Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This photo shows the heaviest snow which has fallen in Pasadena in the 20th century, on January 11, 1949, when 6" fell on Lake Avenue and 12" higher up in the foothills. This picture was taken from the Santa Fe railroad track crossing between Maple and Curson, what is now in the middle of the 210 Freeway, looking north to Maple, with the original Lake Avenue Congregational Church sanctuary on the Northwest corner of Maple and Lake, with its steeple hidden in the low lying mist.
The Fox Market, a well known market on the Southwest corner of Maple and Lake is just across from the Lake Avenue Congregational Church. None of these buildings exist anymore due to the construction of the 210 Freeway.
Notice the historic street light fixtures which had a high mast in the middle to support the cross wires for the Pacific Electric Short Line overhead catenary above the track which was in the middle of Lake all the way up to Altadena, but were removed by this time.
The 210 Freeway divided Pasadena even more than the railroad tracks had before it. Now instead of being on the other side of the tracks, the rest of Pasadena is on the other side of the freeway, without the connection of the Pacific Electric trolleys or the lure of the mountains which at one time proved more irresistible to tourists than now. At least our mountains are not as congested with people as they once were and it's possible to wander the trails without seeing many hikers from out of the area and most everyone is local, especially during the week.
Will we ever see such a snow again? Will we ever have such main street architecture on Lake Avenue again? When we were planning the North Lake Avenue Gold Line Station, we had proposed the bridge where it's located to be more like the Rialto Bridge in Venice, with room for shops and businesses. The North Lake 210 Freeway Bridge was widened, but no provision for shops and businesses was built into the structure. Perhaps this will happen in the future. Could you imagine a flower shop, a newstand, a tobacco shop on this bridge? More unlikely things have happened. If we can imagine a great bridge like the Rialto in Venice, we can have one here, also.


  1. Such a pontivecchian proposal is in talks on Los Robles, as well as bridging several other streets back over.

  2. Robert,
    Here is Martin Zitter's proposal to cover over the 210 freeway from Lake Avenue to Los Robles. He's shown his model of the "Museums and Plaza of the Americas" around Pasadena.

  3. I love that bridge idea, Thal. Talk about a walkable city! That would make the freeway crossing so much more pleasant.

  4. Or...Since pasadena is WAAAY WaY under minimum about a bridge over the freeway from Colorado Blvd to beyond Huntington Hospital a larger version of the bridge over park in La Canada, as first proposed in the strategic planning committee thirty years ago......all pedestrian....