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Friday, December 30, 2011

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

A New Year’s tradition that many Californians look forward to each year is the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Since 1890 the parade has drawn the attention of the state with its beautiful and often astonishing use of flowers to adorn floats whose themes range from the civic pride of local Southern California cities to the celebration of national historic figures such as the Tuskegee Airmen. 

Back on New Year’s Day in 1893, Hamlin Garland, a fresh visitor to Southern California, first witnessed the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. He recorded his observations of Southern California in a notebook which is today part of the University of Southern California Library’s collections. Garland’s account begins with an ominous tone, “The sun shone but the shadows were cold,” and continues with a recounting of the trampling of a young boy by horses participating in the Tournament’s races. Today’s Tournament of Roses can hardly be considered as rustic or dangerous as the Tournament of 1893, and instead observers can view the parade from much coveted seats along the sidelines of the parade’s route or from the safety of their homes as the parade is broadcast live on television.

Garland’s observations are represented in facsimile in one of a series of keepsakes designed and printed by San Francisco printer Lawton Kennedy, which featured various treasures found in California library collections and were given as mementos to members of the Book Club of California.  This among many other examples of Lawton Kennedy’s work can be found in the California Historical Society’s Kemble collection of printing ephemera. 

A Happy and Safe New Year’s to All! 

Jaime Michele Henderson, Project Archivist 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Palo Alto Walking Tour and Tea

Thursday, December 15, Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17, and Sunday, December 18 from 11:30a.m – 2:30p.m. each day.

Palo Alto Walking Tour and Tea

$75 Member, $95 Non-Member

Palo Alto was founded by Timothy Hopkins as "University Park" in 1890 to serve as the village for the professors and students of the new Leland Stanford Jr. University. Taking a grain field across the railroad tracks from the new 8,000-acre campus, Hopkins laid out the village naming the streets for Western literary lights such as Emerson and Kipling. The village became the very first in California to have its own water, gas and telephone utilities, and the first little theatre company in the US. On this walk we will see the very special and compact downtown core of Palo Alto, with many wonderful styles of architecture. Ramona Street is the most architecturally-harmonious street in the Bay Area, and will take you back to the 1920's era with a "street of Spain". And, at the conclusion of our walkabout on Ramona Street, we will have full English afternoon tea at the Tea Time, to help celebrate our Holiday Season. Walk is easy and the venue flat. Walking tour is led by local historian Gary Holloway. RSVP required, please contact or 415.357.1848, ext. 229.