Throwback Thursday | What Once Was

Historic buildings removed to create a city park below Colorado Street Bridge

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Photography | News | Desiderio Army Reserve Center, Pasadena (2007) 

Desiderio Neighborhood Park recently appeared on the site of the former Desiderio Army Reserve Center.

In 2013, the City of Pasadena acquired the property. According to the Pasadena Star-News, “It involved property transfers from the Army to the National Park Service to the city for the park portion of the site; and a transfer from the Army to Housing and Urban Development to the city to Habitat for Humanity for the housing portion.”

The public debate at the time centered around whether to demolish or reuse the historic buildings.

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PHOTO: Rick Thomas Photography | News | Photos taken from inside and from the Desiderio Army Reserve Center (2007)
PHOTO: Rick Thomas Photography | News | The massive skylight of the Desiderio Army Reserve Center (2007)

Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison said: “The buildings are not very adaptable to housing at all, they are old warehouse structures.” The typical response from a non-creative politician with little regard for historic preservation and our cultural heritage.

Today, the only remaining controversy is whether or not to install restrooms, or rather, where they will be installed.

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.