Throwback Thursday | Fourth of July of 1912 is Picnic Extravaganza!

On July 4th 1912, our country’s 136th birthday bash at Garfield Park is one for-the-ages!

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | Family picnic, South Pasadena (1912)

Census figures for South Pasadena in 1910 show a population of 4,659. And on July 4, 1912, nearly the entire city’s population turned out for an epic picnic celebration that wasn’t matched again for another 70 years!

According to Jane Apostol in her book South Pasadena Centennial History, residents enjoyed a free barbecue under the oaks and eucalyptus trees at Garfield Park. The entertainment featured a Shakespearean drama and the Pantages vaudeville act of Leon Morris and his wrestling ponies. The musical program ranging from Handel and Hayden to and the newly formed “Inter-City Quick Step.”

Newspaper headlines boasted that 4,000 people attended the picnic extravaganza and “at least 3,999 were satisfied.”

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Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas


Rick Thomas
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.