Monday, March 28, 2011

Busch's Gardens--Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

Busch Gardens, Van Nuys in 1968--plant is the building at back right
I can remember in 1968 going to the Busch beer factory and gardens in Van Nuys. After a monorail tour of the factory, you were dropped off at the back in a huge garden set up. With beautiful greenery everywhere, it was inviting to taste the various Busch products at no charge (at the time Michelob, Budweiser, and Busch Bavarian) while one strolled the gardens. Like many others, I had no idea of the all started in Pasadena.

Adolphus Busch (1839-1913) was a successful brewer, emigrating from Germany, then partnering with his wife's father in St. Louis. His idea of using pasteurization and of creating a light lager that was acceptable to a broad section of the population (it's called Budweiser) made him a very wealthy man.

Cravens Residence, ca. 1903
Wanting to spend winters in a warmer clime, he purchased "Ivy Wall" in Pasadena from the John S. Cravens family around 1905. Located at 1021 South Orange Grove Ave., the large house was a Frederick Roehrig designed Tudor mix built in 1898. With a 150 ft. frontage, the lot extended deeply along Arlington Ave. to the south. The Cravens moved only a block south to the rest of their property where they built a large mansion at Madeline Dr. That house is now owned by the American Red Cross, San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter.

Evidently it had been in the plan to develop the arroyo behind the house into lush walking gardens from the beginning, and by 1909 it was one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern California, with trolley car lines announcing special "Triangle Trolley Trips" that included the Gardens, Santa Monica, and L.A. oil fields! Adolphus continued to purchase land behind the house (as well as to the north) such that he ended up with over 30 acres in gardens, with major divisions of an upper arroyo and lower arroyo. A significant addition was the purchase of the former Thaddeus Lowe house (he of the famous Mt. Lowe Railway) and gardens in 1910.

Upper Arroyo Gardens ca. 1915 (Ivy Wall at upper rt. behind trees)
Thaddeus Lowe House (with flag) at upper left

The house and property were in wife Lilly's name, so the gardens continued when Adolphus passed away in 1913.  Upon Lilly's death in 1928, no future plan for the gardens had been made, and so they were closed to the public. In 1937 parts of the upper garden were sold and subdivided, and in 1943 the house was sold by the Busch estate, and the house was then razed in 1952.

The lower gardens were offered twice to the City of Pasadena, but refused because of perceived high maintenance costs. In 1949 the lower gardens were sold and the property developed into residential lots and houses.

Today remnants of the original gardens rest along each homeowner's property in the arroyo, including the Old Mill, and one of the concrete water fountains, along with some of the original wire fencing. A recent tour in 2010 by Pasadena Heritage allowed tourists to once again see "Busch's Gardens".

Ivy Wall ca. 1910 with Arlington Drive in front

And once again in 2014 another Pasadena Heritage tour was organized.


1. Sam Watters; Houses of Los Angeles 1885-1919

3. Postcards of the Gardens

Friday, March 18, 2011

Edward Davis Roberts, San Bernardino

Updated 3/1/17

Born in Wisconsin, E.D. Roberts (1846-1920) arrived in San Bernardino County in 1886, after selling his first successful banking enterprise in Bridgewater, South Dakota. His father John W. Roberts, who was successful in the flour business in Pennsylvania, purchased a half interest in the McCook County Bank that son E.D. and his brother-in-law sold to Boston interests after just two years. The three decided to try banking in California, following the brother-in-law's father, John W. Davis.

With success in Colton, the San Bernardino National Bank was formed, with E.D. becoming President in 1903 upon the death of his father. The family moved from Colton to San Bernardino, where he purchased a large lot and home at 775 West 2nd St.

The E.D. Roberts Residence ca. 1910

Mrs. Maude Roberts, Center

Living in the house in 1910 were E.D., his wife Maude, their two children Louise and Marie, and two servants. With their establishment in San Bernardino, the Roberts were heavily involved in the city's 1910 centennial.

And in 1911, Mr. Roberts' experience in banking was noted with his appointment by the governor to California State Treasurer, to replace W. R. Williams, who was appointed to the post of Superintendent of Banks. After his appointment, the Roberts settled in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, returning to San Bernardino in 1915 after completing his term. He was asked to be a Vice-President at the Los Angeles National Bank soon after, so he returned to Los Angeles for another four years. He then retired in 1920, but passed away in San Bernardino only a few short months later, in August, 1920. He is believed to be buried in Inglewood Cemetery, Los Angeles, alongside his daughter Marie, with a memorial in place at the Pioneer Cemetery in San Bernardino.

It would be unusual for a residence of this age to still be present--and while there are still Victorians in San Bernardino (including the house for the San Bernardino Historical Society), this one had the bad fortune to be located on what was to become a main street in San Bernardino. Today's view courtesy of Google:

View Larger Map

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anthony G. Hubbard, Redlands Pioneer

Anthony Hubbard (1846-1926) (known as A.G.), first became interested in Redlands in 1878 when investors wanted him to check out lumber possibilities in nearby mountains, using a flue to get the lumber to market. While disappointed to find no water rights were available, and thus the lumber proposition was out the window, he used some of his Arizona-made mining wealth (about $150,000 according to one biography) to purchase lands around Redlands for what he thought was great orange growing country, due to the weather and lack of pests.

Terrace Villa around 1910
He returned to Arizona and went on to enhance his fortune with the Harquahala Bonanza. When he left the mining business in 1893 he settled his family in Redlands, consisting of his wife Lura, daughter Mabel, and son Herbert, where they built their "country home". It was known as Terrace Villa, replacing a hotel named the Villa Terrace, that formerly stood on the spot. In 1901 the family added another daughter, naming her Lura. Mrs. Hubbard was 45 years old.

A.G. Hubbard, ca. 1905
Very active in the Redlands community, A.G. built a small commercial building in downtown at 25 E. State Street (still extant), and was the President and lead investor in the Redlands Central Railway Co. Founded in 1907, the corporation bought an existing street railway in Redlands, with plans to provide extended service to nearby Riverside. By 1912 the railway was sold to Southern Pacific, and incorporated into the Pacific Electric line. It has the distinction of the only extant trolley barn from the entire P.E. line, which served the Los Angeles area into the 1950's.

Terrace Villa was to be the final family home. In 1900 A.G. was listed in the census as "Broker", and from then on he was listed as a banker, owning Citizens National Bank, along with multiple orange groves. He died in 1926 and is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Redlands, along with his wife Lura, and daughter Lura.

A short biography of Mr. Hubbard

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stephen Dorsey -- 2619 S. Figueroa

In the early 1890's, before the Automobile Club of Southern California built its stylish headquarters at Figueroa and Adams, the southwest corner lot belonged to Major George H. Bonebrake (1839-1898), noted banker and top-level businessman in the early days of Los Angeles. In a time of horse and carriage, his new home was a pleasant three-mile ride down Figueroa Street from the main downtown district, with the rider ending up in a definite suburban atmosphere.

2619 Figueroa in 1893
 The large Queen Anne house with accompanying porte-cochere was located on the southwest corner of South Figueroa and West Adams, then just two quiet streets.

A view of the house looking north up Figueroa Street ca. 1893
(homestead museum-city of industry)

Bright's disease overcame Major Bonebrake, and he passed away in November, 1898. Pallbearers included J. M. Elliott and W. C. Patterson--both of whom have stories to tell in our blog.

In late 1901 the estate sold the house to Stephen W. Dorsey (1842-1916), retired politician and one who seemed to attract scandal throughout his career. The large lot by then was filled with many trees, obscuring the house into which ex-Senator Dorsey moved into in 1902, after his marriage to a new bride, the former Laura Bigelow (1863-1915), in New York and a subsequent honeymoon.

Dorsey Residence ca. 1910

Sen. Dorsey, ca. 1880
Born in Vermont in 1842, Dorsey grew up mostly in Ohio, from where he enlisted in the Civil War, then afterwards moved to Arkansas, where he became a reconstruction Senator, serving one term (1873-1879). While a Senator, he was awarded a STAR mail route for New Mexico, from which approximately $400,000 went missing. STAR routes were awarded by the Postal Service to serve low-population areas not near a railroad or other transportation. The scandal broke wide open in 1881 while Dorsey was living near Raton, New Mexico, in what came to be known as the Dorsey Mansion, having purchased an old land grant (which turned out to be forged). Finally declared innocent of the charges, he and his family (wife Helen and three sons, one named Clayton--the namesake of Clayton, New Mexico) sold most of the ranch and moved to Denver, probably to be closer to his mining interests, his having been involved in mining investments in Leadville and Central City.

He visited California on business multiple times in the 1890's, with L.A. listed among his destinations. While in Los Angeles he devoted his time to real estate, mostly as president of Benson Investments, a land investment/development firm. 
Senator Dorsey in 1910

In February 1915, Sen. Dorsey went in for "serious" surgery, and was reported to be on the mend. Then suddenly in July Laura fell into a coma and died within the week. Her body was returned to her former home in  Washington, D.C. for burial. Dorsey was not to recover. He died Monday evening, March 21st of the following year, and was buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado in a family plot with his first wife Helen, and son Clayton.

In September, 1916, the Kathryn Montreville Cocke School of Music used the house as its business location. Ms. Cocke was a well-known music teacher from the New England Conservatory of Music. 

The lot and house were ultimately sold, and by 1922, the Automobile of Southern California had built there its new headquarters, which still stands today. 

The new Automobile Club Building (courtesy of USC Collections)
By 1951, the headquarters had expanded, taking another house and lot mentioned also in our blog.

More info:
Major Bonebrake funeral 1898

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Herman W. Hellman -- 958 South Hill Street

Born in Bavaria, Herman W. Hellman (1843-1906) came to Los Angeles in 1859 with his brother Isaias (who became a co-founder of USC). From a small beginning as a freight clerk for Phineas Banning, another L.A. pioneer, Hellman went from grocery to real estate to banking, culminating as director of two savings institutions and a Vice-President of a 3rd. His former home in downtown L.A. was razed to make way for the Hellman Building, and so he moved around 1900 to this home at 958 S. Hill Street:

The Hellman Residence in 1906

He had just returned from a vacation to Northern California in October, 1906, when he became ill as a complication to his diabetes, and died in this home on South Hill Street.

Besides his wife Ida, four children survived Mr. Hellman.  Within five years, Mrs. Hellman moved to the new Wilshire district to be near her children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Senator John P. Jones -- Santa Monica

John Percival Jones (1829 - 1912)

Santa Monica had always been a resort town--even when it was just a couple of small hotels close to the beach in Santa Monica CaƱon. But in 1874 John Percival Jones purchased a 2/3 interest in the San Vicente Rancho from Col. R. S. Baker, and the duo began the platting of Santa Monica.

Keeping a beautiful location on the bluff for himself, Senator Jones (Nevada 1873 - 1903), in 1887 built a large Queen Anne style home facing the ocean, mainly for his second wife Grace, and his elderly mother. By 1910 with its mature landscaping and 17 bedrooms, it was a sight to behold. Known as Villa Miramar, it took up the entire block that is today's Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.

J. P. Jones Residence 1910

A pioneer of California, Jones arrived in 1850 from Cleveland by way of ship around South America. Not finding gold in California, he got his first taste of politics as sheriff of Trinity County, keeping order in the many mining camps. From there he became a California State Senator. 

His luck improved when in 1867, upon hearing of the Comstock Lode discovery, he relocated to Nevada and subsequently struck his first fortune as superintendent and investor in a large Nevada mine. By 1870, he was worth $10,000 and living in Gold Hill, Nevada, with his wife H.C. and only son Roy, age one year old.

In 1912 Senator Jones, now 83, fell ill and did not recover. He is buried in Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.