Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lake Washington Village Night Parade and Street Dance on North Lake Avenue

Wednesday Evening, July 30, 1952
In the auto repair courtyard next to Towne Furniture located at 854 E. Washington

The " Melody Men " Polka Band, apparently a German band from the looks of the alpine caps with feathers! Looking at the city directory of this period, many of the names of residents of the Lake Washington Village area appear to be of German ethnicity. Perhaps this accounts for the popularity of a Polka band, and on television of the time Lawrence Welk, also an ethnic German, had a local popular show featuring Polka music on KTLA which premiered in 1952.

Notice the Scottish Bagpipe Marching Band with drummers followed by horsedrawn carriages. The shops on North Lake just north of Washington are lit up with many neon projecting signs. For a point of reference, the "Maple Shop" recognizable by its maple leaf shaped projecting sign, a furniture store selling Early American Style furniture, was located where "Vorhee's Craftsman Furniture" is now located at 1415 North Lake and the large neon "MEAT" sign in the form of a crown was located on top of "Crown Meats", which is now the "Fred Astaire Dance Studio", located at 1368 North Lake and the historic crown sign is still on top but no longer neon lit. The Lake Washington Village Parade and Street Dance was held on a July summer evening, with these photos being taken from just above 1415 North Lake looking south, with an old Pasadena Fire Department fire engine, horse drawn buggy and other vehicles and marchers, with a large crowd looking on.

Here it looks like the parade has broken up or has yet to start, so I don't have the photos in the correct order. Notice the many children of all ages out on a warm summer night. Also in the background, just north of what is now " Showcase Liquor ", back then " Gerlachs Liquor " http://www.pbase.com/claimsman/image/85584642, is a tent set up in the liquor store parking lot with " SALOON " and a false window and door painted on the front which was apparently a temporary watering hole for this festival. Just north of the tent is Jimmie Hill's " MEAT N' TATERS ". Just north of that is the " ADENA " paint store. A temporary " No Parking " sign is on the ornamental double headed light standard.

Here we have a horse and buggy, a small mini bus and antique turn-of-the-century cars coming up the middle of North Lake Avenue from Washington.

An antique Pasadena Fire Department Fire Engine is leading a large truck, looks like a horse transporter, and the crowds are converging around behind, so this may be the end of the parade. Two men in top hats and period dress, one with a walking stick, are strolling down Lake Avenue behind the parade watching crowd. You can be sure that the local politicians were in the parade!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have such an evening parade and street dance in the Lake Washington Village sometime in the near future?! The merchants in the Lake Washington Village also had " Moonlight Madness " sales late at night every season to promote shopping in the local area. And of course there were Halloween decorations in October and street holiday decorations in December. Certainly, the tasteful neon projecting signs add to the street scene. The Crown " Meat " sign is a protected historic sign, and the reinstallation of the decorative neon would be an attractive and interesting reintroduction to brighten up the Lake Washington Village at night. Does anyone remember any of these businesses or spending time in the Lake Washington Village?


  1. Received the following information by email from Altadena:
    The "Horsewagon" is a 1938 LA County Sheriff's GMC 3 ton chassis Paddy Wagon, one of five the County used to own. I only know this because I almost bought one of them in the late 1970's to use as a work truck/camper until I started looking into getting 3 ton chassis parts and they were then and probably still are, more or less unobtainium.


  2. I learn so much from your blog! Thanks for the ongoing history lessons.

  3. I never knew the old crown sign was once lit up. I'd love to know if the wiring is still inside it. That festival was well attended! There is a Lake/Washington business association, is there not? Things are looking better, slowly but surely. I hope they'll put something together. It can happen.

  4. Wow, North Lake rocked in the day! Its amazing how quickly things change and history is lost... unless someone takes the time to unearth it and make it available. Now whenever I head up Lake Street, I'm looking at it with a totally different eye.

  5. I always thought they should do Mardi Gras on Lake. Until then, we just have the Belvidere party.