Pasadena is located 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and is bordered by the San Gabriel Mountains to the North. Although Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, and the Rose Bowl, the city also boasts rich educational, artistic, architectural and cultural traditions that have historic significance far beyond the city borders.
Pasadena is made up of various neighborhoods including landmark districts such as Bungalow Heaven and the Historic Highlands. Prestigious neighborhoods such as Oak Knoll and Madison Heights have architecturally distinguished estate homes on winding, oak tree-shaded streets. Homes with variations on mid-century and contemporary architecture line the western side of the Arroyo Seco, as seen in the neighborhoods of Linda Vista, San Rafael and Annandale. They became part of the city about 30 years after Pasadena was founded and they continue to have a very rural atmosphere. The ranch style home is typical of many homes built in the outer areas of Chapman Woods, where large homes and mansions were constructed toward the center of this Pasadena neighborhood.
Pasadena was once occupied by the Hahamogna Tribe of Native Americans who subsisted on local game and vegetation. They lived in villages scattered along the Arroyo Seco and the canyons down to the South Pasadena area. With the arrival of the Spaniards and the establishment of the San Gabriel Mission on September 8, 1771, most of the Native Americans were converted and provided labor for the mission.
The San Gabriel Mission, the fourth in California, grew to be prosperous with abundant orchards, vineyards and herds. After the rule of California passed from Spain to Mexico, the Mexican government in 1833 secularized the mission lands and awarded them to individuals. The northeast corner of San Gabriel Mission, consisting of the 14,000 acres known as Rancho el Rincon de San Pascual, had previously been gifted in 1826 by the padres to Doña Eulalia Pérez de Guillen, noted for her advanced age as well as her devoted service to the mission. On February 18, 1835, it was formally granted by the Mexican government to her husband, Don Juan Mariné. He and his sons subsequently lost the land which has changed ownership a few more times since. In 1886 Pasadena incorporated, largely as a measure to rid the city of its saloon. In the ensuing decade, amenities such as sewers, paved streets, and electric street lighting were installed. On January 1, 1890, the Valley Hunt Club initiated a mid-winter festival with a procession of flower-bedecked horses and carriages.
This became a yearly tradition that in 1898 was formally sponsored by the Tournament of Roses Association. The cultural and educational side of the city was not neglected. The educational system expanded in both the public and private sector. Throop Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1891 and later became the California Institute of Technology. Pasadena had a Shakespeare Club and numerous civic and cultural organizations.
The city government was reorganized and in 1901 Pasadena became a charter city with an elected mayor. The area of the city increased through annexations, first of sections to the north and east, then in 1914 San Rafael Heights and Linda Vista, which had been physically linked to the city by the Colorado Street Bridge. The bridge designed in 1913 as a "work of art" and renovated in the early 90's to conform with seismic safety standards, symbolizes the commitment of Pasadena to integrate its rich cultural heritage with the challenges of the new millennium.
Notable architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Conrad Buff, Paul Williams and Myron Hunt designed homes in Pasadena, which became known for its fine architecture, particularly the Craftsman style, perfected by Greene and Greene. Craftsman-era neighborhoods are scattered throughout Pasadena, along with newer buildings by internationally known designers and architects.