Many people thought Edwin Cawston was crazy when he traveled halfway around the world to acquire ostriches from South Africa to start a feather fashion business on the banks of the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena. Furthermore, Cawston opened his ostrich farm to the public to take advantage of the tourist trade. One problem: the first major resort hotel in San Gabriel Valley – The Raymond in South Pasadena – burned to the ground.
Cawston opened his ostrich farm anyway in 1896 and proved his critics wrong.
One New York paper described his ostrich farm as “One of the strangest sights in America.” With press like that, the risky business venture was about to pay off. In no time at all the Cawston Ostrich Farm in South Pasadena was a thriving mail-order business, chain of company-owned stores, and one of California’s most popular tourist attractions.
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Images of Cawston Ostrich Farm at the Original Entrance
The following images show how the corner of Pasadena Ave. and Sycamore Ave. has changed over time. The property saw many upgrades at this location due to Cawston’s success in the women’s fashion accessory business.