars, Woman's Club meetings (before they built their own building), political rallies, and Dramatic Club productions.  The first floor of the Town Hall housed stores and, for a time, the Post Office.

Now, though, the land houses gas pumps which are, in a lot of ways, a place where the whole town gathers, at one time or another.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The 1991 Sierra Madre Earthquake

This Spanish Colonial Revival home, built in 1927, was damaged in the June 28, 1991, Sierra Madre Earthquake, and was subsequently completely restored.  The 5.8 quake, which made our little town famous for awhile, did a great amount of damage in Sierra Madre and surrounding cities.  I was in an elevator in Pasadena when it struck.  There's an event I hope never to repeat.  Were you in the area during this earthquake?

Friday, March 15, 2013

On the Run

The Mt. Wilson Trail Race is coming up on May 25th.  The second-oldest race of its kind in the country, the first Mt. Wilson Trail Race was run in 1908.  Registration for this year's race opened up on March 4th, with space available for 300 runners.  Then, registration closed in about 2.5 hours.  Sold Out!!!  Now that's a popular race. 

For those of you who, like me, would like to participate in a slightly more sedentary way, there is plenty of space up and down Baldwin to watch the runners on their way up to the trail.  Similar spaces are available for watching the runners come back down.  Something for everyone - try not to miss it!   

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bicycle Moment

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking

~~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lovely Things

~~ A beautiful afternoon at the Memorial Park playground ~~

The most effective kind of education is that a child
should play amongst lovely things.
~~ Plato

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sierra Briganti

Sierra Madre's newest restaurant is Sierra Briganti, which is a second location for the very-popular Briganti Restaurant in South Pasadena.  I haven't tried either Briganti location (yet!), but if the rave reviews that I constantly hear are any indication, we here in Sierra Madre are in for a taste delight!   Located in the front showroom area of a long-ago Ford Dealership, the restaurant serves up Italian food and has a minimal corkage fee.  Can't go wrong, there!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Toilet Paper!

Well, I'm no detective, but it looks like what has happened here is the good, old-fashioned American tradition known as Having One's Home Toilet Papered, or TP'd. 

This particular event was the result of an 11-year-old's birthday/slumber party.  In an interesting twist, when the girls came back from TP'ing another friend's house (where a brother was kind enough to jump out of the bushes at them - classic!), they were greeted with this display at their own home. 

I spent many happy hours of my youth partaking in this particular activity, and my house spent many happy hours being TP'd as well.  It's a fun rite of passage, that I'm glad I was able to enjoy, and am pleased to see that it still happens, at least now and again.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mr. Carter

Nathaniel C. Carter, founder of Sierra Madre, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Always an entrepreneur, he began his career selling groceries, and as an agent for sewing machines.  Later, he was in the business of manufacturing ready-made clothes and United States flags.  In 1866, Mr. Carter manufactured the first flag made by machinery, for the U.S. Government. 

In 1864, Nathaniel C. Carter married Annetta M. Pierce, who was also a native of Lowell.  The couple had five children: Florence, Arthur, Julia, Anita, and Philip. (Anita, who was the first girl born in Sierra Madre, ultimately married Holt Gregory, who was the first boy born in Sierra Madre.  Julia married Thomas Henszey, another local boy.)

In 1870, due to his poor health, Mr. Carter came to California, in search of a milder climate.  On that trip, he also visited different parts of the country, and then returned to the East.  In 1872, he returned to California, purchased a portion of a ranch near San Gabriel, and lived there in an adobe house.  The Carters' third child was born in this house.  In 1874, Mr. Carter organized "Carter Excursions," which brought groups of people by train to California from all over the East. 

In 1881, Carter bought 845 acres of the Santa Anita Ranch from Lucky Baldwin, along with 150 acres from John R. Richardson, and another 108 acres from the Southern Pacific Railroad.  After subdividing and re-selling much of this property, the tract was named Sierra Madre.  Mr. Carter's own home, "Carterhia," was built high at the top of Baldwin Avenue.

Among many other contributions to the growth of the young town, Mr. Carter was one of the original incorporators of both the Sierra Madre Water Company and the Sierra Madre Library Association.

Nathaniel C. Carter passed away in September of 1904, at the age of 64. 

Source: Annals of Early Sierra Madre

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just Because

I really don't know much about this house, but just wanted to share it with you because I like it so much.  I do know is that it was built in 1925.  Also, I found some census info on the house's residents in 1940 - an 83 year-old widow named Anne Wharton, who lived there with her two adult daughters Florence (56) and Minnie (51).  The family was originally from Missouri, but had lived in Signal Hill, CA in 1935.  Mrs. Wharton also had three sons, all of whom lived with the three Wharton ladies in 1900, in Los Angeles.  Interesting for that time, the 1900 census listed all five of Mrs. Wharton's children as being "at college."


Friday, March 8, 2013

Ben Knows His Stuff

Beer is proof that God loves us
and wants us to be happy.
~~ Benjamin Franklin


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Former Home of the Roberts Family

Harold Roberts, originally from Kansas City, came to Sierra Madre in 1928, and opened a produce store at the corner of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Baldwin Avenue.  The store, Roberts Market (photo courtesy Sierra Madre, "Home of the Green Frog" began a long tradition for that corner.  To this day, the store sells fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and other essentials, as Taylor's Meat & Produce.  FYI, while the fate of Taylor's remains in the balance, they continue to do a booming business, and Fresh and Easy (mentioned in the link) has stopped all plans for development on that corner.  According to info I found on the interwebs, members of the Roberts family continued to own the land as late as 2006 (possibly to this day, but I couldn't confirm that...).

So, when the Roberts family arrived in 1928, someone else had begun construction of this beautiful house.  Unfortunately, the original owner was not able to keep the house, and Mr. Roberts purchased it in 1930.  According to the 1940 census, Mr. Roberts, his wife Lelia, and daughters Roberta and Marcel lived in the home.  Mr. Roberts reported that he worked 72 hours during the week prior to the census, and had worked 52 weeks in 1939.  That's the way to be successful!  Some of the hard work paid off, though, because passenger lists of the "Lurline" show that Mr. and Mrs. Robert enjoyed a cruise to Hawaii when they were in their 50's.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mystery at the Playhouse

The Playhouse's House Manager, Tim Orona, poses with the Mystery Lady
First, I saw Sierra Madre Playhouse's Driving Miss Daisy on Sunday.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was beyond wonderful.  The theater was sold out, and the acting was superb.  The run has been extended through March 30, so please do go and see it if you're able.

Second, I saw a painting in the lobby that I've never noticed before.  I asked someone who it was, and they said they didn't know, but that maybe Tim Orona, the House Manager, would be able to tell me.  I sought him out, and he told me that he has asked a lot of people, and no one seems to know who she is.  A Mystery Woman.   How cool is that?  If you know who she is, I'd love to know! Many thanks to Tim for taking the time out to speak with me, and for posing with Mystery Woman, in the middle of such a busy afternoon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Best Tulips in Town

These flowers were standing proudly in front of the sign in the Only Place in Town's parking lot this last weekend.  Spring is coming.  Soon! 

Also, I recently discovered a yummy dish at Only Place: The Fiji Stir Fry.  Try it out sometime when you're there.  It's two meals worth, and every bite is a treat.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Bonus

When stopping by our town's Little Free Library, you might be extra lucky, and get to pat this little gentleman named Tux.  He came up, got a little pet, and headed back to the safety of his yard.  Classy kitty, and clever too, that Tux...

Sunday, March 3, 2013


~~ Elephant Tablecloth at Sierra Madre Thai ~~
I have a memory like an elephant. 
In fact, elephants often consult me.
~~ Noel Coward


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today is the 109th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, or, as we all know him, Dr. Seuss, born in 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts.  In honor of this special day, the Sierra Madre Public Library will be hosting a birthday party/story-time event today, at 3:00.  Party-goers will be able to make birthday party hats and paper birthday cake crafts, while listening to some of the good Doctor's best stories.

The more that you read,
the more things that you'll know.
The more you learn,
the more places you'll go!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cafe Chairs

~~ A rare unoccupied moment for this table and its accompanying chairs, at Bean Town. ~~

Each month, the members of the City Daily Photo Community participate in a Theme Day.  For March, the theme chosen by our members was "Cafe Chairs."  I immediately loved the theme, but I grew concerned that I might head out on my photo safari, only to find all the chair seats being occupied by other seats.  But then, yesterday afternoon, I found this (one and only!) unoccupied table and chairs at Bean Town.  I had to be quick, though.  Empty chairs at Bean Town are about as rare as a visit from Halley's Comet.  I'm not expecting a phenomenon like this for another 75 years or so.  (But their Chai Lattes are worth it - no matter the wait!) 

For more "Cafe Chairs" from around the world, please visit the City Daily Photo Theme Day Page.