Tuesday, July 3, 2012
“Carl and Ruth Curtis…raised oranges and Russian Wolfhounds on North Lincoln from 1906. West Altadena developed as a haven of small idyllic ranges…” Michele Zack, Altadena, Between Wilderness and City
Lincoln Avenue was born and christened Fair Oaks Avenue sometime at the tail end of the 1800's. A dirt road leading to a middle- and upper-class pastoral paradise in Altadena, an extension of Pasadena’s main drag.
Aside from the craftsman house and groves belonging to the Curtis family, the adjacent areas included other small farms and dairies. You could ride your horse or buggy up there. Alternately, you could take the urban railroad which tracked the road about a half a mile to the west. The train brought the rich to their villas, the hikers to their trails, and the middle-income workers in Pasadena and Los Angeles to their own little piece of heaven.
At some point, a street to the east joined with the Fair Oaks of Pasadena, and this became the New Fair Oaks. They eventually rechristened the original Fair Oaks, “Lincoln Avenue.”
From the early part of the last century and up until about the 40s, West Altadena remained primarily agricultural. Though not entirely. In 1919, the dawn of prohibition, Altadena followed its own path:
"Altadena had a strong historical connection with grape growing, wine production, and resisting temperance movements." Altadena, Between Wilderness and City
Where the Community Garden stands today at Lincoln and Palm, locals and others from far flung towns, including Hollywood types, ritzed it up at the Marcell Inn -- a high-end restaurant that served fine food and hooch. Wow, we had a place for dining and dancing. Who’d have thought?
If you amble south on Lincoln, from Altadena Drive to the sign that says West Altadena Business District, little of paradise remains. [More on Patch]