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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mystery History -- Solved!

Well, I stumped everybody this week.
In the 1883 photo above, four women wait their turn in front of the Ferndale Gallery, Pasadena's first photo studio (note the photographs on display).
The business had been established the year before by George Weingarth, Pasadena's first professional photographer. He was among the settlers who founded the Indiana Colony.
In addition to portraits, Pasadena landscapes and buildings were photographed by Weingarth and they have become iconic, including these*:
 While doing my research for this post, I learned there are no documented photographs of Weingarth. He preferred to stay behind the camera.
According to my favorite reference book about local history, "Pasadena: Historical and Personal" by John Windell Wood, Weingarth was among an impressive list of firsts:
The first drug store was the Pasadena Pharmacy, conducted by this writer.
The first postmaster was Henry T. Hollingsworth, appointed September 21st, 1876.
The first bank was the Pasadena Bank, organized November 21st, 1884. It began business January 12, 1885. P.M. Green, president.
The first "practicing" barber was A.S. Hollingsworth, who had a chair in the corner of his father's store. The first shop was opened on North Fair Oaks Avenue in 1883 by a man named Rossi, and afterwards moved to West Colorado Street; later purchased by Joe Laspada, who still owns it.
The first harness shop was owned by Harry C. Price, who opened up in 1883.
The first photographer was George Weingarth, who opened the "Ferndale Gallery" in 1882. Some of the old pictures in this book were from his photographs.
The first real estate dealer was T.P. Lukens.
The first bicycle shop was owned by Ed Braley just where his fine four-story building now stands.
The first lumber yard was started by J. Banbury. The office stood where the Metcalf Building now is -- on Colorado Street, by the Santa Fe tracks -- 1883.
* Fair Oaks looking north from Colorado, 1884; Arroyo Vista Guest House (c 1883); Orange Grove at California looking south (1883)



  1. Tahnk you for all this interesting information. I'm learning so much about Pasadena's history from you, and am going to buy a reprint of that book from Aamazon. Thrilled to see a photo of Orange Grove at California as I drive past that junction every day. Pity they removed the oak trees.

  2. Interesting and curious - Weingarth is a jewish name. I wonder if his named appeared in the Autry show about jews in the west?

  3. Fascinating as always. I love these posts.