Throwback Thursday | Why The Raymond Faced Southwest

The Royal Raymond (1886-1895) and rebuilt Raymond Hotel (1901-1933) faced away from the magnificent mountain views. There is a reason

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | Artist’s rendering of The Raymond, South Pasadena (1885)

Walter Raymond’s prominent hotel on South Pasadena’s Bacon Hill faced away from the mountains for a reason. And that reason may surprise you.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Royal Raymond, South Pasadena (1887)
PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The rebuilt Raymond hotel, South Pasadena (1888)

Nearly all the guest room windows faced the rolling hills and the small City of South Pasadena.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Raymond (side view) photographed from Columbia Street (1886)

The outbuildings, laundry, maids quarters, groundskeeper housing, and guest dining room were all located at the rear of the hotel facing the stunning San Gabriel Mountains (then Sierra Madres).

So, why deny wealthy guests such a breathtaking view of the San Gabriel Mountains from their hotel room windows? The answer: It’s the nature of the travel business. Mountains offer a picturesque view. So much so, their value is more significant in photographs for promotional purposes. Brochures, newspaper and magazine advertisements, paintings, and family photos all show the mountains rising behind the hotel.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Raymond, South Pasadena (1889)
PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | SouthPasadenan.com News | The rebuilt Raymond hotel, South Pasadena (1912)

Walter Raymond was a shrewd businessman. He recognized the power of an image. A picture is worth a thousand words and can tell many beautiful stories. Nearby Hollywood has captured generations of moviegoers by telling stories with motion pictures.

A single picture, with a mountain range in the background, is an invitation for world travelers to visit our sleepy valley and enjoy the modest views of South Pasadena as well.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Royal Raymond, South Pasadena (1886)
PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Royal Raymond, South Pasadena (1893)

The Raymond was photographed so often with South Pasadena in the foreground (along with movie studio filming today) our city is one of the most filmed and photographed in America.

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.

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