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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mystery History -- Solved!

Karen wins with her 8:39 p.m. Tuesday guess "From the looks of that sago palm, I'm guessing it was a tea house at the Green Hotel?"
In Tuesday's post I cropped the photo, so here it is in full frame.
The Green Tea Pot was a restaurant in the 1920s inside the Hotel Green, now known as the Castle Green.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a photo of the café inside the hotel. But thanks to Pasadena Central Library, we do have some context by way of some articles in the Los Angeles Times.

Nov. 16, 1924:

Nearly $200,000 has been spent in remodeling the Hotel Green, famous Pasadena hostelry, and the Castle Green Apartments, adjoining that hotel, according to Charles B. Hervey, owner and manager of the Hotel Green. The hotel is now operated under the European plan the year around.

The Green Tea Pot Café is maintained in conjunction with the Green, offering excellent service. Mr. Hervey, who also is associated with F. W. Paget of San Diego in the management of the Maryland in that city, anticipates an unusually heavy business for the winter season.

Here's an ad in the L.A. Times on Feb. 27, 1925:

This item in the Oct. 20, 1926, edition of the L.A. Times is the first to indicate a name change:


The Green Tea Pot, unique café of the Hotel Green in Pasadena, has been enlarged to double its former capacity, now seating 250. Henceforth, it will be known as the Colonial Café of the Green. The chef and crew of the Colonial Café of the Green (all women), formerly of the Samarkand of Santa Barbara, are serving dainty home-cooked foods. Chafing dish luncheons and Saturday evening dinner-dances are featured. Mr. Alfred Koch, former steward of the Samarkand, is in charge.

Jan. 12, 1927:


The new and enlarged Colonial Café of the Hotel Green in Pasadena is attracting many large luncheon and dinner parties. It is fast becoming the center of the social life of that section of Pasadena, according to Manager J. Manning Murfee. Dainty menus prepared by a trained crew of women cooks are featured.

There has not been a restaurant there in decades, but the ballroom of the Castle Green has been the site of hundreds of happy catered occasions.


  1. Congratulations to Karen! I've read a lot about Castle Green and done a few tours, but never came across any mention of the Green Tea Pot. I'm fascinated by the steam rising from the teapot and cup. How did they do that?

  2. This is wonderful, thanks Ann.

    I hope you don't mind if I add a link: I met Ron Hobbs, the owner of Castle Catering, which caters events in the hotel. He told me the original kitchen had been closed for a long time. He renovated it, and here it is:

    According to him this kitchen has been there since the beginning, so it must be the same one that was used for the Green Tea Pot. Also, because the Romanesque room seats 250 and you mention that the Green Tea Pot seated 250, I wonder if it's the same room. The kitchen is accessible from it.

    These mysteries are so much fun.

  3. Well,I knew it was the Castle Green but I was much too late to this game. :(