Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Walking Lincoln Avenue (and what once was)


“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?

Times change.

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]

19 comments:

  1. "Unlabeled services."

    Indeed!

    Karin, have you seen the book, Golden Dreams-- California in the an Age of Abundance 1950 -- 1963? It's been on my shelf for a while waiting for me...looks like a very good history of what once was.

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  2. Thanks for the history and the tour. You make such sense, yet the comments are still entrenched in big box Wal-Mart hatred. It's as though they've been brainwashed. Reminds me of the entrenched views of the greyhound folks, and those against health care. And anyway, it's none of their business to try to stop this store opening.

    I once asked a neighborhood vegetable coop to stop selling Israeli produce after a massacre by Israeli troops in a Palestinian refugee camp. Their answer was that if they stopped stocking all the things people had a cause about, there wouldn't be much to sell. Fair point.

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  3. Kenny Mac, it's on my list now.

    Bellis, yes, healthy discussion is good. But the personal attacks, those directed and intentionally misunderstanding Angela's cogent comments -- well, that disturbs me.

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  4. no Wal Marts in NYC! Even the city council is thumbs down, and they are typically bought and sold...

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  5. Don't shop at Walmart--because I don't have to. It's a luxury not to.

    But they fill a need for inexpensive goods. And I'm sure they've done their homework and there is sufficient demand for the store in Altadena.

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  6. i love the history of little towns; they are the story of real people. There's a map of my town in the 1890s on the general store in town (that's not to be confused with the deli, our other commercial enterprise), and I just love to stand there and study it. There is so much to "what once was!"

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  7. No wonder you keep trying to grow things ~ it's in the air there.

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  8. It's always interesting to go on your neighborhood tours, especially the peeks into the past. It would be fun to time travel back to take a walk along Fair Oaks Avenue for a few hours.

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  9. I don't have a dog in this fight, except that we all have a dog in this fight. I thought I liked your last sentence or two on Patch, then remembered that the people of Detroit kept re-electing Kwame Kilpatrick as mayor. More than a few dozen Americans put together than field of un-American oddities seeking the Republican nomination. But I don't know if that contradicts your conclusion. In a democracy, I suppose we have to free people to be stupid and to be bought off. Maybe I'll toss my TV after all.

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  10. Being economically "decent" is harder then one might think. Angela Oduom, with her ability to connect the dots is very impressive. And a reminder....

    I recall feeling rather swell about myself for donating clothing goods to thrift stores. That is until I discovered that those clothes that didn't sell were bundled up and shipped to Africa - the result? although providing small business opportunities for locals - this influx of western clothing shut down the factories that created native cloth. Cloth whose designs were a part of the cultural fabric of a community. Pull one string and there goes the sweater.

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  11. Someone told me (maybe it was you?) that the area where I live used to be a vineyard. Idyllic indeed.

    I'm not sure what to think of the Walmart invasion. Well, oops, that choice of word gives a glimpse into my thinking. Shame it's not the Arroyo Food Co-op moving into that space instead.

    You certainly hit a nerve over on Patch.

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  12. It's a complicated issue, and it seems impossible to know it from every angle. It's good that people are discussing it, though, today of all days, and having their say. The Wal-Mart store will probably land in Altadena. People will vote with their pocketbooks. We shall see.

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  13. Yeah, that's the only thing I know: It's complicated. I think the conversation on Patch is leaving no complication unturned. It's a 360 degree look at the issue, and everyone has a dog in the fight. Hmm, I hate that phrase, think I'll switch to another cliche -- everyone has skin in the game.

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  14. This dog has a couple of tough humans in this fight - bitches. Just as long as they stay outta Pasadena.

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  15. Slow whistle escape between the front teeth. I'll be back to read all the comments, but I might be fibbing about that.

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  16. 90 plus comments! Wow. You do get people talking.

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  17. Yeah, the comments were cool -- all except the one that called me "condescending."

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  18. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot....
    I prefer the old!

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