Throwback Thursday | What? Real Snow in South Pasadena? The Year was 1949

PHOTO: courtesy South Pasadena Public Library | | Snow falls on Stratford Avenue in South Pasadena in 1949

On January 11, 1949, the palms along Stratford Avenue were flocked with the “real white stuff” (not movie magic). South Pasadena became a winter wonderland when a freak snowfall covered Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley communities.

Every year in May/June on Marengo Avenue, a “purple snowfall” occurs when jacaranda trees blossom, covering the road surface, cars, front yards, and people walking the sidewalks. At the height of the jacaranda tree blossoms, driving down Marengo Avenue is like traveling through a purple tunnel.

Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas

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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.