Throwback Thursday | Picnics in the Arroyo

Early South Pasadenans took advantage of the Arroyo Seco's natural beauty, spending leisurely time getting acquainted with the area

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | Family picnic in the Arroyo Seco (1912)

“How about a picnic in the arroyo?” You don’t hear that much anymore. But 100 years ago, the naturally wooded and sometimes flowing stream bed was a popular destination for family gatherings.

Family picnics in the nearby Arroyo Seco encouraged early settlers to connect with the natural riches of their new communities.

PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Picnic in the Arroyo Seco, Pasadena (1902)
PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Family picnic near the railroad trestle, South Pasadena (1893)

Soon residents explored the arroyo further upstream leading to the hiking craze of the Sierra Madres (San Gabriel Mountains today) during the early1900s century.

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PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Early hiking party in the San Gabriel Mountains (1897)

Throwback Thursday is written and produced by 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.