Monday, December 16, 2013

John and Elizabeth Howard's Ranch, Howard Place, near North Lake Avenue in the 1880's

John and Elizabeth Howard had a large ranch stretching from Lake Avenue north of Washington Street   all the way to Los Robles and as far north as Woodbury.  Their house was located on Howard Place, now Howard Avenue, near North Lake Avenue according to the city directory of 1888.

Elizabeth (originally Cherry) and Howard (originally Dakota) Streets were named for Elizabeth and John Howard.

Here are some interesting photos from the Pasadena History Digital Collaboration of Howard Avenue west of North Lake Avenue in the 1940's, showing a median strip with palm trees in the middle of Howard Avenue.  

Howard Avenue was really quite grand back in 1942......   I wonder if the Howard's ranch house still was standing at this time.  More research will be required to find out the answer.


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  2. Your posts are always the best, Thal.

  3. Thanks Petrea! Something that occured to me recently in doing this research, is that our small streets such as Howard were much wider when there were no curbs or sidewalks, as we see in much of Altadena today. When the City of Pasadena decided to curb and sidewalk the streets in North Pasadena, apparently in the 1940's, the width of the smaller side streets were severely constricted. Also, it seems that most of our street trees were planted in the parkways, the space between the curb and the sidewalk, at that time. I believe North Lake was also widened in the 1940's, as it had a wider grass parkway than we have now with diagonal parking and two lanes of traffic with double Pacific Electric tracks in the middle. The Pacific Electric overhead wires were held up by telephone poles set in the parkway on both sides of North Lake, rather than being attached to the street light fixtures as was the case in other parts of town. The double street light fixtures we have on North Lake from Topeka north to Woodbury are the original fixtures installed in the 1920's, however, they were painted a dark green back in the day, I believe. There are some great historic pictures of North Lake on

    as well, as other interesting photos and documents. I've been doing research on the various ranches in our area such as the Hugus Ranch. Wait until you see what I've found out about that!!!

  4. Good stuff as usual - in the comments too!
    So, have you finished your research...we're waiting!!

  5. I had always understood that Elizabeth street had been originally named Santa Fe (so Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe) while Howard street was originally Denver (so Denver & Rio Grand)... the rest of the names fit this pattern...

    My Great Grandfather's house was on Atchison, our house was on Topeka... Great Grandfather owned the north west block of Washington and Lake... his bakery on Washington near the park... My Grandfather and myself and brother both went to Longfellow...

  6. Hi Randy, all the railroad streets were part of David McPherson's, the engineer of the Mt. Lowe Railway, subdivision which was located east of North Lake Avenue. The Howard Ranch was located west of North Lake Avenue. The street name changes which continued names from east to west and west to east happened later and it is easy to see how the streets did not really line up, i.e. Howard, east of Lake was Denver originally, and east of Lake the street is slightly south of the west side due to the streets originally not being aligned and named different. There were originally no railroad names west of North Lake Avenue, this came later after more streets were carved out of the Howard Ranch, beyond Howard and Elizabeth.

  7. Here is more information on David McPherson: