Thursday, April 5, 2012

Door, 5

You'll find this doorway on/in Electric Drive/Alley, just north of Holly Street in Old Town/Old Pasadena. I took the photo a while ago so it might have been painted since then, but Google maps has it looking the same.

Electric Alley was named for the Pacific Electric Railway Company. "The now-vanished Pacific Alley intersected Electric Alley at mid-block," says the historical marker. "Owned by Henry E. Huntington, the Pacific Electric System was the largest electric railway in the world, covering southern California with over 1,100 miles of track. By 1906, Pasadena was served by three interurban routes of the Pacific Electric."

The building just north of this door looks like a private home. It might well be and if it is, its location is unique, to say the least.

A couple of commenters have emailed to tell me the proper term for Old Town is Old Pasadena. It certainly is the proper term, but until I got those emails I had never heard the area referred to that way in day-to-day conversation. What do you think? Long-time Pasadena residents know this one better than I do. Set me straight, will ya? What do locals really say? I mean really?

21 comments:

Susan Campisi said...

There's an Electric Alley in Old Town? Right in the area where I have lunch a couple of times a week? I need to open my eyes and explore.

I hope the long-time Pasadena residents say "Old Town" is acceptable as that's what I've always heard and said, too.

christa said...

I have never once heard anyone refer to it as "Old Pasadena," only "Old Town." Granted, we've only been here 3 years, but still!

Steven said...

That is very interesting. My grandfather's older brother worked for the Pacific Electric Railway Co. for over 25 years as an engineer. It was also known as the Red Car System.

John Sandel said...

ROTHKO STUDIOS.
Sorry, We're Out.


For a Long Time

Petrea Burchard said...

Old Town/Pasadena's alley's always surprise me, Susan. Find this one. It's really cool.

Hello, Christa--yeah, I've been here 6 1/2 years and that doesn't make me a long-time resident yet. I'm trying to become an authority, though!

Steven if you're interested, Google "red car system pasadena" and you will find a whole lot more. I had no idea.

Here's what John is talking about: http://bit.ly/HoNr8Y

Katie said...

I like the sound of Electric Alley! I though of Rothko too when I saw this. Maybe they were being somewhat artistic to cover up what looks like graffiti underneath the paint. I don't live in Pasadena so I can't speak to the "correct" way to refer to this part of town, but to me Old Town sounds like a cool place and Old Pasadena sounds like a reference to times gone by.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I posted your question on the Pasadena Old School page. Lets see if anyone has the answer

btw: my grand uncle Grover was a red car conductor - Altadena Hiker has one of his chairs

altadenahiker said...

I love this door. And I love my chair.

Petrea Burchard said...

Interesting point, Katie, from one who doesn't live here and therefore one who doesn't have a pre-set notion about it. We might be marketing to you!

PA, I didn't know there was such a page. I hope to get a consensus from Old Schoolers. And this about the chairs? I must know more. I will demand a viewing of this chair.

Trish said...

ok, let's see if blogger allows me to leave this comment...



I've written here before that when I was a teen and had to transfer bus at FO/Colorado, I was keenly on alert, didn't make eye contact and didn't talk with anyone.
It was..."the bad section of town".

For the last 20-25 years, "that section" of town has grown exponentially. So much so that the last time I was in town, if I could have found parking, I would have pulled over and marvelled at the hustle-bustle!

Of course, that meant no Ernie Jr's or Gallo Winery store or boarded up old furniture stores either.

Thanks to the Census system, I can prove parts of my family have lived in Pasadena or nearby since at least 1920 and we believe some have lived there longer.

It was "Old Pasadena" for as long as I can remember, or for that matter, that I can recall any family member calling it.

I can tell you that only when the revitalization began, did the confusion about what to call "that section" of town, begin.

Some started to call it "Old Pasadena Town", then some would call it "Old Town" and some even "Old Town Pasadena", as if one would confuse any other local town as having an Old Town section (the rest of the towns are pretty small, you're either IN town, or out of it IMHO).

Ironically, Pasadena is a city, not a town.

But the name sticks.

I suspect it is y'all newbies coming to town and messin' with our traditions! ;-P

Interestingly, if you look at the non-profit group directing the area with: oldpasadena.org you'll find out more than I could ever tell you. ;-)

As to the Electric Alley---this is what, a block+ to the East is the old train line. A block+ West and you've got the Parson's building...which I believe, used to be a power station before the power station across from Gerlach's was upgraded.

Yes, you can call me old, I guess. I certainly feel it---a few weeks ago my niece had a baby boy, so I'm a grand-aunt...for which I feel I am MUCH too young to be called.

Lemme go grab my cane...I'm feeling I need it about now!

Trish said...

woot! it worked!

Petrea Burchard said...

Woot! It worked! Blogger made some changes and with the upgrade, perhaps I can stop complaining.

Except I have one reader who still can't comment, so I don't know. She's a Pasadena native, who says basically the opposite--that for as long as she can remember it's been called "Old Town."

Oh well. Perhaps we won't be solving this today. I wonder if it depends on what part of town you come from.

TheChieftess said...

WooHoo!!! We can get responses again!!! You go girl!!!

As for "Old Town" vs "Old Pasadena"...I grew up in Glendale right next door and went to "Old Town" when it was thrift stores and pawn shops...never heard it referred to as "Old Pasadena"...

"Old Pasadena" always referred to the old established and relatively wealthy residential neighborhoods...

Petrea Burchard said...

All I did was update when they offered it. I've been waiting for this since October! (I should have threatened to move much sooner.)

Trish said...

Old Money Pasadena was in the Linda Vista/San Rafael area...because the residents tended to be folks who had grown up either there, or moved in with old money. Now, that has changed significantly. Last trip, I went past a few houses I know in LV and was amazed at the yuppie like changes. Then again, I am *still* shocked when I drive up LV Rd and *don't* see Jurgenson's at the corner of LV and Salvia Canyon even though those homes were built ~30 years ago.

Old Town...like I said, I didn't hear it used, except by the redevelopment type folks or newbies.

Then again, my mother used to say tomahhhtoes, even though she lived most of her life in CA and should have pronounced it toemaytoes.

Yippie on the commenting. I was beginning to think blogger just hated me...or was being used as a way to get me to accomplish more and ignore the internet! ;-)

Trish said...

tho...trying to leave that last comment, I had to try to leave it twice before it "let" me log in to this Google Account and finally leave the comment.

not perfect, but it is improving over not allowing me to comment anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with Old Town v. Old Pasadena may be that those who were here for many years - my mother's family since 1922 - that was just downtown Pasadena. Some of it the part where no one went if they could help it. (Never remember hearing Skid Row, but that was the implication.)

My grandparents' home near Allen and East Orange Grove was considered to be on the east side of Pasadena. (The blocks around our home, a little bit south of there, were still lemon groves when the property was subdivided in the late 1930s.) The city kept moving east until an area was designated East Pasadena - it is somewhat east of where our family's homes are located.

Anonymous said...

Some interesting material on Old Pasadena (now the historical name)/Old Town:

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/therose/ci_4881343

Ms M said...

This door reminds me of a Rothko painting....

Petrea Burchard said...

That's so funny, Anonymous, I use that link and refer to Janette Williams' article all the time. She wrote it 6 years ago! I'm glad it's still online and hope it stays there.

Well, I didn't expect we'd solve anything here but it's fun to talk about. I think what I'll do on the blog is call it Old Town Pasadena in an attempt to accommodate everyone. I'm certainly not the authority.

Ms. M, you and John think alike on this one.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Love the door. As for Old Town vs. Old Pasadena, it is officially Old Pasadena.