October 6, 2022, 10:51 pm

Rick Thomas

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Author Rick Thomas is the former museum curator and vice-chair of education for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation. He served on the South Pasadena Natural Resources Commission, helping to maintain a strict policy protecting the city’s great old-growth trees. Using touchstone photographs from his own collection—one of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest accumulations of historical images and artifacts—as well as national, state, and local historical archives, Thomas provides a window to his city’s past and an understanding of why its preservation is so important.

Throwback Thursday | South Pasadena’s Beloved Rialto Theater

The once thriving Blockbuster Video is today a Blaze Pizza and its kitty-corner neighbor – the city’s historic centerpiece Rialto Theater – is now occupied by the Mosaic Church. South Pasadena resides in the...

Throwback Thursday | The Solar Motor

The Cawston Ostrich Farm was the site of the world’s first successful experiment using a solar-powered motor for commercial use. Aubrey Eneas selected Cawston’s Ostrich farm in sunny South Pasadena to showcase his monstrous,...

Throwback Thursday | Will You Be My Valentine?

Tourists visiting the Cawston Ostrich Farm in South Pasadena enjoyed posing for photos with “ostrich couples” such as the popular comic strip characters, Jiggs and Maggie. To honor past presidents and first ladies, Edwin Cawston...

Throwback Thursday | South Pasadena’s World-Famous Ostrich Farm

Edwin Cawston, English adventurer and world traveler, was one of the first to realize there was big money to be made ostrich farming in America. He established an ostrich breeding farm in Norwalk in...

Throwback Thursday | Feathers of Stage and Screen

In 1927 the Franchon & Marco’s vaudeville show featuring the Sunkist Beauties performed at the Rialto theater in South Pasadena. The ostrich farm in town supplied the ostrich feather plumes for the dance troop’s...

Throwback Thursday | First Passenger Air Service in America

In 1913, Roy Knabenshue began the first passenger air service in America by taking paying customers of the Raymond Hotel in South Pasadena in his dirigible on a flight 800 feet in the air...

Throwback Thursday | Winter Paradise

The discovery of gold and later “black gold” (oil) drew large numbers prospectors and opportunity seekers to California. Locally, ranching and agriculture helped the economy grow during the late 1800s. The San Gabriel Valley soon...

Throwback Thursday | California Bound

In 1900, stories about the west were published and first-hand accounts were reported back to residents on the east coast, causing many to leave the safety of their homes for California. In the satirical...

Throwback Thursday | New Year’s Day 1892

On Tournament of Roses Day in South Pasadena, 1892, guests are seated in Thaddeus Lowe’s personal tallyho at the grand entrance of the Royal Raymond. The rose-laden tallyho is about to depart for a...

Throwback Thursday | Rose Bowl Edition

The first New Year’s Day football classic at the Rose Bowl was played in 1923. The Tournament selected the teams that year, Penn State and USC. The Hugo Bezdek-coached Penn State team arrived late...
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