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Touring historic Pasadena City Hall

Touring historic Pasadena City Hall


If you’re new to Pasadena or a recent transplant you’ll soon discover the city has a relatively strong sense of history and preservation.  This week a small group of us received a history lesson and mini-tour of one of the beautiful and historic City Halls in the USA: Pasadena’s City Hall!

Despite what some may believe, I don’t attend many events – especially now while I’m on a tight budget!  If the event interests me, and, if I know people connected with the event then I will make an extra effort to “show-up” and support their good works.

In this instance, we were especially privileged to have someone I know as our tour-guide: Susan Mossman, long-time Executive Director of Pasadena Heritage one of the best, most-effective preservation organizations around!  To say Susan has a wealth of knowledge on Pasadena preservation and history is an understatement!

Our group of about 15-20 during lunch at the city hall courtyard, also included a few others I’ve met before: representatives with the Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena Star News, and city councilman Andy Wilson. So, the turnout to hear Susan may seem small in quantity, it was still SRO, and was big in quality.

This tour was organized/sponsored by Freewaves , Side Street Projects, the NEA, Pasadena’s Cultural Affairs division, and centered on the symbolism & interpretation of the cast-stone “Lions” seen in the exterior and courtyard of city hall as part of the special “Lions, Tigers, and…” multimedia presentation.  It’s a sound installation over 6 months with opening and closing musical performances and video projections at Pasadena City Hall including 1000 public interpretations of the building facade’s lions.

I first witnessed this “Lions” event of Pasadena city hall when it opened back in October.  Now, for ArtNight Pasadena in March this presentation will be updated.  So, if you’ve seen it before you’ll want to take a second look beginning with ArtNight.


Here are just a couple photos from Mossman’s courtyard talk to us…

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Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman gives her city hall talk.  Among our group, to her right is Anne Bray Executive Director of Freewaves and Councilman Andy Wilson.


Mossman and Pasadena Heritage played a major role in the renovation & preservation of City Hall and was a great source of insightful information!


This was actually at least the THIRD formal tour I’ve taken of Pasadena City Hall!  A few years ago I “harassed” Pasadena City Public Information Officer-Emeritus Ann Erdman to finally give a tour. Two years ago it was Pasadena/Gamble House/Huntington Library historian, scholar & author Ann Scheid’s turn. Now, Pasadena Heritage’s Sue Mossman! I’ve been very fortunate to be blessed with such opportunities to “sit” at the feet of such giants in Pasadena history & preservation.  Wish we had more like them who cared so deeply for the Crown City.

After reading this, you might be tempted to say as some people do: “WoW, you know everybody in Pasadena!”  That always surprises me because it’s obviously not true, “know” really means “acquainted with”, and often the people who tell me this should know better because they are people who do “know” many more Pasadena people than me!  So y’all don’t think that either.  I see the people I, “know”, whenever I see them. I see them, recognize them, and probably remember their names, and, vice-versa.   But I’m not buddy-buddy, and wouldn’t have time for it anyhows.


Before I take leave, one last but important item. To learn more about Pasadena architectural history, I highly recommend you start by taking Pasadena Heritage’s next architectural presentation in March:    Designing Their Own: Homes of Pasadena Architects.   If you become a member, and you should if you love or live in the city, you’ll receive an admission discount among other benefits during the year.



Wishing Y’All The Best! Stay Thirsty My Friends

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