The Raymond was demolished in 1934, but a hotel-access tunnel remains intact on Raymond Hill today.
A unique feature of South Pasadena’s resort hotel was its tunnel – located about half-way up Raymond Hill. It was built to reduce the walking distance for guests coming up from the waiting station on Fair Oaks Avenue to the grand hotel situated on the hilltop.
At the end of the “sub-way entrance” was an elevator that carried guests up to the hotel’s main lobby. The hotel proprietor Walter Raymond boasted it was the only one of its kind in America.
The entrance was capped and buried in 1943 for safety.
During the construction of an apartment complex in 1964, the entrance was rediscovered and reopened. Several residents who lived on Raymond Hill at the time walked inside the tunnel with flashlights and placed hand-written notes and flowers at the end (where the elevator once carried guests up to the main lobby). The tunnel opening was then resealed and buried inside an embankment on the apartment grounds.
Today, the tunnel remains buried with no evidence above ground it ever existed. Only a few people alive today have first-hand memories of walking inside South Pasadena’s historic portal to our past. The same walkway used by Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin, J. D. Rockefeller and his wife, Laura.