About the City of South Pasadena
Centrally located in the West San Gabriel Valley, South Pasadena is known for its tree-lined streets, historic California Craftsman-style homes, unique small businesses and its outstanding public schools. This small town atmosphere makes South Pasadena one of California's most desirable locations.
South Pasadena prides itself on its small town character. Less than three and one-half square miles in area, South Pasadena lies between the far larger City of Pasadena, of which it was once part, and the metropolis of Los Angeles. Small, proud and independent, the City of South Pasadena has battled for a hundred years to preserve its status as a distinct and distinctive community
History of South PasadenaIn early 1874, the area that is now South Pasadena was a part of the San Gabriel-Orange Grove Association. In 1875, the stockholders of the association voted to name their town Pasadena and just three years later, residents living in the southern portion of Pasadena considered themselves South Pasadenans.
In February of 1888, in order to control their own territory, South Pasadenans voted eighty-five to twenty-five for incorporation. A board of trustees was elected and Ammon B. Cobb was appointed as the first marshal, with Marshal B. Selmen as his deputy.
On March 2, 1888, South Pasadena officially incorporated with a population of slightly over 500. The City's boundaries established in 1889 are essentially the same today. South Pasadena consists of 3.44 square mile of prime residential property. In 1876, unimproved land with water was selling from $75.00 to $150.00 an acre. Today a vacant lot in South Pasadena can be sold for more than $200,000.00
Few cities in California are better recognized for the quality of its small-town atmosphere and rich legacy of intact late 19th and early 20th century neighborhoods and residences. South Pasadena also has a strong claim to having the oldest and most historic sites in the San Gabriel Valley. For many centuries, its adjacency to a natural fording place along the Arroyo Seco had served as a gateway to travel and commerce for aboriginal people here and along the coast. It was here that Hahamog'na greeted Gaspar de Portala and the missionaries who later established San Gabriel Mission a few miles to the west.
The initial buildings on the Rancho San Pascual, which subsequently gave birth to the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena, were built here. The first of these adobe structures became headquarters for General Flores and his staff in 1847 where they agreed to surrender to American forces, ending Mexican Colonial Rule in California.
In 1888, South Pasadena incorporated the southern portion of the Indiana Colony and land south and eastward to the Los Angeles border, becoming the sixth municipality in Los Angeles County. With establishment of the Raymond Hotel and the Cawston Ostrich Farm, the small community was able to attract tourists and increasingly large waves of new residents to the Pasadena area in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. With completion of the Pacific Electric Short Line, putting the entire city withing easy walking distance of the "red car" stations, South Pasadena also became a one of the first suburbs of Los Angeles. It is now certainly one of the best-preserved cities, maintaining a small-town quality and humanity in the scale of its buildings, its residential streets capes and historical commercial core.