Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 10.0!!!!!!!!!

Interactive Map! Click on green points to view hotspots, or click on entire map for larger view.

It's now time for the second CicLAvia of 2015, which means it's time to start posting again (He may or may not rename this blog, "Epic CicLAvia Tour Guides" eventually).

When The Militant first learned about the minuscule 3.5-mile route for the 13th-ever CicLAvia (and the 10th unique routing, hence the version number), he was kinda bummed. But after doing some Militant research, he found out that Pasadena has lots to offer in terms of history and interesting locations. The last CicLAvia tour only had 20 locations, yet was twice as long!

This is also the first-ever CicLAvia located entirely outside of the City of Los Angeles. The Militant initially decided to defer this to The Militant Pasadenan, but he recently learned that ol' MP moved to Sonoma County in 2009, and no one else has taken up the title since. So, according to Militancy Code, The Militant Angeleno would have to assume MP's duties by default (Ugh, so much responsibilities...). Which reminds The Militant that Long Beach's Beach Streets ciclovia event happens next Sunday. The Militant Long Beacher hasn't returned any of The Militant Angeleno's emails or texts. F'ing flake. Come on, man.

(As consistent with previous Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour maps, this routing starts from the east and works its way westward). Without further delay, let's go!

1. Pasadena City College
1570 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

What does actor Nick Nolte, director John Singleton, Worf from Star Trek, the original Superman and Jimmy Olson, math teacher con ganas Jaime Escalante, singer Kenny Loggins, all of the original members of Van Halen, the late Coach Jerry Tarkanian, the great Jackie Robinson (who later transferred to UCLA) and Lakers great Michael Cooper have in common?

They all attended Pasadena City College. This school, established in 1924 as Pasadena Junior College, later shared the campus with the original Pasadena High School from 1928 to 1960. In 1954, the college merged with nearby John Muir College and formally changed its name to its current moniker.

The college markets itself as the "#1 Associate Degree for Transfer," meaning, you probably won't stay long here anyway. But they sure have a pretty campus though.

Despite its long list of noble alumni, the school has also produced some dark characters, such as Robert F. Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.

2. Old Highway Marker
1320 Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

On the grass parkway in front of the McDonald's drive thru on Colorado and Hill stands a cryptic stone marker which reads:


It may or may not be a tombstone. Which makes it look even creepy. What do the numbers mean? What does "FB" mean? Did they predict Facebook or something?

Actually, it was the gravesite of the a laborer identified as #11, and he was the 220th of 222 people to die while constructing Colorado Boulevard. The "FB" may to may not be his initials...

...Okay, just kidding. It was actually a stone highway marker placed near there by Los Angeles County in 1906 -- before the road was paved. It turns out in those days, highway signs were made of stone instead of sheet metal. The "11" meant that it was 11 miles until the next highway marker, which was at the old Los Angeles County Courthouse (where Grand Park now stands in front of Los Angeles City Hall). The "220\222" were the block numbers as designated by the county's road surveying system. And the "F.B" stood for "Foothill Boulevard," which the street was originally named. In 1926, that route was designated as part of US Route 66. It is the oldest stone marker in Pasadena, and the sole surviving one of three such markers. The marker was originally placed 25 feet to the west -- where the driveway is, and was moved to the present location in 1994.

For some bonus added history, check out the faded lettering of the wall facing the McD's parking lot. It's from the old Foothill Motors Lincoln-Mercury dealership that existed from 1947 to the late 1980s.

Tweet a selfie with the marker during CicLAvia with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

3. Howard Motor Company Building
1285 E. Colorado Blvd

Located in what was considered Pasadena's automobile dealership row (see the Foothill Motors faded wall across the street), Conveniently located along Route 66, this Spanish Colonial Revival building with cherry churro Churrigueresque (like North Hollywood's St. Charles Borromeo church from the last CicLAvia) ornamentation was an attractive showroom for the Howard Motor Company, and later Bush-Morgan Motors from the 1930s to the 1950s. It is currently vacant (want to open a Churrigueresque Churro shop?), but was last used as an auto showroom as recently as the 1990s.

4. Crown City Bank Entrance
1176 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

The same year the mysterious highway marker was placed down the street, Crown City Bank opened up its main branch here on what is now the Pasadena Coin and Stamp Company. If you're into philately or numismatics, you'll probably be into what's inside. But if not, do observe the 109 year-old tile mosaic entrance. Over the years the building has also hosted a car dealership, a glass and mirror shop, a refrigerator store, and a men's clothing store. Yet the "Crown City Bank" entrance has remained untouched.

What is "Crown City" exactly? Why, it's Pasadena's official nickname.

And while you're here, drop by across the street to the Militant-Approved Book Alley bookstore! A great selection of local history titles!

5. Pashgian Bros. Oriental Rugs
993 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Underneath this faded, old school-looking billboard is one of the longest-running businesses in Pasadena. Established in 1889 -- as old as the Tournament of Roses Parade -- this oriental rug store founded by John and Moses Pashgian has been a Pasadena institution for over one and a quarter centuries. Moses Pashgian was even the Grand Marshal of the 1915 Rose Parade, and the brothers are considered the founders of Pasadena's Armenian American community. The Pashgian family still makes its presence in the city. John Pashgian's son, the late Aram Pashgian, was a member of the Tournament of Roses Association, and Aram's daughter, Helen Pashgian, is a renowned visual artist whose work has been displayed at LACMA.

6. Horton & Converse Entryway/Brown & Wein Pharmacy
937 E. Green St, Pasadena

You might be familiar with the Horton & Converse Pharmacy chain in the Westside. But did you know the 98 year-old Southern California-based company once had more stores in the area? Including one here in Pasadena, which was open 24 hours. Today, the Brown & Wein Pharmacy takes its place, but the original Horton & Converse design in the store's threshold still remains.

7. Burlington Arcade
380 South Lake Ave, Pasadena

The first of three "arcades" you'll come across on the CicLAvia route was built in 1980 by controversial Pasadena developer Stanley S. Sirotin, who made this building a mini-replica of the 19th century skylighted mall in London, which is the reason why you'll see an old-school red British telephone box (booth) inside. The 14 stores of this building are rather unique: A chocolatier, a kimono store, a gourmet sandwich shop, among others.

Tweet a selfie in front of the red telephone booth during CicLAvia with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

8. Bullock's Pasadena/Macy's
401 S. Lake Ave, Pasadena

Chances are, if there's a CicLAvia, you're going to be passing by an iconic former Bullock's department store building. You saw them on 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles, and you saw them on Wilshire Boulevard. This Pasadena Bullock's (now a Macy's) was designed by well known local architects Welton Becket and Walter Wurdeman in Streamline Moderne Art Deco stylee. The famed Tea Room was a local institution, and even though the building is over 70 years old, it still carries a contemporary look to it. The building was so influential, it transformed the formerly-residential South Lake Avenue into an upscale commercial shopping district, which continues on today. Do Mind The Bullock's.

9. Pie 'N Burger
913 E California Blvd, Pasadena

Dude. It's Pie 'N Burger. Does it really need an introduction?

The Jonathan Gold Himself once said that if he had to move out of Los Angeles, his last meal would be here. Enough said.

That said, there's gonna be some long-ass lines here on Sunday, so you might as well come back some other time.

10. Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Established during the Grover Cleveland administration (though the present location dates back to 1929), this is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. Founded by Adam Clark Vroman at its original location on 60 E. Colorado Blvd, the store also sold photographic supplies as well as books.

In addition to an awesome bookstore, try to chillax at the beautiful landscaped courtyard int the back. 

Tweet a selfie at the Vroman's Courtyard with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

11. Arcade Lane
696 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Across the street from Vroman's, and having stood there two years before the bookstore moved into the block, is the second "arcade" building on the CicLAvia route.

This picturesque building, an award-winning design by Pasadena architects Sylvanus Marston and Garrett Van Pelt, was built as a replica of a marketplace in Budapest, Hungary. It once was the location of the second-ever Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf store. The picture on the left depicts the building in the 1930s.

12. Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Despite Pasadena's ethnic-kinda-sounding name (we went over its origin before), it was pretty much founded by a bunch of WASP-folk from Indiana, and the influence of Midwestern American culture still looms large, from the Tournament of Roses organization to the general vibe of the city.

From the city's founding in the 1880s to the 1920s was when the city's large Protestant churches were built along the Colorado Boulevard corridor. The Pasadena Presbyterian Church, whose congregation dates back to 1875 when it was located on Orange Grove and California street, had built two houses of worship before this one was built in 1908.

The church (as in the organization) was also heavily influential in the city's culture: It broadcasted its KPPC (hence the call letters) AM and FM radio stations from 1924 to 1971 which featured religious programming as well as more secular news, talk and music shows (including the first radio home of The Dr. Demento Show (!) in 1970).

The main sanctuary building was damaged in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake (the other original church buildings on the campus still remain), and a new one was built in 1976. It features an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ which was rescued from the original 1908 sanctuary.

13. First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
500 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

This congregation dates back to the original 1872 settlers from Indiana, who originally built the church in two previous locations (the second of which was damaged in a tornado (!) in December 1891). After outgrowing its previous buildings, the church moved to its present location in 1923 and built its current English Gothic-style sanctuary, which was designed by architect Thomas P. Barber. It also includes a 1930 Skinner pipe organ.

14. Site of KROQ Broadcast Studio
117 S. Los Robles Ave, Pasadena

Remember KROQ? No, not that lame ass station that's on right now, the good KROQ. As in The ROQ of the '80s? Dude...Rodney on the ROQ? Jed The Fish? The Poorman? Richard MF'in Blade?!

If you do, then...dude, you're old!

The station once broadcasted here, in Pasadena (the station still says "Pasadena/Los Angeles" due to how it's FCC license is registered). But KROQ was, like, totally Pasadena. The station itself had its origins in the old KPPC (remember, the Presbyterian Church down on Colorado?) FM, which broadcasted on the 106.7 frequency. In 1969, KPPC FM moved out of the church (literally and figuratively) due to a change in ownership and in 1973 after another ownership transfer, it became KROQ-FM - "The ROQ of Los Angeles."

KROQ moved to this Los Robles location in 1976, which coincided with the emerging sound of punk rock and new wave music bubbling out of the local underground. Deejay Rodney Bingenheimer broke many local acts such as The Runaways and The Go-Gos, as well as East Coast acts like The Ramones, Blondie and The Talking Heads. KROQ was the tastemaker of the 1980s, and many of the decade's stars came down to the Los Robles studios for interviews. A local venue called Perkin's Palace on Raymond Avenue (more on this later) also hosted many punk and new wave acts, and Pasadena became the totally happening place.

KROQ moved to Burbank in 1987, and after new wave's last hurrah in Pasadena (Depeche Mode's 101 Concert at The Rose Bowl on June 18, 1988), the city was never quite the same again.

15. Pasadena Civic Auditorium
330 E. Green St, Pasadena

Just south of the CicLAvia route, across from Paseo Colorado (formerly the Plaza Pasadena mall) is this stately hall designed by architects George Edwin Bergstrom, Cyril Bennett and Fitch Haskell, this 3,029-seat venue was the home of the Emmy Awards from 1977 to 1997. The 1983 NBC Motown 25 special, was taped here, which means, yes, Michael Jackson's moonwalk was performed to a worldwide audience in this here building.

16. Pasadena City Hall
100 N. Garfield Ave, Pasadena

Fans of the TV show Parks & Recreation will easily recognize this building for some reason...

Built a year before Los Angeles' iconic city hall, this second-most iconic city hall building in Southern California was largely inspired by the 1915 San Francisco City Hall. In fact, the city government wanted one similar to that, so they hired SF city hall architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and John Bakewell, Jr. to design one for the Crown City, this time with Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival elements.

17. Jackie and Mack Robinson Memorial
Holly St. and Garfield Ave, Pasadena

Legendary Brooklyn Dodger and UCLA Bruin Jackie Robinson and his brother, Olympic medalist Mack Robinson, were both raised right here in Pasadena, in a small house (no longer standing) at 121 Pepper Street, off of North Fair Oaks.

This memorial sculpture, designed by artist Ralph Helmick, features, nine-foot, 2700-pound likenesses of the Robinson brothers' heads. It was dedicated in 1997, the 50th anniversary year of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.

18. Pasadena Public Library Ruins
Raymond Ave and Walnut St, Pasadena

Located at the northwest corner of Pasadena's Memorial Park (It is not, The Militant repeats, not a cemetery, it's quite literally a park that contains various memorial statues and plaques to war veterans and historic individuals) is this freestanding arched structure that looks like some old rich person's tomb (again, Memorial Park is not a cemetery...).

The structure was the entrance to the original Pasadena Public Library (prior to the 1930s, the park was known as the not-macabre-at-all "Library Park"), which operated here from 1890 to 1927. It was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake and demolished in 1954 (man, the speed of city bureaucracy...). In 1955 the city of Pasadena decided to keep the arched entrance intact and dedicate it as another memorial in this park, this time to the city's founders.

19. Raymond Theatre/Perkins Palace
129 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Originally built as Jensen's Raymond Theatre (if you know your Los Angeles history, it's the same Jensen's that opened the bowling alley in Echo Park and the former silent movie theatre on Melrose in East Hollywood (now the Ukrainian Culture Center - which was one of the stops in the first few Epic CicLAvia Tours), it was an early venue for vaudeville and silent movie screenings.

In the 1940s, it was sold to Crown Holding Corporation and re-named the Crown Theatre (because, as you know by now, Pasadena is "The Crown City" - and don't you forget it), showing movies until the 1960s. In the early 1970s, one of the theatre's owners was a local ophthalmologist named Dr. Nathan Roth (whose son, David Lee, was attending Pasadena City College at the time and met these guys named Michael, Alex and Eddie).

In the late '70s, the venue was owned by local businessman Mark Perkins who re-named it Perkins Palace, which became the legendary stage for local, national and international rock, pop, punk and new wave acts, from Fleetwood Mac to The Go-Gos to New Order to Oingo Boingo to, yes, Van Halen.

Today, the building remains as part of a new condo/retail complex.

20. Neon Retro Arcade
28 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

The third "arcade" on the CicLAvia route is this one -- a video arcade, that opened earlier this year, and specializes in retro (as in 1980s and 1990s, you know, the good stuff) video games, as well as pinball machines for the older school set. If you lovingly remembered the uber-legendary Pak Mann Arcade on 1775 Colorado Blvd back in the day, this is somewhat of a consolation. Anyone wanna play some Tempest or Street Fighter?

Note: If the arcade is closed, come by after 12 noon on Sunday when it opens. After then it will, quite literally, be on like Donkey Kong.

21. Hotel Green/Castle Green
99 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

One of Pasadena's most iconic structures, this Moorish-Mediterranean Revival luxury hotel, which was designed by local architect Frederick Roehrig, was built to serve the Santa Fe Railway station across the street (more on this later). Prior to its opening, it was purchased by civil war veteran and snake oil salesman George G. Green (hence Green Street). The hotel was once home to the Tournament of Roses Association and the Valley Hunt Club, which us 99-percenters only really hear about during the Tournament of Roses Parade.

22. Stats Floral Supply
120 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Greek immigrant Dan Stathatos, Sr. once opened a flower shop on 4th and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles and sold violets. His sons Dan, Jr. and Jerry took over the family business after his father's death in 1941 and in 1962 opened a floral supply, craft arts and outdoor furniture store here on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.

The real draw of this store is from September to January, where the store becomes this massive, epic Christmas Holiday wonderland: Christmas trees, snowmen, reindeer, elves, angels, nutcrackers, Santas... it'

Even if you drop by this Sunday, it won't be in Christmas mode, but it's still a unique store, sort of like a Moskatel's on steroids. If Huell hasn't been here, he should have.

23. Pasadena Santa Fe Depot
230 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Before The Metro Gold Line opened in 2003, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was the rail line that cut through town. The railroad first came to town in 1885, a line built by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad, which changed hands over the years and was bought by the ATSF Railway in 1906. The line served trains that came as far as Chicago.

The Mission Revival railroad depot was built in 1935 -- four years before Union Station was built in Downtown Los Angeles, and was popular with Hollywood celebrities, who disembarked here, rather than at Union Station, due to the Pasadena station's proximity to Hollywood and the various studios in the San Fernando Valley.

In 1971, Amtrak took over passenger service from the nation's railways and used this station until 1994, when parts of the line leading to Pasadena were condemned following the Northridge Earthquake. In the late 1990s, construction of the much-anticipated light rail line from Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles was commenced, and the original Pasadena Santa Fe depot was moved several yards to its current location, which is now adaptively reused as the La Grande Orange Cafe restaurant, located adjacent to the Del Mar Metro Gold Line station.

24. The Owl Drug Co. (J. Crew)
3 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

J. Crew? Huh? The Militant shops there? As if! Naw, seriously, look down at the entryway for this J. Crew in Old Town Pasadena and you'll see "The Owl Drug Co." It was a San Francisco-based national chain drugstore and soda fountain (yeah, total old school) that opened its first Pasadena location here almost a century ago. It operated until the 1940s when it was purchased by Rexall Drug Store. It changed hands over the years, weathering the neighborhood's decline and eventual revitalization towards the end of the 20th century.

25. Site of Clune's Pasadena Theatre
61 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

If you're into faded building signs, you're in for a treat. The north and east walls of this building still bear the weather-beaten signage for "Clune's Pasadena Theatre," a vaudeville and silent movie theatre built 104 years ago. John Philip Sousa once performed there with his orchestra,

It became part of the Fox Theatres chain in the 1920s, screening Fox, and later 20th Century Fox films until the 1950s. Today, a Crate & Barrel and a Gap store operate in the former theatre space.

Stay Militant and Happy CiclaDENA on Sunday! Don't forget to blast some Van Halen and wear your crowns!


  1. Woooohoooo! Epic CicLAvia Tour 10.0!!! Great job once again! May I suggest stopping at the Northwest corner of Del Mar and Lake Ave to see the very rare albino white jacaranda tree.

  2. Isn't the Raymond Theatre the boxing venue where Bruce Willis kills his opponent in Pulp Fiction?

  3. Great guide, militant angeleno! Will definitely check out most of the cool places you mentioned. :)

  4. Great place, wonderful food with modern ambiance and comfortable seating with plenty of room. It is now probably one of the best reception halls in Atlanta in my list. Perfect food, great decor and vibrant atmosphere.

  5. All these places are well designed with unique set up and attractive features...thanks for sharing...


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