Throwback Thursday | The South Pasadena Lumber Company

Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas

PHOTO: Melinda Rathbun Collection | | South Pasadena Lumber Co., Mason H. Parsons and his horse-drawn wagon making a home delivery (1909)

At the turn of the century, trains stopped at the Santa Fe Station to offload lumber directly onto the property of South Pasadena Lumber Co.

Having a lumber company in the heart of South Pasadena (along with Rust Nursery) was extremely important in the city’s early development. Over a five-year period during this time, village-like South Pasadena had grown from 1,500 to 5,000 residents with volunteer fire and police departments, high school, and Carnegie library.

South Pasadena’s “community lumberyard” offered home delivery to residents and convenient access to construction materials for the city’s burgeoning business districts on Mission Street and Fair Oaks Avenue.

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The lumber company on Mission Street is today the location of Southmark Storage, Mission West, and Mission Tile West.

PHOTO: Melinda Rathbun Collection | | South Pasadena Lumber Co., Santa Fe train at the station (Today – Gold Line Station) offloading lumber (1909)
PHOTO:Melinda Rathbun Collection | | South Pasadena Lumber Co. on Mission St. (1909)

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.