Click graphic for city map

History 1800s

1833 - Spain granted land to Mexican Citizens
The Mexican citizens divided the land into ranchos. The area that would later become Pasadena was named the Rancho del Rincon de San Pascual. The last owner of the 14,000 acre land grant was Manuel Garfias who was allowed to keep the property after California became a state in 1850. However, over the next two decades, portions of the Rancho were sold off to new white settlers.

1846 Battle of San Pasqual Memorial Site Today

Californiano's last stand against the U.S. Invasion of California

1846 - Battle of San Pasqual (Also spelled San Pascual)
On December 6 and December 7, 1846, General Stephen W. Kearny's US Army column, along with a smaller force of Marines, engaged a small contingent of Californios and their Presidial Lancers, led by Capt. Leonardo Cota; eventually joined by Major Andrés Pico. After US reinforcements arrived, Kearny's troops were able to reach San Diego. California State Historical Landmark #385.  More about the battle is here.

1847 - Battle of Rio San Gabriel
Fought on January 8, 1847 was a decisive action of the California campaign of the Mexican–American War and occurred at a ford of the San Gabriel River, at what are today parts of the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello, about ten miles south-east of downtown Los Angeles.

1847 - Battle of La Mesa
Fought on January 9, 1847, the Battle of La Mesa of the Mexican–American War occurred in present-day Vernon, California, the day after the Battle of Rio San Gabriel during the California Campaign.  At La Mesa, the outgunned Californios killed one American and wounded five others in the force commanded jointly by Commodore Robert F. Stockton and General Stephen Watts Kearny. The American force was largely on foot but had rifles, while the Californios fought on horseback with only lances. In the battle, the Californios suffered 15 dead and 25 wounded. After a day of charging and outflanking the American soldiers, the Californios fell back in exhaustion and camped at present-day Pasadena, ceding Los Angeles to Stockton's forces.

1850 - California Became a State
California became part of the US in 1846 when they conquered it during the Mexican War and then became a US State in 1850. It became a part of the US as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed on 2 February 1848 ending the Mexican American War. It was admitted to the Union as a state on 9 September 1850. As part of the 1850 Compromise.

1873 - Rancho San Pasqual Purchased
Dr. John S. Griffin and Benjamin Wilson purchased more than 5,000 acres of the original land grant from Manuel Garfias.

1874 - Pasadena Land Purchased
A severe Indiana winter during 1872-73 prompted a group of friends from Indianapolis to form an investment group with the purpose of moving to the warmer climate of Southern California. Sent to scout the area, D. M. Berry recommended purchasing a portion of the Rancho San Pasqual. Benjamin Wilson, who would later become the first Anglo major of Los Angeles, agreed to sell some 4,000 acres to Dr. Daniel M. Berry of Indiana in 1873. On January 31, 1874, Berry and the Indiana newcomers incorporated the "Indiana Colony.” The colony was named "pa-sa-de-na” meaning "of the valley” to the Chippewa Indians.

1881 - The Mines of Las Flores Canyon
Only several hundred yards separate Las Flores Canyon (Canyon of the Flowers) from the popular Echo Mountain Trail at the top of Lake Avenue in Altadena. But while hundreds of hikers ascend the Echo Mountain Trail every week only a handful venture into the canyon and few go very far. Gold mining activities in the canyon started no later than 1881 but soon merged with tunneling for irrigation water which was more profitable.

1882 - George Stoneman, owner of Los Robles Ranch, Elected Governor of California
General George Stoneman, after retiring from the army bought 400 acres from B. D. Wilson.  He named his new ranch Los Robles meaning "the oaks".  He later became governor of California.  There is a plaque at 1912 Montrobles Place, San Marino.

1886 - Pasadena Incorporated
The first independent incorporated city in Los Angeles. One of the main reasons Pasadena was incorporated in 1886 was to abolish saloons and the sale of alcohol in the area. In February 1887, an ordinance was passed that banned liquor in Pasadena.

1887 - Second District Train Line
Today known as the Pasadena Santa Fe Depot & Amtrak Station was an immensely valuable line, serving manufacturing and agricultural facilities through the San Gabriel Valley. However, longer trains always had difficulty climbing and descending the steep 2.2% grade at Arroyo Seco, between Pasadena and Los Angeles. Helper locomotives were often needed, making for inefficient operation. This is located at 222 So. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101.  More pictures at that time.

1888 - Third District Train Line
A year after the Second District this line quickly took most long-distance freight traffic along its rails. At this point up to 26 passenger trains went through Pasadena daily. To avoid the press in Los Angeles, many actors and other celebrities opted to make Pasadena their home train station, bringing to it an atmosphere and legacy of glitz and glamor.

1890 - Tournament of Roses
The first Tournament of Roses parade is presented in Pasadena by members of the Valley Hunt Club.

1891 - Caltech was founded by Amos G. Throop
The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Caltech established NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory between 1936 and 1943.

1893 - Pasadena & Mount Lowe Railway
The Mount Lowe Railway ran from 1893 through 1936 and served several million passengers. No mountain railway in the world has excited so much wonder and admiration as has this marvelous creation of the genius, pluck and enterprise of its builders.

1894 - Pasadena Short Line
The Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Railway purchased the horse car line on South Fair Oaks from Columbia Street to Walnut Street and reconstructed it as a double track narrow-gauge electric railway from Columbia to Bellevue and as a single-track narrow-gauge electric line from Green to Walnut.

1899 - Santa Fe Railroad Station in Pasadena
The station was just south of the original building of the Hotel Green, on the east side of Raymond. The train was pulled by a steam engine.  As the cross-country train came west into Pasadena it crossed a number of streets, mostly protected by its whistle and wig-wag signals and bells. After crossing Marengo, the tracks made a sharp 90-degree turn through a residential area and headed south for the station.