Lined with elaborate mansions, Pasadena's South Orange Grove Avenue has been called Millionaire's Row. But it was little more than a dirt trail and the only house was still under construction in January, 1874, when the first settlers gathered near the intersection of Orange Grove and Walnut Street to divide up 1,500 of the 4,000 acres of San Pasqual Ranch they'd bought for $25,000. Incorporated as the San Gabriel Orange Grove Association, the pioneers had found exactly what they were seeking: a home far from bitter Midwestern winters. The trend they started developed into a real estate boom with the arrival of the railroads. Easterners who couldn't move permanently built elegant winter homes in Pasadena. Enterprising developers put up resort hotels. The Tournament of Roses began in 1890 as a celebration of the mild, sunny winters. The city called the "Crown of the Valley" became a gathering place for artists, architects, scientists and scholars.
At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the original settlement occupied about six square miles and had a population of less than 450. Incorporated 100 years ago, on June 19, 1886, the city now covers 23 square miles and is home to 128,526 people.
The name Pasadena is derived from the Chippewa Indian language and means "valley."
Fifty-one songs have been written about Pasadena. The most well-known, "The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)," ranked number three on national charts in 1964. Recorded by such artists as Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys, it has sold more than 5 million records.
Forty-six Pasadena houses designed by the renowned architect brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene are still standing. The most famous, The Gamble House, was built in 1908.
Sixty-five percent of the city's workers are white-collar.
Famous Pasadena residents have included Dr. Linus Pauling, General George Patton, Upton Sinclair and Jackie Robinson.
Six colleges and universities are located within the city.
Ambassador College has been named the best landscaped and maintained campus in the United States three times.
Twenty-one Nobel Prizes have been awarded to alumni and faculty of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The college's current enrollment is 1,553 men and 286 women. Twenty-seven percent of the last fall's freshmen were high school valedictorians.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is Pasadena's largest employer, with 5,500 workers. Operated by Caltech under NASA contract, JPL produced the nation's first satellite, Explorer 1, which was launched in 1958. Other projects have included the Viking mission to Mars and Voyager 2 to Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.
The Tournament of Roses Parade is seen by more television viewers--125 million worldwide--than is any other annual event; an estimated 1 million spectators watch in person. The individual floats cost as much as $175,000 and contain as many as 1 million flower petals.
In 1902, the first Tournament of Roses football game was played at Caltech (the University of Michigan defeated Stanford 49-0). The Rose Bowl was built in 1922; its seating capacity of 103,553 makes it the largest stadium in the nation.
In 1937, the Pasadena Playhouse was named the State Theater of California. It was shut down in 1969, but one of its three theaters, the Main Stage, reopened last April after a six-year process of restoration as a National Historic Landmark.
Comedians who launched their careers at Pasadena's Ice House include the Smothers Brothers, Pat Paulsen, Lily Tomlin and George Carlin.
Produced by Linden Gross. Research and text by Mary Allen Daily. Demographics reflect currently available figures.