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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Feb. 28 to March 6

Here are my top picks of events for adults, teens and children scheduled from Friday, Feb. 28, to Thursday, March 6.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

"Visions of the Past, Inspiration for the Future" is an exhibition and reception in recognition of Black History Month Friday, Feb. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. at YWCA headquarters featuring the works of photographer Boyd Lewis, who documented political and civil rights events in the 1960s and '70s.

The opening reception for PUSD's art exhibition "No Boundaries" in the former Loehmann's space (248 E. Colorado Blvd.) at Paseo Colorado is Friday, Feb. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. Come see the art these talented students have created!

The Caltech-Occidental Symphony presents its spring concert Sunday, March 2, at 3:30 p.m. at Caltech's Ramo Auditorium (south of Beckman Auditorium) featuring Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.

Pasadena Media is the access TV nonprofit that includes operations for KPAS and The Arroyo Channel and works in partnership with KLRN and KPCC-TV. The grand opening of Pasadena Media's new space is Tuesday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Drop by and see the new digs that include offices, studios and community creative digital space, meet staff and producers and enjoy food, live music and more.

Tuesday, March 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. is Free Family Night at Kidspace Children's Museum. Explore the history and traditions of the world's most desired sweet treat: chocolate!

March is One City, One Story month! The 2014 novel, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore," is available in multiple formats. Be part of our annual community reading celebration by sitting in on the very first event: a book discussion group Tuesday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents Russian cellist Evgeny Tonkha for the popular Music at Noon weekly concert Wednesday, March 5, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

It's game night at Vroman's Book Store in Hastings Ranch! Come play board games, cards, dominoes and more and enjoy some tasty snacks Thursday, March 6, at 6 p.m.

"The Trials of Muhammad Ali" is a documentary film that focuses on the years between 1967 and 1970, covering Ali's toughest fight of all: his struggle to overturn a five-year prison sentence for refusing U.S. military service. See the film Thursday, March 6, at 7 p.m. in the Crawford Family Forum at Southern California Public Radio. Also see an interactive exhibit titled "From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali -- Contentious Objector" in the forum the same evening. RSVPs are required for this free event.


ArtNight Pasadena is Friday, March 14!

Monday, March 31, is the deadline for teens to submit their art for the One City, One Story "Unlocking the Secret" contest.

Register now! Fritz Coleman will be the keynote speaker at the Pasadena Conference on Aging Saturday, April 26.

Mystery History -- Solved!

John wins with his 8:33 a.m. Tuesday guess "Andrew Carnegie with George Ellery Hale (arm in arm) visiting Mount Wilson."

In the photo above, Andrew Carnegie, center, walks arm-in-arm with George Ellery Hale, right, outside Mount Wilson Observatory during Carnegie's week-long visit in 1910 to see what his money had made possible.

Carnegie was a self-made, wealthy industrialist who founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington (now called Carnegie Institution for Science), which funded the Mount Wilson Observatory. 

Carnegie also built Carnegie Hall, founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Mellon University and so much more.

Hale, a force to be reckoned with in Pasadena, founded the observatory and was instrumental in the founding of Caltech, which previously had been Throop University.

As a member of Pasadena's first Planning Commission, Hale guided the master plan for the Civic Center -- which now consists of Pasadena Public Library to the north and Pasadena Civic Auditorium to south, with City Hall, the Post Office, Police Building, Courthouse and other structures in between.

The Hale Building in the Civic Center, which houses the Pasadena Planning Department and the Permit Center, is named in his honor.

I love this more formal photo taken at the Hotel Maryland during Carnegie's visit. Left to right are Hale, J.H. McBride, John Muir, H.F. Osborn, John Daggett Hooker, J.A.B. Scherer and Carnegie.

The elegant headquarters for the Carnegie Institution for Science's Carnegie Observatories is at 813 Santa Barbara Street in a quiet Pasadena neighborhood off North Lake Avenue. It features beautiful grounds; you can explore inside and meet the astronomers during an annual open house every October, which I highly recommend. 

I'll leave you with this photo of Carnegie and Hale inside Mount Wilson Observatory in front of the 60-inch telescope.

Many thanks to Caltech, American Institute of Physics, The Carnegie Observatories and Mount Wilson Observatory for the photos.

Citizens Police Academy Week Four -- Criminal Investigations Division (Part I)

Some undercover cops spoke to us last Thursday at our Citizens Police Academy class.

For obvious reasons I didn't take any photos of them, but suffice it to say they put themselves potentially in harm's way regularly as they pose as people interested in purchasing illegal goods and services and investigate and resolve vice-related crimes including prostitution, illegal drugs and more. 

Those glamorous vice cops in TV shows like Miami Vice are fictional characters who drive fast cars, wear expensive clothes, have eye candy on their arms and get the bad guys within the course of an hour. 

Our real deals in Pasadena sometimes spend weeks and months on stakeouts -- work that can be very tedious yet is absolutely necessary if they are going to get the bad guys within...well, certainly not an hour.

And then there's the paperwork that is critical for documenting and building the most compelling, undeniable cases possible for the District Attorney's Office to take to court. That part of the job is never included in "Miami Vice."

Vice, technically known as the Special Investigations Unit, is part of the Pasadena Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division. This division covers such a wide range of units that this portion of our class is being broken up into two parts. (We'll have Part II tonight.)

Commander John Perez oversees the Criminal Investigations Division. I've known John for many years and have always been so impressed by his expertise as well as his friendly, approachable nature.

Everything covered Thursday night was under the Criminal Investigations Division's Crimes Against Persons Section. Detectives informed us about their jobs handling homicides, assaults, robberies and financial crimes such as identity theft.

Lt. Terysa Rojas heads up the Crimes Against Persons Section.

Other detectives in the Crimes Against Persons Section told us about domestic violence, elder abuse and crimes against children.

Believe me, it was all very sobering. 

Tonight we'll learn all about the Crimes Against Properties Section as well as the Fugitive Apprehension Unit.

Then I'll tell you all about it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win lunch with me –– I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine. 

Remember, leave your brief guess as a comment on this blog post but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job).

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Surveyors -- George Washington and Hanchrist Carlock

From 1746 to 1750 my sixth great-grandfather, Hanchrist Carlock, was the road commissioner in Augusta County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. This meant he served as an advisory agent to local towns when they petitioned to have crude riding trails (or no trails at all) turned into official roads for overland travel by stagecoaches, private carriages and horses.

In 1749 George Washington was working as a surveyor in the same county. Only 17 years old and already a civil engineer, he had been hired by Lord Fairfax to be one of several surveyors of all of Fairfax's lands -- about a million acres -- west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Here is part of a plat map drawn and described by Washington in his own hand (click on the image to enlarge it). It's now in the Library of Congress.

Washington needed a crew and someone to lead it so he hired Hanchrist Carlock, who was 34 years old at the time, as the foreman.

Hanchrist Gerlach was born in the province of Noord-Brabant, Holland. As a teenager he immigrated with his German-born parents and his brothers to Pennsylvania, where he anglicized his last name to Carlock. They settled in Virginia.

Hanchrist brought his brothers Konrad and Frederick on board to assist with the surveying project and begin planning for roads, which was Hanchrist's specialty. 

Part of the survey included an area from the mouth of the Potomac River to Cedar Creek, a small tributary of the James River

At some time during the surveying work in this area, George Washington, Hanchrist Carlock and the crew came upon what became known as the Natural Bridge.

Over the course of many millennia Cedar Creek had carved a gorge in the mountainous limestone terrain, forming a natural arch 215 feet high with a span of 90 feet on the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

George Washington chiseled the official surveyor's mark and his initials, "G.W.," 23 feet up on the north side of the Natural Bridge; Hanchrist Carlock chiseled "H. Carlock" about 12 feet above that and 10 feet to the right.

This photo shows George Washington's marks:

It is unknown exactly how Washington and Carlock were able to scale the bridge and do this precarious carving.

A 1929 telegram in the Virginia historical archives reads:


In 1774 Washington's original survey tract for the Natural Bridge area was granted to Thomas Jefferson by King George III. Jefferson had two cabins built nearby, one of which was kept open for the entertainment of visitors. Jefferson wrote about the Natural Bridge as "a famous place that will draw the attention of the world."

This is an 1801 portrait by Caleb Boyle titled "Thomas Jefferson at the Natural Bridge of Virginia." It hangs in the reading room of the Government & Law Department at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Forty-five years before this portrait was painted, when the French and Indian War began in 1756, there was a call to arms throughout the colonies. Virginia had a militia that was very prepared to answer the call. One of the members of that militia was Hanchrist Carlock.

Years later, when the American Revolution began, Hanchrist served under Col. William Christian in the Cherokee Expedition. Cherokees had been recruited by British Redcoats and Loyalists to raid and kill pioneer settlers.

After that expedition was completed, Hanchrist received word that his old friend George -- now General George Washington -- wanted him to come serve the remainder of his duty directly under Washington's command. Hanchrist heeded this request and served even longer than required -- seven years. 

My sixth great-grandfather and George Washington remained friends until Washington's death in 1799.

Hanchrist Carlock passed away in 1803.

I could not have written this post without the help of Susan Fields, a researcher at the Augusta County Public Library. I could not find authenticated verification about the association between Hanchrist Carlock and George Washington on my own; I kept reaching dead ends and I could not trust uncited, conflicting stories on Ms. Fields took my call, was intrigued by what I told her and went to work tracking down leads in the library's local history collection and the Virginia historical archives, then cited every fact she provided me. God bless librarians!

Photo credits: National Archives, Library of Congress, WHY Magazine, Virginia's Natural Bridge Park & Historic Hotel, Lafayette College.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Feb. 22 to 28

Here are my top picks of events for adults, teens and children scheduled from Feb. 22 to 28.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

Renovation of our beloved La Casita del Arroyo will begin with a kickoff celebration Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m. Thanks to a partnership of the La Casita Foundation and the City of Pasadena, renovations of the 1932 community meeting house designed by Myron Hunt will include restoration of the historic paneling recycled from the bicycle velodrome.

Petrea Burchard, Roberta Martinez, Elizabeth Pomeroy, Gerda Govine Ituarte and Renée Morgan-Hampton will be among the local authors at the Love Our Authors event Saturday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. And they're just the ones I know personally! There will be other local authors joining them onstage to discuss their books that cover a whole realm of genres including history, fiction, cooking, poetry, children and more. They'll also answer questions and sign their books. And...wait for it...Random Acts of Music will be there, too! This event is part of the Celebrating 130 Years of Reading in Pasadena series.

Engage your body from fingers to toes building adobe huts Saturday, Feb. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Side Street Projects as part of the Sculpting Social Landscapes public art series.

Celebrate the birthday of our nation's first president Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. The Blair High School JROTC will be in period costumes and the film "The Life of George Washington" produced by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association will be shown. 

You don't have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to learn about Gaetano Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor there Monday, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. An LA Opera community educator will discuss this classic opera about family honor, betrayal and madness. 

Although Johnny Cash is gone now, his music will always be with us. Oscar Garza, news editor at KPCC Radio, will talk with Robert Hilburn, music critic and author of the book "Johnny Cash: The Life" Monday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Crawford Family Forum at Southern California Public Radio. The event is free but RSVPs are required.

An instructor from Armory Center for the Arts will help children explore the world of art while painting, working with clay and creating collages Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at La Pintoresca Branch Library. The art class takes place every Tuesday.

The "4 Hands, 4 Feet and a Diva!" concert Sunday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m. at All Saints Church will feature music composed by Hildegard von Bingen, Calvin Hampton, Henry Purcell and more. 

Get an update on the Robinson Park renovation project and provide your input Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Center. A steering committee, which meets the fourth Tuesday of every month, serves as a focal point for community outreach, input and direction into the redesign and renovation of the Robinson Park Recreation Center.

Have you always wanted to travel to Italy but were concerned about crowds, language barriers and simply not knowing how to get around? "Italy 101" Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Distant Lands will help you learn how to plan a great itinerary, find special places to stay, discover the less crowded corners of Italy, manage the practicalities of money, security and more.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents cellist Han Bin Yoon for the popular Music at Noon weekly concert Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

"Your Water: The Big Picture" is the title of a public meeting Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. A panel of experts from the Metropolitan Water District, Natural Resources Defense Council and the water engineering firm CDM Smith will share insights into the water supply challenges facing our state and local efforts that may be able to ensure long-term sustainability. You'll also build your own water conservation kit and enter a raffle to win a rain barrel.

See "The Notebook" (2005, PG-13) Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. at Pasadena Central Library. The film stars Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Gena Rowlands and as the same couple in the early 1940s and the present day.

Storyteller Marilyn La Grone-Amaral will pair archetypal paintings with anecdotal stories Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Central Library. The daughter of a combat pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, she learned from her father about form, color, movement and how to hone her inner vision.

Members of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music faculty will perform in concert Friday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Brian Barany on guitar, Nic Gerpe on piano, Mary Kelly on viola, Kimberly Lamb on oboe, Patric Rosalez on piano and T.J. Troy on percussion will perform works by Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten, Manuel de Falla and others composers.

Be sure to read "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore," the novel selected for this year's One City, One Story community reading celebration. Book discussions, film series, expert speakers and more begin in March!

Many thanks to La Casita Foundation, Wikipedia, mbell1975State University of New York, The House of Colors, Theological German, Pasadena Independent, Traveler's Journal, Biola University Conservatory of Music, Pasadena Water and Power, FanpopMaybe I'm Addicted, Marilyn La Grone-Amaral and Street Pianos for the photos.

Mystery History -- Solved!

Liz wins with her 11:10 a.m. Tuesday guess "Opening of Robinson's department store where the present day Target is." 

In the May 12, 1958, photo above, shoppers wait outside the J.W. Robinson Department Store at 777 E. Colorado Blvd. on opening day.

People were lined up around the block:


Here is the 175,000-square-foot store under construction earlier that year:


The ribbon-cutting: left to right are Carter McDonald, manager of the J.W. Robinson store; Pasadena Mayor Seth Miller, Edward R. Valentine, president of the Robinson Building Company and a member of the J.W. Robinson Board of Directors; Mrs. W.F. Valentine; Donald Buckingham, president of the J.W. Robinson Company; and O.K. Earle Jr., president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. 

Aerial view:

Designed by William L. Pereira and Charles Luckman, this was the last free-standing Robinson's in the U.S. because shopping malls were just beginning to be built across the nation.

Robinson's closed on Jan. 31, 1993. Target Stores acquired the property and reopened it in May 1994.