The Raymond 1901-1933
After the Royal Raymond (1886-1895) is razed by fire, the hotel is rebuilt.
The Raymond hotel’s hilltop location provided certain advantages over other resort hotels that came later. The Raymond had breathtaking views of the San Gabriel Mountains and expansive property of orange groves that gave way to a golf course when the second hotel was built in 1901 (after the first hotel succumbed to fire on Easter Sunday in 1895).
Walter Raymond’s son Arthur said, “It took my father five years to raise enough money above the proceeds of insurance to rebuild. A wealthy plumbing equipment manufacturer from Chicago, R.T. Crane (Crane Plumbing today), who had been a frequent guest of the first Raymond lent him $300,000 to make a new hotel possible.”
Interesting fact: Actor/Comedian Chevy Chase is R.T. Crane’s great-great grandson.
When the hotel was rebuilt, Walter Raymond once again asserted his claim The Raymond had providence over other resort hotels in America. He often repeated the claim: “The Raymond is conceded by exacting critics to be the most superbly located hotel on the American content, with every appointment perfect.”
The Raymond hotel was the ultimate base camp for wealthy guests. Walter wanted The Raymond to feel like a home away from home. His guests would reserve a block of rooms and remain at the hotel for the entire winter season (December to mid-April). Many of his loyal guests would reserve the same block of rooms for multiple seasons.
The Raymond brochure describes the bedrooms: “There is a restful charm of quiet comfort in the bedrooms, which reflect the gracious welcome Raymond guests always remember. The rooms are all large and have ample windows. Those on the south front overlook the golf course and the valley; those on the north and east look out on mountains; those on the west the rolling foothills beyond Pasadena.”
In 1902 the orange groves were replaced by a 9-hole golf course. The hotel pavilion became a Golf Clubhouse.
Walter Raymond purchased dozens of magazine advertisements featuring the newly installed golf course in a park-like setting. One such ad described it this way: “Raymond Park comprises seventy-five acres, and has within its borders a nine-hole Golf Course, that cannot be surpassed for attractiveness of scenery, or for all the fine points that appeal to lovers of the game. The course is green throughout the winter months, and there is nothing more exhilarating than a game on its grassy slopes.”
Female guests of The Raymond were encouraged to play golf alongside men – a rare occurrence of the times to allow such play.
The Raymond had a championship tennis court on its grounds. The Golf Clubhouse was used as luxury “box seats” during tennis matches and golf tournaments.
The world-renown golf course architect Willie Watson was on hand to assist hotel guests with their game. The Raymond was the only hotel in Southern California with a golf course on its grounds.
The Raymond’s “backyard” is the San Gabriel Mountains (an enduring feature of Raymond Hill today). The Raymond now had a “front yard” containing a 9-hole golf course.
Helen Lengfeld first learned to play golf when she was eight years old while her parents Sadie and Isaac Foorman wintered at The Raymond. In later years Helen organized several amateur golf tournaments for women and organized more than 400 American Women’s Voluntary Services groups across America to assist the war effort during WWII. Golf Digest magazine named Helen as one of the five most influential women in golf.
With the installation of a golf course, hotel guests could view the vast hotel property. The golf course extended the entire downhill slope from the hilltop hotel to Garfield Park and Hope Street at Fair Oaks Avenue.
The former hotel property is a built environment today, including apartment buildings, Arroyo Seco Parkway, Bristol Farms, McDonalds, gas station, and a variety of retail businesses.