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South Pasadena, California


South Pasadena, California

South Pasadena, California
City of South Pasadena
South Pasadena City Hall
South Pasadena City Hall
Official seal of South Pasadena, California
Location of South Pasadena in Los Angeles County, California
Location of South Pasadena in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: [1]
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated (city) March 2, 1888[2]
 • City Council Mayor Marina Khubesrian
Mayor Pro Tem Robert S. Joe
Michael A. Cacciotti
Diana Mahmud
Richard D. Schneider[3]
 • City Treasurer Gary Pia
 • City Attorney Richard L. Adams II
 • City Clerk Evelyn G. Zneimer
 • Total 3.417 sq mi (8.851 km2)
 • Land 3.405 sq mi (8.820 km2)
 • Water 0.012 sq mi (0.031 km2)  0.35%
Elevation[1] 659 ft (201 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,619
 • Density 7,500/sq mi (2,900/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 91030/91031 (PO box)[5]
Area code(s) 323/626[6]
FIPS code 06-73220
GNIS feature ID 1661479
Website .gov.southpasadenacawww

South Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 25,619, up from 24,292 at the 2000 census. It is located in the West San Gabriel Valley. It is 3.42 square miles in area and lies between the much larger City of Pasadena, of which it was once a part, and the metropolis of Los Angeles.[7] South Pasadena is the oldest self-builder of floats in the historic Tournament of Roses Parade.[8]


South Pasadena is located at the western end of the San Gabriel Valley, north of the San Rafael Hills, east of the Arroyo Seco seasonal river, and south of the separate city of Pasadena, California. Adjacent cities are Los Angeles to the west and south, Pasadena to the north, San Marino to the east, and Alhambra to the southeast. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city's total area of 3.42 square miles (8.9 km2), is virtually all land. South Pasadena is located at (34.112958, -118.155778).[9]


The original inhabitants of South Pasadena and surrounding areas were members of the Native American Hahamog-na tribe, a branch of the Tongva Nation (part of the Shoshone language group) that occupied the Los Angeles Basin. The Tongva name for the area that covers modern day South Pasadena and much of Alhambra was Vaytsuung'xuilhoor pronounced /ʋaitsyŋ sʐuilχøɛr/. Tongva dwellings lined the Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County) in South Pasadena and south to where it joins the Los Angeles River and along other natural waterways in the city. They lived in thatched, dome-shape lodges characteristic for their use of carved wood decorations in the Nava style. For food, they lived on a diet of corn meal, seeds and herbs, venison, berries, fruits and other small animals. They traded for ocean fish with the coastal Tongva on a daily basis. They made cooking vessels from steatite soapstone from Catalina Island. South Pasadena also has a strong claim to having the oldest and most historic sites in the San Gabriel Valley. For many centuries, its adjacency to a natural fording place along the Arroyo Seco had served as a gateway to travel and commerce for aboriginal peoples here and along the coast. It was here that Hahamognas greeted Portola and the missionaries who later established the San Gabriel Mission a few miles to the east.[10]

The initial buildings on the Rancho San Pascual were built on the land which eventually became the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena. The first of these adobe structures became headquarters for General Flores and his staff in 1847 where they agreed to surrender to American forces, ending Mexican Colonial rule in California. In 1875 the landowners of the area encompassing present-day Pasadena and South Pasadena voted to rename their association, Pasadena.

South Pasadena's first mayor was Donald McIntyre Graham.[11] In February 1888, members of the southern portion of Pasadena attempted to gain more control over their own property and a vote for incorporation was made. In 1888, South Pasadena incorporated the southern portion of the Indiana Colony and land south and eastward to the Los Angeles border. Few Tongva had received any land.[12] On 2 March 1888, the city of South Pasadena was incorporated with a population slightly over 500 residents, becoming the sixth municipality in Los Angeles County. It was chartered with roughly the same area as the current South Pasadena, about 3.42 square miles (8.91 square kilometers). With completion of the Pacific Electric Short Line, putting the entire city within easy walking distance of the “red car” stations, South Pasadena also became a one of the first suburbs of Los Angeles.

South Pasadena's history is associated with that of the Cawston Ostrich Farm and the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, which played vital roles in the history of the city.

Modern South Pasadena

South Pasadena's streets are lined with numerous species of native California trees. These include redwood, sequoia, ash, walnut, and sycamore. Some non-native trees, such as sweetgum, are also seen. Because there are very few stucco-clad Spanish Colonial houses and virtually no palm trees in some parts of the city, South Pasadena is a popular stand-in for Midwestern and Northeastern towns in motion picture and television productions. South Pasadena sits less than 10 miles (16 km) from Downtown Los Angeles; substantial numbers of residents work either in Bunker Hill or as professors and staff at the University of Southern California.

"Mom and Pop" merchants populate the business district, and the Mission West area is a part of the original U.S. Route 66. Of historical relevance is The Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain; also the Rialto Theater in downtown South Pasadena is a unique blend of Spanish Baroque and Egyptian stylings and was built in 1925. It is one of the last remaining single screen cinemas in the country. The Rialto was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, having narrowly missed being torn down that year. It went out of business on August 19, 2007 because of low profits. It has been featured in many films and commercials, most notably Robert Altman's The Player and more recently in Scream 2.

The Farmer's Market has become a tradition in the historic Mission-West District of South Pasadena on every Thursday from 4pm to 8pm. On the first Saturday of December every year, South Pasadena Booster Club hosts an annual 5K/10K run around South Pasadena known as the "Tiger Run", after the SPHS mascot. Racers from kindergarten to age 80 are invited to participate, including a wheelchair event. The 5K is run on flat sidewalks and roads around town, but the 10K (6.2 miles) includes some difficult hills. There is also a 300 meter children's run for kids 10 and under.[13]

South Pasadena can often be seen in motion picture productions with its beautiful tree-lined streets and "anywhere in America" feel. Such movies as Freaky Friday, The Terminator, Gone with the Wind, Halloween, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, American Pie, The Girl Next Door, Legally Blonde, 13 Going on 30, Back to the Future, Mr. Deeds, Bruce Almighty, Old School, The Ugly Truth, and License to Wed are just a few of the notable films shot on location in South Pasadena. Notable television series that have been filmed there include Parenthood, Family, Boston Public, Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, Cold Case, Bones, Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Big Love, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[14]

The house used in the film Halloween on Mission Street in South Pasadena.

Interstate 710 extension controversy

South Pasadena, together with a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations, has opposed the 710 Freeway Long Beach Freeway (I-710) extension from Alhambra's Valley Blvd. to the Foothill Freeway (I-210) in Pasadena at California Blvd. The proposed 1960's route would have sliced through the middle of the city, as well as through neighborhoods in El Sereno and Pasadena having an impact on nearly 1,000 homes in its path. However, this incompletion cuts off a north-south route from the San Gabriels Mountains in the north to Long Beach in the south, as well as connecting the 710 to the 110, 134, and 210 freeways.

On July 19, 1999, United States District Court Judge Pregerson issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendants Caltrans, et al., from proceeding with the 710 Freeway Project.[15] The financial support for the fight against a major highway project through the city has come mostly from the residents themselves, who pay legal bills incurred by the city in the freeway fight from their general fund (no special taxes are used), making the fight an ongoing local election issue. South Pasadena has been cited five times on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "Most Endangered Places."[16]

Litigation over the 710 extension has run for three to four decades. The City of South Pasadena has filed a federal lawsuit citing failure to protect clean air, the environment and historic properties, and until the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) completes a comprehensive new environmental study, this will bring additional delays to the 40-year-old project.[17] Caltrans (the California Department of Transportation) proposed a compromise route of boring a tunnel beneath the city. Having purchased hundreds of properties along the proposed right-of-way in the 1960s, Caltrans proposed selling these in order to partially finance the tunnel. The Southern California real estate boom of the early 2000s caused those properties in South Pasadena alone to appreciate to a combined value of over $300 million. State Senator Carol Liu sponsored a bill to compel Caltrans to sell the properties no longer needed for the project. SB-416 also prohibits funds from the sale of surplus properties in the SR 10 corridor from being used to advance or construct any proposed North State Route 710 tunnel. State Assemblyman Chris Holden co-sponsored the bill and remarked after it was signed into law, “... the surface route of the 710 Freeway is not going to happen and everyone knows that and so these properties should then be put back into the community.” [18] Caltran, however, maintains that the freeway extension/connections are needed for the overall benefit of the Southern California public and continues to fight for its completion.

See also

Interstate 710 (California):The South Pasadena Gap

Arroyo Seco

The Arroyo Seco (canyon, stream, and cultural landscape) offers a diverse range of experiences for walkers and more experienced hikers.

The Arroyo Seco stream begins at Red Box near Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains and proceeds through steep mountain canyons for eleven miles (18 km) until it enters the urban plain of Southern California at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The stream, largely channelized south of Devil's Gate Dam, proceeds in the Arroyo Seco canyon for eleven miles (18 km) more: through Pasadena, South Pasadena and Northeast Los Angeles to the confluence with the Los Angeles River near Elysian Park, Chinatown and downtown Los Angeles.[19]


The Los Angeles Metro Gold Line passing through South Pasadena.

Fair Oaks Avenue, Huntington Drive, and Mission Street are the main thoroughfares through South Pasadena.

The Pasadena Freeway has two exits in South Pasadena--Orange Grove Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue.

LACMTA operates six bus lines (79, 176, 256, 260, 485, 762) through South Pasadena. The Mission Station for the Metro Gold Line is in the heart of South Pasadena, located at the corner of Mission and Meridian.

South Pasadena operates their own public transportation system. Since 2003, South Pasadena has been operating the City of South Pasadena Community Transit to connect with the Mission Gold Line Station, it schedule is linked to the Gold Line schedule. The system was originally called "South Pasadena Gold Link."[20] Additionally South Pasadena has a transit shuttle that operates around the city. As of 2007, many outdated traffic signals have been replaced throughout South Pasadena.


South Pasadena Middle School before the 2009 renovations.

The South Pasadena Unified School District(SPUSD) includes five schools: three elementary schools (Monterey Hills, Marengo and Arroyo Vista), South Pasadena Middle School, and South Pasadena High School. Former elementary schools now closed or renamed are Lincoln (now Arroyo Vista), El Centro (now the school district headquarters), Las Flores (limited grades, near Flores Adobe, historic landmark), and Oneonta (later a private Montessori school).

South Pasadena and the neighboring city of San Marino have had a long-standing rivalry. Until the 1955, the two cities shared the same high school, which was adjacent to the South Pasadena Public Library. Every year, the schools' football teams compete for a victor's plaque. As of 2010, South Pasadena team had won 28 and San Marino 25. There have been three ties. Many SPHS team have won CIF titles over the years.

SPEF (South Pasadena Educational Foundation) is a [21]



The 2010 United States Census[22] reported that South Pasadena had a population of 25,619. The population density was 7,496.4 people per square mile (2,894.4/km²). The racial makeup of South Pasadena was 13,922 (54.3%) White (43.6% Non-Hispanic White),[23] 771 (3.0%) African American, 107 (0.4%) Native American, 7,973 (31.1%) Asian, 9 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 1,422 (5.6%) from other races, and 1,415 (5.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,767 persons (18.6%).

The Census reported that 25,456 people (99.4% of the population) lived in households, 8 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 155 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 10,467 households, out of which 3,621 (34.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 4,904 (46.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,264 (12.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 451 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 501 (4.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 107 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,073 households (29.4%) were made up of individuals and 802 (7.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43. There were 6,619 families (63.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.06.

The population was spread out with 5,998 people (23.4%) under the age of 18, 1,576 people (6.2%) aged 18 to 24, 7,431 people (29.0%) aged 25 to 44, 7,510 people (29.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,104 people (12.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.1 years. For every 100 females there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

There were 11,118 housing units at an average density of 3,253.2 per square mile (1,256.1/km²), of which 4,787 (45.7%) were owner-occupied, and 5,680 (54.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 13,185 people (51.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,271 people (47.9%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, South Pasadena had a median household income of $84,185, with 7.6% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[23]

Adjacent localities

Diagram showing South Pasadena's location in relation to other cities in a 16-kilometer (9.9 mi) radius.

Localidades cercanas
South PasadenaSouth Pasadena
Localidad con 85804 habitantes (2000). Alhambra (4 km)
Localidad con 6045 habitantes (2000). East Pasadena (8 km)
Localidad con 60051 habitantes (2000). Monterey Park (7 km)
Localidad con 133936 habitantes (2000). Pasadena (5 km)
Localidad con 53505 habitantes (2000). Rosemead (8 km)
Localidad con 39804 habitantes (2000). San Gabriel (6 km)
Localidad con 12945 habitantes (2000). San Marino (4 km)

Government and infrastructure

In the California State Legislature, South Pasadena is in the 25th Senate District, represented by Democrat Carol Liu, and in the 41st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Chris Holden.[24]

In the United States House of Representatives, South Pasadena is in California's 27th congressional district, represented by Democrat Judy Chu.[25]

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving South Pasadena.[26]


Top employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:[27]

# Employer # of Employees
1 The Vons Companies 185
2 South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital 159
3 Bristol Farms 135
4 WNC Insurance Services 101
5 Abbott 78
6 Trader Joe's 77
7 Mission Hospice 69
8 Ralphs 65
9 Orchard Supply Hardware 63
10 Stargate Studios 62


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "South Pasadena".  
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of  
  3. ^ "South Pasadena City Council". City of South Pasadena. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer File - Places - California".  
  5. ^ "USPS — ZIP Code Lookup — Find a ZIP+ 4 Code By City Results". Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  6. ^ "Number Administration System — NPA and City/Town Search Results". Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  7. ^ "City of South Pasadena, California - About South Pasadena". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  8. ^ "South Pasadena Tournament of Roses". South Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ "Gabrieleno/Tongva of San Gabriel". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  11. ^ Apostol, Jane South Pasadena A Centennial History p.21
  12. ^
  13. ^ South Pasadena Tiger Run 5K/10K
  14. ^ "South Pasadena Filming Locations". blog on WordPress. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "City of South Pasadena, California - 710 Freeway". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  16. ^ "South Pasadena/El Sereno". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  17. ^ "City of South Pasadena, California -710 Freeway Information". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  18. ^ Lauren Gold. "Gov. Brown signs Sen. Carol Liu’s bill to sell Caltrans’ 710 freeway properties" Pasadena Star-News 2 October 2013
  19. ^ "Arroyo Seco Foundation". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  20. ^ "City of South Pasadena: Gold Link". Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  21. ^ SPEF website
  22. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - South Pasadena city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b 
  24. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 
  25. ^ "California's 27th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. 
  26. ^ "Monrovia Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  27. ^ "City of South Pasadena CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-18. 

External links

  • Official website
  • South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce official website
  • Official site of South Pasadena Rose Parade Float
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