I was born in Los Angeles and as a kid, my parents drove the few freeways then in place, including what we called the Pasadena Freeway, or 110. It was magical to go through the series of tunnels as you left downtown; we played games like holding our breath through each one, or making a sound that would last through each tunnel, or blowing the horn. The latter became illegal! With the traffic like it is today, you sure couldn’t hold your breath very often. And then there was the narrow little two lane each way freeway through what is called the Arroyo Seco into Pasadena, the home of the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade and many “rich people’s houses.”
If you Google Arroyo Seco Los Angeles, you will find that means dry stream bed in Spanish. Wikipedia describes it best.
Sometime in the late 1960s some Victorians from Bunker Hill, Boyle Heights and other parts of the city were relocated next to the freeway in a place called Heritage Square Museum. I’ve driven by this enclave hundreds of times but never took the time to go see what it was. Yesterday one of the women in our group of friends arranged a group tour and 15 of us went to see what was going on. Here are three of the houses.
Heritage Square is billed as a history museum reflecting the settlement and development of Southern California from the Civil War to the early 20th Century. Visitors are given a look into the everyday lives of Southern Californians at the close of the 19th Century. None of us on the tour, many of us natives to L.A., had been here before.
With funding being what it is these days, the restoration of the eight houses has gone very slowly, but I found the site to be a fascinating step back into local history. Once enchanted by the notion of living in an old Victorian, I long ago changed my mind. I was disappointed that none of the upstairs of any of the sites were open.
How good it was, however, to tour with my old friends, most of them first met more than 40 years ago. Afterwards we went to an excellent restaurant in Pasadena I had never heard of: Technique. It is the signature restaurant of the Los Angeles Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and it was an incredible dining experience at only $10 for a three-course lunch.