I stumped everybody this week.
In this 1884 photo, workers begin construction of the Hotel Raymond on Bacon Hill (later renamed Raymond Hill), the top of which had been leveled for the massive project.
Thomas Banbury won the contract for blasting through what to the naked eye looked like a big mound of dirt. But underneath were sedimentary rocks and granite.
On Monday at high noon Mrs. Banbury lighted the three fuses that exploded 2,500 pounds of powder, the consequence of which was the complete disorganization of the last point of rock on the summit of the hill. -- The Pasadena Union, March 1, 1884
The hotel under construction:
One million bricks were made at the construction site for many uses, including fireplaces in each of the 200 rooms.
The onsite brickyard:
After some financial entanglements that led to work stoppages, construction was finally completed and the Raymond Hotel opened on Nov. 17, 1886.
(South Pasadena incorporated as a municipality two years later after borders were redrawn. The Hotel Raymond became part of that city in 1888.)
On Easter Sunday 1895, the luxurious Raymond Hotel was reduced to smoldering rubble after a burning ember from one of the chimneys landed on the roof.
Here's a circa 1910 postcard showing some detail:
The historic Raymond Restaurant on South Fair Oaks Avenue is one of only two structures that remains of the Hotel Raymond property. The building was the hotel caretaker's cottage.
Many thanks to the Pasadena Museum of History, California Historical Society, Bring Fido and Laurie Allee.