Throwback Thursday | Love in Plain Sight

The century-old courtship of the Colorado Street Bridge and Vista del Arroyo

PHOTO: Rick Thomas | SouthPasadenan.com News | U.S. Court of Appeals (formerly Vista del Arroyo hotel) seen in the framed arch of the Colorado Street Bridge (2007)

Rick Thomas | U.S. Court of Appeals (formerly Vista del Arroyo hotel) seen in the framed arch of the Colorado Street Bridge (2007)

A massive concrete bridge and a luxury resort hotel. They make a perfect pair.

The Vista del Arroyo hotel (today U.S. Court of Appeals) and the Colorado Street Bridge have a symbiotic relationship that dates back to the early 1900s. At the time, nearly every postcard view of the bridge shows the hotel behind it. Likewise, most of the photos taken by the guests of the hotel also capture the bridge in the background.

The two are inseparable. The historic bridge and former grand hotel are cultural icons of the Arroyo Seco. And they are in plain sight of each other for all time.

PHOTO: California Historical Society | SouthPasadenan.com News | Fashion show at the pool area of the Vista del Arroyo hotel (1938)
PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | Postcard (1953) – Pioneer Bridge shortly after construction (left) and the Colorado Street Bridge and Vista del Arroyo (right)
PHOTO: Rick Thomas photography | SouthPasadenan.com News | Colorado Street Bridge and former Vista del Arroyo hotel during construction of luxury townhomes (2007)
PHOTO: Pasadena Heritage | SouthPasadenan.com News | Poster (2007) – Colorado Street Bridge Party
PHOTO: Rick Thomas photography | SouthPasadenan.com News | Colorado Street Bridge arch with the U.S. Court of Appeals building (formerly Vista del Arroyo hotel) in the background (2007)

Note: The Vista del Arroyo hotel changed ownership during WW II when the War Department took control of the hotel for use as an army hospital (1943 to 1949). Today, the building serves as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas | SouthPasadenan.com News | View of the U.S. Court of Appeals (formerly Vista del Arroyo hotel) from the Colorado Street Bridge (2007)

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.

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