Throwback Thursday | Winters at The Raymond

A celebration of our snowy local mountains and Raymond resort hotel history.

PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Raymond resort hotel, South Pasadena (1890)

With the snow level the lowest it has been in our local mountains in years, I am reminded of the magnificent image of The Raymond in South Pasadena 130 years ago.

During the late 1800s, Walter Raymond invited families from the mid-west and east coast to spend their winter months with his family at his grand resort hotel in South Pasadena. Over his lifetime thousands of people came, they fell in love with the winter sunshine. Many of them stayed. Not merely to play in the winter paradise here. They came to create a better life than the one they knew.

PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | Artist’s etching – The Raymond with snowcapped mountains (1888)
PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | Booklet cover – Raymond’s Vacation Excursions is a Boston based travel agency once owned by Walter Raymond before he built The Raymond resort hotel in South Pasadena (1894)

The Raymond attracted prominent families to the area, many of whom built their winter mansions nearby on Orange Grove Avenue (referred to as “Millionaire’s Row”). The resort hotel was open during the winter months and shut down the rest of the year. Guests would often stay for the entire winter season – blocking off several rooms for their family and personal belongings.

From the mountains to the sea, they visited the local orange groves, San Gabriel Mission, Cawston Ostrich Farm, Bush Gardens, Gay’s Lion Farm, Mt. Lowe railroad into the Sierra Madres (San Gabriel Mountains today), Catalina Island, and the beach communities from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica.

PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | SouthPasadenan.com | President Theodore Roosevelt visits The Raymond (1903)
PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | Raymond hotel guests depart for the Rose Parade (1892)

The Raymond was no ordinary resort hotel. Built on a hilltop in 1886 in South Pasadena it became a landmark structure that was visible from almost any location in the San Gabriel Valley.

PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Raymond resort hotel with City of South Pasadena in the foreground (1888)
PHOTO: Thomas Collection | SouthPasadenan.com News | The Raymond of South Pasadena (1889)

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.

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