Click graphic for city map

History 1900s

1902 - The First Rose Bowl game
The Tournament of Roses decided to enhance the day’s festivities by adding a football game – the first post season college football game ever held. Stanford University accepted the invitation to take on the powerhouse University of Michigan, but the West Coast team was flattened 49-0 and gave up in the third quarter. The lopsided score prompted the Tournament to give up football in favor of Roman-style chariot races. In 1916, football returned to stay.

1908 - Gamble House
This home of hand-rubbed woods and multi-colored glass was designed by the team of Greene and Greene who are recognized as masters of the Arts and Crafts era. It was built in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of Proctor and Gamble..

1910 - The Start of the Aerospace Industry
It all started with an Air Meet at Dominguez Hills. The event was promoted by Henry Huntington. The fliers who liked it here stayed. Those promoting business in Los Angeles saw the public interest in aviation and made it happen. They leveraged universities like Caltech which spun off Jet Propulsion Laboratory and provided important aeronautical research facilities including wind tunnels, and along with USC and UCLA it was a constant source of high-quality technical labor.

1911 - First Cross Country Flight Landed in Pasadena
C.P. "Cal" Perry Rodgers' historic cross-country flight in the Vin Fiz, made by the Wright Brothers', took off from Sheepshead Bay, New York on September 17, 1911 and landed in Pasadena, California on November 5, 1911. The only remainder of this flight is a simple plaque at Tournament Park. Here is another article about the same event.

1913 - Electric Street Railways
Pasadena depended greatly in 1911 upon electric street railways for public transportation. Big red Pacific Electric cars traveled along Colorado Street and on other main streets such as Lake and Fair Oaks avenues. Passengers had to go into the street to board the cars and that led to some accidents.

1913 - Colorado Street Bridge
The beautiful concrete bridge spans 1,467 feet across the Arroyo Seco, a deeply cut canyon linking the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River, and containing the intermittent Arroyo Seco Stream for which it is named. The bridge is often incorrectly referred to as the "Arroyo Seco Bridge."

1913 - Worst Cold Snap in Pasadena History
A century ago, in January 1913, the Valley was hit by weather that was said to be the coldest since it had been the Indiana Colony 30 years earlier.  Some regions lost their entire orange crop, but in Pasadena it was thought the oranges were saved by the use of smudge pots and a late wind that arose.

1920 - East Colorado Boulevard
This photograph shows East Colorado Street sometime in the 1920s. The street traffic, typical of the time, includes orange vendors, a New Method Laundry delivery cart, and the electric trolley cars from the Altadena and North and South Loop lines. The ready availability of oranges and other fruits never ceased to amaze the Eastern visitors who filled Pasadena's many hotels.

1915 to 1942 - Residential Period Revival Architecture and Development in Pasadena (
The project objective was to document significant historic districts that are representative of the period
1915-1942 in the City of Pasadena as part of a future plan to nominate districts for listing in the National
Register of Historic Places and designating local landmark districts.

1923 - The Rose Bowl
William L. Leishman, the Tournament’s 1920 President, envisioned a stadium in Pasadena to host the Rose Bowl Games. The stadium was designed by architect Myron Hunt in 1921. His design was influenced by the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, which was built in 1914. The Arroyo Seco dry riverbed was selected as the location for the stadium. The Rose Bowl was under construction from 1921 to 1922. The new stadium hosted its first New Year’s football game in 1923.

Courtesy the Pasadena Digital History Collaborative

1924 - Pasadena City College
Originally named Pasadena Junior College, the college merged with another junior college, John Muir College, to become Pasadena City College. The main building was called the Louis Agassiz Building shown above.

1924 - Pasadena Playhouse
This Spanish architecture building is the official State Theater and has served as the training ground for many famous actors; both stage and screen. The building was originally known as the Pasadena Community Playhouse. At the time, The Playhouse was the largest and most technically advanced venue on this side of the Mississippi.

1925 - Cheeseburger Invented
Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the mid-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have invented the cheeseburger in the mid-1920s at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena, California sandwich shop, "The Rite Spot," and "experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger..

1926 - Route 66 (Will Rogers Highway)
The route ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles. In Pasadena, Route 66 traveled through Old Town on Colorado Blvd and over the Colorado Street Bridge which was built in 1913.

1927 - City Hall
In 1923, the people of Pasadena approved a bond measure issuing $3.5 million towards the development of a civic center. City Hall was to be the central element of this center. The San Francisco architecture firm of Bakewell and Brown designed the City Beautiful and California Mediterranean of Mediterranean Revival Style and Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture influenced City Hall.  More about the architecture here.

1930 - First 'flight' from Los Angeles to Tokyo piloted by Pasadena restaurant owner
“Chop Suey Buys Plane for London-Tokyo Hop” read a headline in the New York Times in 1930. The airplane was bought by Zansaku Azuma who had a chop suey restaurant on Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena.

1936 - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
The roots come from Caltech which had opened in 1891. Some Caltech graduate students in the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT) were testing an alcohol fueled motor in the Arroyo Seco for a graduate thesis. In 1939 they received financial support from the U.S. Army and formed the Aerojet Corporation to manufacture JATO rocket motors. The project took on the name Jet Propulsion Laboratory in November 1943 formally becoming an Army facility operated under contract by the university. JPL was transferred to NASA after it was founded in October 1958.

1944 - Parsons Corporation
Founded by engineer Ralph M. Parsons, Parsons Corporation is currently one of the largest such companies in the United States. It's headquarters is in Pasadena.

1990 - The Great California Exodus
Since 1990, California has been sending more people to other American states than it receives from them.  This study describes the great ongoing California exodus, using data from the Census, the Internal Revenue Service, the state’s Department of Finance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and other sources.