Throwback Thursday | Views of South Pasadena from Monterey Hills

The birth of a city and its growth is chronicled from the hills.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | South Pasadena (1888)

South Pasadena is heavily photographed and subject of numerous motion pictures throughout its history.

The first photos of the original Raymond Hotel (1886-1895) are taken from the Monterey Hills. The City of South Pasadena (incorporated in 1888) appears between these two points.

Today, local studios regularly shoot movies, television shows, and commercials here. As a result, South Pasadena has become one of the most photographed and filmed small cities in the world.

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PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | South Pasadena (1890)
PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | News | South Pasadena (1899)

Panoramic photos were popular across America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the views below, see how quickly our city’s “urban forest” grew along with its buildings.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | Panoramic views of South Pasadena in 1895, 1907, and 1922

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.