History of the Arroyo Seco

The Cabins of the Arroyo Seco

In the early years of the last century, outdoor-lovers built cabins in the mountain stretches of the Arroyo Seco and its side canyons like Fern Canyon and Brown Canyon.  There were as many as 180 of these cabins.  The Pasadena Water Department, which bought one thousand acres in the upper watershed of the Arroyo Seco, forced the cabin dwellers to move out in the early 1940s due to water quality concerns.  The cabins were eventually removed, although you can still find foundations and remnants of the cabins today.

The Geography of the Arroyo Seco

From the mountain wilderness to the dense urbanized plain, the Arroyo Seco contains a dazzling variety of geography and geology. Take a trip through the many zones and facets of the most celebrated canyon in Southern California.

Flood Timeline

Floods are a reality that few think of until the water and mud roar out of the San Gabriel Mountains, but floods have sometimes been a fierce force shaping and reshaping our terrain and our attitudes toward our region.

The Dams of the Arroyo Seco

With floods have come dams from LA County's first flood control dam, Devil's Gate Dam, to water conservation and diversion facilities.  This photo exhibit features the historic dams of the Arroyo.

Planning Timeline

Every generation of people who have lived in the Arroyo Seco have cherished and worked to protect it's natural beauty.  From the Gabrielino/Tongva people to Charles Lummis and Myron Hunt to contemporary efforts, there have been dozens of visionary planning efforts that have worked to preserve and enhance the Arroyo Seco.

The Nature of the Arroyo Seco

The writers and artists who have been enriched by the Arroyo Seco have left a legacy of art and culture that shines.  This speech, given to the League of Women Voters' Conference on Open Space and Parks on March 15, 2003 recounts some historic and contemporary views of the Arroyo.

These reports, covering important aspects of the history of the Arroyo Seco, have been made possible by the generous support of the CALFED Watershed Program. To view the full report, please click on the title link.