You've probably heard about Busch Gardens. There's a Busch Gardens theme park in St. Louis (Grant's Farm), one in Williamsburg and one in Tampa Bay. There was even at one time a Busch Gardens in Van Nuys, California. But the original Busch Gardens was here in Pasadena. It wasn't a theme park. There were no rides. It was simply a magnificent garden. And yes, that's past tense.
You can click on Google's map and see where the 38-acre park was located. Generally, the grounds were bordered by Orange Grove Blvd. on the east, the Arroyo Seco on the west, Bellefontaine St. on the north (or just above it), and Madeline Drive on the south. Or thereabouts. It wasn't a square.
Originally the back yard of Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame (he was married to Lilly Anheuser and later bought a share in his father-in-law's brewery), Busch Gardens was opened to the public soon after completion in 1905 and it attracted as many as a million visitors a year until it closed in 1938.
Although most of the gardens have been subdivided into residential tracts, traces of garden decor remain. Most are on private property though some are visible from the street. And this is no middle class, suburban neighborhood. Adolphus and his cronies had 38-acre yards and I guess now most people don't, but folks in that part of town still have an acre or two for their mansion. It's exclusive and oh, so heady.
The trace above is on the other side of an iron fence alongside Madeline Drive west of Stoneridge. I recommend you enlarge the photo to get the idea. (I had to stick my camera through the fence to get the picture--a small camera comes in handy.)
Wouldn't you love to have something like this in your yard? I don't even know what to call it. I'd like to have a folly of some sort--maybe a column, or a piece of iron scrollwork--but this thing is so huge it would look pretentious in my yard. It looked right at home in the expansive yard it occupied.
Scroll down to Saturday's post (5/23) for more details about the Busch Gardens tour.